NCAA Football 2012: The Winner of Every College Football Rivalry
With the conference realignment in college football comes numerous changes. Among them, the most difficult of changes must surely be the conference rivalries. Many of the nation's oldest and most heated rivalries face extinction.
It raises a question:
"Who would be the overall winner of 25 of the oldest and most heated rivalries in the nation if each team ended the rivalry after the 2012 season, never to play again?"
How do you answer such a question? Head-to-head record? National success? Most recent trend?
To decide the overall rivalry winner, each team will earn points based on this system:
Head-to-Head: One point is awarded for every game ahead in the all-time series the leader is (i.e. 10-5 record= Five points for the leader).
Nationally: Two points awarded for every national championship a team has and one point for every BCS Bowl victory.
Most Recent Decade: For the winner of the majority of the last 10 games played in the series. You always wanna think you won the last battle right? King of the Mountain when the whistle blows kind of thing. Five points for any lead in the last 10 game series.
Let's see how it goes...
Oklahoma vs Oklahoma State: Bedlam Series
This is by far the most lopsided rivalry in the top 25 national rivalries. Oklahoma owns the series lead, national title claims and will remain the leader barring a miracle for the next 100 years, most likely.
The best aspect of this rivalry is that the Oklahoma State fanbase cheers with as much enthusiasm and hates the Sooners, generally, with white-hot venom, and gives the rivalry a more competitive feel.
Here's the damage:
Head-to-Head: Oklahoma owns the series lead 82-17-7 for a staggering 65 point lead. Barring Oklahoma State having 30 National Championships, this contest is over before it starts.
Nationally: Oklahoma has seven national championships and two BCS Bowl wins for 16 points. Oklahoma State has one BCS victory for its one lone rivalry point.
Last Decade: Oklahoma has won eight of the last 10 matchups for the icing on the rival-beat-down cake.
Winner: Oklahoma +85
Michigan vs Michigan State: The Paul Bunyan-Governor of Michigan Trophy
This is another ugly, one-sided, bitter rivalry between in-state foes.
Michigan State has played little brother to Wolverines throughout the history of the rivalry and only recently have been able to make a splash with consistency. However, just how much ground would be left uncovered if the rivalry were to vanish?
Head-to-Head: Michigan owns this series lead 67-32-5 for a commanding 35-point lead.
Nationally: Michigan's 11 national championships notch another 22 points, and its two BCS bowl wins snag another two points. Michigan State claims six national championship titles of its own and no BCS bowl wins for 12 points total.
Last Decade: The only conceivable glimpse of sunlight for the Spartans is that they have won the last four meetings against rival Michigan. However, the six prior to that were all Wolverine victories, giving Michigan the clean sweep of the rivalry with five points for good measure.
Winner: Michigan +52
Texas vs Texas A&M: Lone Star Showdown
Texas-TAMU is a storied rivalry that is also being left behind (at least annually) now that Texas A&M has opted to head to the SEC starting this 2012 season.
I don't care who you are, branding a rival's live mascot with the score 13-0 (the score of a recent rivalry beating) all across its body is the most ultimate of pranks, and something that likely only happens between Texas schools. Am I right?
Pranks aside, who is this rival champ? (You probably already know)
Head-to-Head: Texas leads the overall series 76-37-5 and leads with a crazy 39 points.
Nationally: Texas has four national championships and two BCS bowl wins for 10 points. Texas A&M has two national titles and zero BCS bowl wins for four points.
Last Decade: It's a clean sweep for UT, as the Longhorns have won seven of the last 10 matchups. Longhorns another five points.
Winner: Texas +50
Colorado vs Colorado State: Rocky Mountain Showdown
The CU-CSU rivalry is another of the longstanding, in-state rivalries with as bad of blood as any between the fanbases.
Whats interesting about this rivalry is that after 60 years of consistent play, the rivalry took a 25-year hiatus between 1958 and 1983 before resuming annual play.
Head-to-Head: Colorado owns the series lead 61-20-2 for a 41-point head start.
