Rivalries are the single greatest thing about college sports, and they are what set college sports apart from professional.
Sure, we can fabricate a rivalry in professional sports like Yankees-Red Sox, Redskins-Cowboys or Celtics-Lakers, but those rivalries don't have the roots and traditions that college rivalries do.
Where do rivalries come from? Usually, but not always, from geography. The universities' close proximity breeds contempt. Sometimes, a historical conflict from the 19th century continues to play itself out annually on the gridiron, while other times, rivalries become a cultural battle, each school representing a stereotype of socio-economic class and stature.
Whatever started rivalries, they remain great for one reason: They are the games you look forward to the entire season. If you beat your rival, nothing else matters. If you lose to your rival, nothing else matters. When rivals hook up, you can throw out the record books. Whether the teams are playing for a berth in a national title, are winless, or somewhere in-between, you can be confident that each team is going to bring their best effort, and produce some of the most legendary contests.
Here are the greatest rivalries. Enjoy.