What's New in College Football Rivalries for the 2009 Season?

Jeffrey Fann@TalkinACCSportsAnalyst IApril 30, 2009

AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 27:  A Texas Longhorn fan cheers on her team against the Texas A&M Aggies while holding a reminder of the Texas score against Oklahoma earlier in the season at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium November 27, 2008 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Best Rivalry: Oklahoma Sooners vs. Texas Longhorns

As it is known today, "The Red River Rivalry" between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas Longhorns has become college football's best rivalry.

Played at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas, with the Texas State Fair as a backdrop, tickets are split 50/50.

The winner has the inside track to not only the Big 12 title game, but also the National Title Game. Three out of the last six years, the winner has played in the national title game, and Texas fans will argue last year's winner, the Longhorns should have been in the title game. Only once since 1999 have both teams not been ranked.

Two big name coaches in Mack Brown of Texas and Bob Stoops at OU don't hurt either. Don't be surprised if the winner of the game in 2010 is again in the thick of the national title hunt.

Most Overhyped Rivalry: Florida Gators vs. Georgia Bulldogs

"The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party" is a great SEC rivalry game, without question: neutral site in Jacksonville, with tickets split basically 50/50, and two teams usually ranked in the top 20.

Fact is, the Georgia Bulldogs have been the Florida Gators' whipping boy for nearly 20 years. Since 1990, Florida has won 16 out of 19 games, and at one point won 13 out of 14. Yeesh!

Last year, Florida took UGA to the woodshed in a 49-10 beatdown. With Georgia rebuilding their backfield, and Florida and Tim Tebow ready for another national title run, look for Florida to win 17 of the last 20. Maybe it should be called "The World's Most Predictable Rivalry."

Rivalry that WAS on life support: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs. Georgia Bulldogs

"Clean, Old Fashioned Hate" is the best nickname for a rivalry out there, but in recent years (2001-2007), the Bulldogs owned it, with a 51-7 embarrassment thrown in during the 2002 season for good measure.

With Chan Gailey having the Georgia Tech program stuck in neutral, and Mark Richt putting together top 10 recruiting classes and teams, this rivalry was about to become nationally irrelevant.

In walks in new Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson, like John Wayne, and in his first year he beat UGA 45-42, and a rivalry was reborn.

With both teams to start the year in the top 20, the game might have a lot more than state bragging rights riding on it.

Rivalry that IS on life support: USC Trojans vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

A rivalry that pits two of the most storied college football programs should be something any college football fan looks forward to.

Not this game, and not anymore. In a game and rivalry that's become nothing more than a college football train wreck, USC has outscored Notre Dame 76-3 the last two years.

Notre Dame right now doesn't even belong on the same field as the Trojans. I don't see much changing this year. USC extends its winning streak to eight.

Honorable Mention: Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Michigan Wolverines

The Buckeyes have won this game five straight years, and last year was an ugly 42-7 win for Ohio State.

Rich Rodriguez might want to hurry up and win this game because Wolverine fans aren't very patient. This rivalry isn't on life support, but its pulse is definitely slowing.

Most Passionate Rivalry: Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Auburn Tigers

"The Iron Bowl" is bar none the most passionate rivalry in college football. This game splits families, schools, churches, whatever in the state of Alabama.

Former Auburn coach Terry Bowden once said, "The game is the state of Alabama's lifestyle." Now that's passion.

Alabama got last year's bragging rights in a 36-0 rout of the Tigers. Was it a coincidence former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville was gone a few weeks after that game?

Most delusional fans in Rivalry: Clemson Tigers vs. South Carolina Gamecocks

This is an underrated game in terms of passion. Clemson and Carolina fans will go back and forth on message boards and local radio shows all year in preparation for this game.

Work attendance at businesses open on Saturday's game day drops way off. The only problem is the Gamecocks have lost this game 10 out of the last 12 years.

No fanbase will use their conference affiliation as a defense in a rivalry more than the Gamecocks.

Hey, South Carolina, we're happy you play in the SEC, but it's the UGAs, Floridas, and LSUs carrying the SEC flag, not you. Try winning this game once in awhile.

Rivalry nobody cares about anymore: Florida State Seminoles vs. Miami Hurricanes

It's not that nobody really cares—Nole and Cane fans care—but this was college football's premier game for close to 15 years.

From the late '80s through the early part of the current decade, it was "the game." National Title implications, wide right kicks, Bobby Bowden, Heisman Trophy players; this game had it all.

The game is still competitive, but with both teams' recent struggles, this rivalry has lost its luster. It's now known as a "key ACC matchup."

Most Respected Rivalry: Army vs. Navy

It's the Army-Navy game. What else needs to be said?

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