Nationally: Colorado holds the only National Championship, and neither team has been in a BCS bowl game. Two points CU.
Last Decade: Colorado has won seven of the last 10 games for the decisive victory in this rivalry. Five points CU.
Winner: Colorado +48
UCLA vs USC: The Battle of L.A.
Because of the name value both USC and UCLA hold individually, you can bet their annual matchup on the football field gets attention.
Even in recent "down" years for the Bruins, USC-UCLA means a lot to the fans.
Head-to-Head: USC is ahead in the series 46-28-7. USC 18 points.
Nationally: USC has 11 national championships (some argue 10, incorrectly) and has won four non-championship BCS bowl games giving a total of 26 points. UCLA has one national championship and no BCS bowls for two points.
Last Decade: For those who are great at math, this last save category will do the Bruins no good. Which doesn't matter anyway with only one win in the last 10 years.
Winner: USC +47
Harvard vs Yale: The Game
"The Game," as it has come to be known, is one of the nation's oldest and most storied rivalries. True, this game has not had any national relevance for decades, but in the early 20th century, there were few games bigger.
Head-to-Head: Yale leads the overall series 65-55-8 for a 10-point lead.
Nationally: Yale is one of the most successful postseason college football teams with 27 national championships and zero BCS bowl wins for 54 points. Harvard boasts "just" eight national championships and also zero BCS wins to carve 16 points from Yale's 64-point lead total.
Last Decade: Harvard has destroyed the Bulldogs of Yale as of late, winning nine of the last 10 games to earn five points. That doesn't hold too much weight in comparison, but it's a bright spot.
Winner: Yale +43
Pittsburgh vs West Virginia: The Backyard Brawl
The Backyard Brawl is another of collegiate football's most played rivalries that faces an end due to conference realignment.
This matchup has been played since 1895.
Head-to-Head: Pittsburgh leads the rivalry 61-40-3 for a 19-point head start.
Nationally: Pittsburgh has nine national titles to its name and zero BCS bowl victories for 18 points, which dwarfs West Virginia's three points off of zero national championships and three BCS victories.
Last Decade: West Virginia has won the last six of 10 games played in the Backyard Brawl, but it isn't enough to overtake the Panthers.
Winner: Pittsburgh +29
BYU vs Utah: The Holy War
This is one of many rivalries that may come to an end due to conference alignment.
Utah, moving to the Pac-12 and receiving more scheduling restrictions, has voiced doubts about the annual continuation of this rivalry. This is, of course, a shame because few rivalries incorporate proximity and separation of church and state like this horrible-blooded rivalry, appropriately named "The Holy War."
BYU-Utah (or the team down south vs the team up on the hill) has been played going back to 1896. But with uncertain continuity, who would end the victor?
Head-to-Head: Utah has the overall series lead 55-34-4. Utah 21 points.
Nationally: BYU reps one national championship and zero BCS bowl appearances for two points while Utah reps zero national championships and two BCS Bowl appearances and victories. Utah two points.
Last Decade: Utah has taken seven of the last 10 games for five points and a winning tally.
Winner: Utah +26
Georgia vs Georgia Tech: Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate
Georgia-Georgia Tech is another one of the longest played rivalries in the nation. Longest played, but not one of the closest contested rivalries in the country.
Aside from an eight-game win streak for the Yellow Jackets, Georgia has greatly dominated this matchup.
Tech fans, you may want to close your eyes.
Head-to-Head: Georgia leads the series 62-39-5 and receives a 23-point lead.
Nationally: Georgia boasts two national championships and two BCS Bowl victories for six additional points. Georgia Tech has four national championships but no BCS victories to earn eight points.
Last Decade: The Bulldogs add insult to injury, winning nine of the last 10 games in the rivalry and nailing the Yellow Jackets' casket shut.
Winner: Georgia +26
Alabama vs Auburn: Iron Bowl
Alabama-Auburn is easily one of the most heated among storied rivalries. The bad blood these two fanbases have for each other is truly scary.
