Top 15 College Football Rivalries Ranked

College football is home to some of the best rivalries in all sports, but which ones make our list of the top 15 in history?

Football on Saturdays — and some weekdays mixed in — is the best time of year. And with it comes a multitude of the greatest rivalries in all of sports. Not only do the games themselves bring immense emotional fanfare, but many of them own incredible names. So, to honor the pageantry and passion, we ranked the top 15 rivalries in college football.

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Ranking the Top College Football Rivalries

Recent matchups, the last time the game was played, and one team dominating the rivalry weighed heavy on these rankings. As a result, you won’t see rivalries such as Oklahoma-Oklahoma State (the Sooners own a 91-19-7 record in the Bedlam) or Texas-Texas A&M (the two haven’t met for a Lone Star Showdown since the Aggies left for the SEC).

1. Alabama-Auburn (Iron Bowl)

Two words — Kick Six. The Iron Bowl is the battle between two of the most storied college football programs in the nation. Both sides boast NFL legends, Heisman winners, and national championships — although Alabama’s 13 since 1950 far outweighs Auburn’s two.

The Crimson Tide hold a 49-37-1 record in the series, as each team has fought every year since 1948. If you are an Alabama native, nearly nothing else matters on Thanksgiving weekend.

2. Army-Navy

This game earned its own weekend in December after the regular season has already concluded for the rest of the country. The Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy is up for grabs when Army, Navy, and Air Force play each other, giving this game even more significance.

After losing 14 straight from 2002 to 2015, the Black Knights have won five of the last seven matchups, including a 20-17 victory in overtime in December 2022. The Midshipmen own the all-time lead with a 62-53-7 record since their first bout all the way back in 1890.

3. Ohio State-Michigan (The Game)

Who are the two teams that possess the most Big Ten titles in the conference’s history? You guessed it; Michigan (43) and Ohio State (39) — the next closest is Minnesota with 18.

Even though Ohio State has run away with the series — winning eight straight from 2012-2019 — the Game is must-watch TV. Jim Harbaugh has thrown the proverbial monkey off his back, knocking off the Buckeyes in back-to-back matchups after losing five straight.

Despite Ohio State’s mid-2010s dominance, Michigan has a nine-game lead against their rivals (60-51-6).

4. Oklahoma-Texas (Red River Showdown)

Oklahoma and Texas first played in 1900, making it one of the oldest-standing rivalries in the sport. Despite the Sooners winning 16 of the last 24 matchups since 2000, the Longhorns hold the series lead at 63-50-5.

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The Red River Showdown features the Big 12’s two foremost competitors, with Oklahoma owning the most conference championships (14) and Texas coming in as a distant second (3).

5. USC-Notre Dame

One of the best nonconference rivalries in college football, USC-Notre Dame has provided iconic moments such as the 2005 “Bush Push” and the 1977 “Green Jersey Game.” Although this game doesn’t offer conference championship implications, there has been no shortage of postseason rights on the line. In fact, there have been 28 times in which the winning team was ranked in the top five since the rivalry’s first game in 1926.

6. Florida-Georgia (World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party)

So, this game isn’t technically supposed to be called the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” anymore, but how could you dismiss one of the greatest nicknames ever? Political correctness caused the schools and major publications to drop the moniker in the 1980s. But the name was originally coined by Bill Kastelz —  a sports editor at The Florida Times Union — in the 1950s.

Regardless, this rivalry has been bitter from the beginning. In 1904, Georgia trounced Florida Agricultural College 52-0. In fact, Florida didn’t win a game that season, scoring zero points and allowing 225 in five contests. The very next year, Florida Agricultural College merged with three other schools to become the University of Florida we know today.

UF doesn’t acknowledge that loss, as the university was moved from Lake City to Gainesville, but UGA won’t let that slide. Georgia historian Dan Magill stated, “We can’t help it if they got run out of Lake City.” Each team has endured its fair share of ups and downs in the series, but the Bulldogs hold a 10-game advantage (54-44-2).

7. Miami (FL)-Florida State

Whether Miami-FSU is played in Miami Gardens or Tallahassee, there are sure to be fireworks. While the intensity has waned in recent years, the height of the rivalry reached near unmatchable levels in the 1980s and ’90s. Jimbo Fisher led the Seminoles to seven straight victories from 2010-2016, while the Hurricanes won the next four.

However, the series reached a new low for the Canes in 2022, as FSU trounced Miami 45-3, the third-largest blowout in the game’s history.

8. Harvard-Yale (The Game)

Although FCS football does not receive the love it deserves, it is home to one of the greatest college football rivalries of all time. When thinking of Ivy League schools, I guarantee the first thing that comes to mind is academics, not football — or sports in general.

Yet, The Game is the apex of the season for Harvard and Yale. The two squads have duked it out since 1875, when Harvard beat Yale in exhilarating fashion, 4-0. Yes, that was the final score of a football game, not soccer or baseball; what a time to be alive.

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But their 2019 bout showed just how far the two programs have come, as Yale took home the win after a double-overtime 50-43 dogfight. While Harvard-Yale may not cause trembles, it is one of the oldest and most iconic rivalries in college football.

9. Florida-Florida State (Sunshine Showdown)

The winner of the Sunshine Showdown earns the Makala Trophy, but both teams only care about another mark in the win column. This rivalry reached its pinnacle in the 1990s, with Florida State’s Bobby Bowden and Florida’s Steve Spurrier (rest in peace, legends) handling the reigns of each program. The two met in the Sugar Bowl in 1995 and 1997, with the teams splitting the matchups.

10. Oregon-Oregon State (Civil War)

Oregon’s rise to national stardom in the 2010s has raised the level of importance of the team’s rivalry with Oregon State. While the Ducks have largely owned the matchup (67-49-10), the Beavers have upset their in-state adversary on several occasions, including a 38-34 thriller in 2022.

Top College Football Rivalries Ranked From 11-15

11. Ole Miss-Mississippi State (The Egg Bowl)
12. Utah-BYU (Holy War)
13. Georgia-Georgia Tech (Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate)
14. Wisconsin-Minnesota (Battle for the Axe)
15. Lafayette-Lehigh (The Rivalry)