Most college football fans are familiar with the most recent rivalry prank gone-too-far between the schools when an Alabama fan poisoned the trees at Auburn's "Toomer's Corner" in 2010.
So, which of these Alabama powers would walk away with their hand raised should the game stop?
Head-to-Head: Alabama leads the series 41-34-1 for a seven-point lead.
Nationally: Alabama also leads here with 14 national titles and zero BCS Bowl victories for 28 additional points. Auburn claims two national titles and one BCS Bowl victory for five points.
Last Decade: Auburn has defeated Alabama seven times in the last 10 games and earn an additional five points.
Winner: Alabama +25
Mississippi State vs Ole Miss: The Egg Bowl
The Egg Bowl, or Battle for the Golden Egg, is another in-state rivalry with longevity, currently ranking the 10th longest uninterrupted rivalry game in the country.
Both teams, struggling for the most part in the SEC, can usually find solace in a disappointing season by beating their rival.
Head-to-Head: Ole Miss holds the series lead of 60-42-6, giving the Rebels an opening 18-point lead.
Nationally: Ole Miss has three titles to its name and zero BCS Bowl victories for six points. Mississippi State has neither a National Championship or a BCS win.
Last Decade: This rivalry is dead even 5-5 between the two.
Winner: Ole Miss +24
Clemson vs South Carolina: Palmetto Bowl
South Carolina-Clemson is one of the nation's most heated rivalries going all the way back to 1896.
Athletic affiliations aside, these fanbases are bitter rivals as it applies to politics as well. Which of the two will walk away smiling?
Head-to-Head: Clemson holds an impressive 65-40-4 record over the Gamecocks for 15 points.
Nationally: Clemson's one National Championship and no BCS Bowl wins nets two points. South Carolina comes up empty on both titles and BCS Bowls.
Last Decade: Although the last three wins belong to SC, the last 10 years is 6-4 in Clemson's favor gaining them another five points to cap the sweep.
Winner: Clemson +22
Florida vs Florida State: The Florida Cup
The annual fight for the Florida Cup is waged between in-state rivals Florida and Florida State. Although not one of longest played rivalries, Florida-Florida State is still a huge draw and a game to prove who the best in Florida is (Miami being included as well)
If Florida and Florida State decided to call it quits and discontinue this rivalry game, who would step out of the ring champion and who's left licking their wounds?
Head-to-Head: Florida owns the series lead 33-21-2 for a 12-point head start against the Seminoles.
Nationally: Both teams have national prowess and prove it with their hardware. Florida boasts three national championships for six points, while Florida State boasts two for four points. Florida also leads the BCS Bowl victory total with two wins to FSU's zero. Florida gains another four points total to go up by 16 and out of reach.
Last Decade: Florida has won six of the last 10 matchups and solidifies the victory with five points more.
Winner: Florida +21
Oregon vs Oregon State: Civil War
Besides having one of the coolest rivalry names in the country, Oregon-OSU is a great rivalry.
It's been played since back in 1894.
Head-to-Head: Oregon leads the series 59-46-10. Thirteen points to Oregon.
Nationally: Oregon has two BCS bowl victories for two additional points, while Oregon State has one BCS bowl victory for one point.
Last Decade: Oregon had been victorious in six of the last 10 games played and claims the five points and overall victory.
Winner: Oregon +19
Michigan vs Notre Dame: Birth of the 'Fighting Irish'
One of the least storied rivalries still packs one of the biggest punches. Michigan and Notre Dame have been the standard for winningest college football teams in history.
Michigan holds the record for most victories in college football history with 895 wins and has the highest winning percentage of any D1 program at 73.6 percent.
Notre Dame touts the hardware, though, boasting the most national titles of any FBS school.
Yet if their rivalry ended today, who would come out on top?
Head-to-Head: Michigan leads the series 23-15, giving Michigan the eight-point lead.
Nationally: Hard to knock either rival here for their national accomplishments. Notre Dame gets 22 points with its 11 National Championships to Michigan's 22 points for its 11 titles. Michigan adds two BCS victory points to ND's zero.
Last Decade: Michigan, having won six of the last 10, snags the clinching five points to take bragging rights forever.
Winner: Michigan +15
Miami vs Florida State: 'Canes/'Noles
During the late 80's, 90's and early 2000's, two of the most electrifying teams were definitely the Miami Hurricanes and the Florida State Seminoles. Not only did the game feature two in-state rivals, but more often than not, two top 25 teams, full of NFL talent.
If FSU and Miami were to cease this rivalry's continuation, who would be the top SWAG team in Florida?
Head-to-Head: Miami leads the overall series 31-25 for a six-point lead.
Nationally: Miami claims five National Championships and two BCS Bowl victories aside from them for 12 points. Florida State claims two National Championships and no BCS Bowl victories, earning the 'Noles four points nationally.
Last Decade: Miami and FSU have split the last decade series 5-5.
Winner: Miami +14
Michigan vs Ohio State: The Game
Many fanbases state their rivalry is No. 1 in the nation, but Wolverine and Buckeye fans have legitimate claim to that title.
There is truly bad blood in this rivalry, which has just added Urban Meyer to the mix, starting as Ohio State head coach next year.
This is a rivalry that has split families and friendships, but after the splitting is done, which side finishes the victor valiant?
Head-to-Head: Michigan leads the overall rivalry series 58-43-6 for a 15-point head start.
Nationally: Michigan boasts 11 national championships and two BCS wins for 24 points. Ohio State claims seven national titles and six BCS bowl victories (most of any school) to earn itself 20 points.
Last Decade: Ohio State has won eight of the last 10 matchups to get another five points, but ultimately come up short.
Winner: Michigan +14
Oregon vs Washington: The Border War
The "Border War," played between the University of Washington and the University of Oregon.
The rivalry first began in 1900 and has been played 104 times.
Head-To-Head: Washington leads the series 58-41-5 = 17 Points Washington
Nationally: Washington fans, keep calm, but you have zero national championships and one BCS bowl win, so that's another point. Oregon gets two points for its 2012 Rose Bowl victory and 2002 Fiesta Bowl victory.
Last Decade: Oregon has dominated the Huskies the last 10 years, winning the last eight. Not enough to over throw the mighty "U-Dub."
Winner: Washington +11
Minnesota vs Wisconsin: Battle the Paul Bunyan's Axe
The UW-UM rivalry is arguably the best rivalry in the nation for one simple reason. For the nation's most played rivalry, played continuously since 1907, the teams are separated by just five games. Astounding.
And if I do say so myself, the Paul Bunyan Axe is hands-down the coolest trophy in college football.
Now for the weigh-ins:
Head-to-Head: Minnesota leads the rivalry series 59-54-8, giving Minnesota five points.
Nationally: Minnesota has six national championships to Wisconsin's zero. Minnesota 12 points. Wisconsin does, however, own the only BCS appearances and wins between the two with two Rose Bowl wins. Wisconsin two points.
Last Decade: Here is where Wisconsin really makes a last effort push in the race, but still, even with winning nine of the last 10 matchups, the Gophers would have the final laugh should the rivalry end today.
Winner: Minnesota +10
Army vs Navy: Thompson Cup
This rivalry is as American as it gets. As old as the game itself almost, Army and Navy have met 112 times since 1890 and is steeped in history.
Army/Navy is college football, and to lose it would be awful. But if we did, who wins?
Head-to-Head: Navy leads the overall series 56-49-7 for a quick seven-point head start.
Nationally: Navy boasts one National Championship and zero BCS Bowl victories for two more points. Army, on the other hand, claims three National Championships and zero BCS wins for six points.
Last Decade: Navy has actually swept the last decade series, winning all 10 matchups for a resounding five additional points.
Winner: Navy +8
Oklahoma vs Texas: The Red Rival Rivalry
The Red River Rivalry is easily on of the top five biggest college football rivalries by most standards. National championship implications, Heisman-quality talent and, of course, two rabid fanbases.
Conference shifting put this rivalry on shaky ground as well. Who would stake claim as greatest if the Red River Rivalry dried up?
Head-to-Head: Texas leads the overall series 59-42-5 for a 17-point lead.
Nationally: Texas has four National Championships and two BS Bowl victories for 10 points more. Oklahoma, on the other hand, boasts seven National Championships and two BCS wins for 16 total points.
Last Decade: Oklahoma has taken six of the last 10 victories for five more points, but ultimately falling short of the comeback.
Winner: Texas +6
Auburn vs Georgia: Deep South's Oldest Rivalry
The "Deep South's oldest rivalry" is far and away the nation's most closely contested rivalries. Through 115 games played, just one win separates the Bulldogs and the Tigers.
This could end up as the closest rivalry finish of all the scenarios, but record alone doesn't determine these outcomes.
Head-to-Head: Auburn leads the rivalry series 54-53-8, earning a slight head start with one point.
Nationally: Georgia's two National Championships and two BCS Bowl wins earns six points to Auburn's two National Championships and just one BCS Bowl victory, leaving the rivals tied at six points each.
Last Decade: It comes down to this: The team with the best record in the last 10 years takes the tiebreaker. And it's...Georgia, winning seven of the last 10 games played, to take the bragging rights in the Deep South.
Winner: Georgia +5
USC vs Notre Dame: Trojans/Irish
This rivalry is nationally recognized as one of the top college football rivalries in Division I Football. From its crazy beginnings from a conversation on a train between ND head coach Knute Rockne and USC athletic director Gwynn Wilson, to being played for 86 years, this rivalry would surely be missed.
Head-to-Head: Notre Dame leads the series 43-35-5 for an eight point head start.
Nationally: Notre Dame surely has the hardware with 11 national championships, earning 22 points. USC also packs a punch with 11 national championships and four BCS bowl victories, earning them 26 points as well. Four point edge there.
Last Decade: USC dominates this category winning nine of the last 10 matchups, and gains five points.
Winner: USC +1
Cal vs Stanford: The Big Game
The rivalry between the Cardinal and the Golden Bears goes way back to 1892. Their pairing in the Pac-12 North Division ensures this rivalry will continue long into the foreseeable future.
Leave it to two proudly nerdy schools to have the "Ink Bowl," a touch football game that pits the members of each university's newspaper against each other. Likely less intriguing than the "Big Game" itself. So who is the rival winner overall?
Head-to-Head: Stanford leads this series 57-46-11 for 11 points.
Nationally: Cal has five National Championships and zero BCS bowl wins for 10 points. Stanford has two National Championships and one BCS win for five points. Cal cuts Stanford's lead to six.
Last Decade: As you probably guessed, Cal can not win the overall rivalry (points-wise) yet, with a 7-3 advantage over Stanford the last 10 years, Cal closes the gap to one. With a win this season, Cal would completely tie it up. Awesome.
Winner: Stanford +1
Georgia vs Florida: World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party'
Florida-Georgia is one of the closest fought rivalries in the country. From the 75-0 shellacking Georgia gave Florida in 1942 to the "Gator Stomp" and revenge of 2007-08, this rivalry is a heated one.
With conference security both these schools enjoy, there's no reason to think this rivalry will end any time soon, but if it did, which SEC powerhouse ends as "King of the Mountain?"
Head-to-Head: Georgia lead the head to head series with a *48-40-2 record and an eight-point head start on the Gators.
Nationally: Georgia boasts two national titles and two BCS bowl victories for six points, while Florida raises the Bulldogs with three National Championships and two BCS Bowl wins to total eight points. Photo finish.
Last Decade: Florida has won seven of the last 10 matchups between the two for another five Florida points.
Winner: Georgia +1
* Florida does not claim the first game was played in 1904, as Georgia does, but in 1915. So, with that in mind, Florida has claim to state the rivalry is actually dead even. Either way...excellent.