College Football’s Best Underrated Rivalries
Do you think the game in Oxford, Mississippi is going to mean a little more this season?
It is possible the Egg Bowl between Mississippi and Mississippi State will be for more than a trophy and an SEC Championship berth. This season, the Egg Bowl could be a stepping stone to a national title.
With the changes in the college football playoff season, essentially, college teams in the five major conferences are playing knockout games against each other, hoping to finish the season with the least amount of carnage on their schedules and just enough chutzpah to impress the selection committee so you favorite team can play for a national title.
Right now, the list remains at two in the ranks of the unbeaten, but that could all change in the blink of an eye.
Just like the Egg Bowl, rivalries mean everything in this sport. Some rivalries are underrated and go not get the proper attention. Here are four of the best rivalries we do not talk much about.
THE EGG BOWL (MISSISSIPPI STATE VS. MISSISSIPPI)
The Aggies (Bulldogs) dominated the early days of the series including a 13 game A&M winning streak from 1911–25 during which time the Aggies outscored the Red and Blue by a combined 327–33. Through 1925 Ole Miss had won only five times out of twenty-three total contests. In 1926 When the Red and Blue ended their 13 game losing streak by defeating A&M 7–6 in Starkville the Ole Miss fans rushed the field with some trying to tear the goalposts down. A&M fans did not take well to the Ole Miss fans destroying their property and fights broke out. Some A&M fans defended the goal posts with wooden chairs, and several injuries were reported.
The game is a typical example of the intrastate rivalries between several public universities in the U.S. These games are usually between one bearing the state's name alone, and the land-grant university, often styled as "State University." Like most such rivalries, it is contested at the end of the regular season, in this case during the Thanksgiving weekend and has been played on Thanksgiving 21 times, including from 1998–2003 and in 2013. At one point the level of rivalry was such that a victory by one of the schools in this game could salvage what had otherwise been a poor season. This was however proven not to always be the case when in 2004 Ole Miss won the game but fired its coach, David Cutcliffe, the next week, following a disappointing season.
THE LITTLE BROWN JUG (MICHIGAN-MINNESOTA)
The Michigan–Minnesota football rivalry is an American college football rivalry between the Michigan Wolverines football team of the University of Michigan and Minnesota Golden Gophers football team of the University of Minnesota.
The Little Brown Jug is an earthenware jug that serves as a trophy awarded to the winner of the game. It is one of the oldest rivalries in American college football, dating to 1892; while some historians and the NCAA state that the oldest rivalry with a trophy is between what is now Arizona and Arizona State, the Territorial Cup did not start changing hands until 2001, as it was a one-time award after their first series in 1899.
Both universities are founding members of the Big Ten Conference. As a result of the Big Ten not playing a complete round-robin schedule, Michigan and Minnesota occasionally did not play. In 2011, however, with the University of Nebraska joining the Big Ten as its twelfth member and the conference's initiation of divisional play, Michigan and Minnesota were both placed in the Big Ten's Legends division under the new two-division alignment.
However, the Golden Gophers and Wolverines have been split into opposite divisions (Minnesota in the West, Michigan in the East) starting in 2014 when Maryland and Rutgers join the Big Ten. The conference stated there will be only one protected crossover matchup under the new alignment, Indiana vs. Purdue for the Old Oaken Bucket, meaning the rivalry will not be contested every year.
Minnesota is the current holder of the jug with a 30–14 victory on September 27, 2014. Through the end of the 2014 season, Michigan leads the series, 73–25–3.
The American college football rivalry game between the teams of the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, New York and the United States Naval Academy (USNA) at Annapolis, Maryland. The USMA team, the "Army Black Knights", and the USNA team, the "Navy Midshipmen", each represent their services' oldest officer commissioning sources. As such, the game has come to embody the spirit of the interservice rivalry of the United States Armed Forces. Though not intentional, for several years the game has marked the end of the college football regular season.
The Army-Navy game is one of the most traditional and enduring rivalries in college football. The game is nationally televised by CBS, which has aired the game every year since 1984 except for a five-year stint on ABC from 1991–1995. Instant replay made its American debut in the 1963 Army-Navy game. The winner of the game is awarded the Thompson Cup, named after its donor, Robert M. Thompson.
The most recent game (the 114th) in the series was held at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, on December 14, 2013. Navy won the game by a score of 34-7. Navy leads the all-time series with a record of 58 wins, 49 losses, and seven ties
The Big Game… First played 122 years ago in 1892, it is the ninth most played college football rivalry game in the United States. Stanford leads the series record at 59–46–11 (wins–losses–ties). The game is typically played in late November or early December, and its location alternates between the two universities every year. In even-numbered years, the game is played at Berkeley, while in odd-numbered years it is played at Stanford. Stanford won the most recent Big Game at Stanford Stadium by a score of 63–13. The 50-point margin was the largest for either side in the history of the series.
The conclusion of the 85th Big Game on November 20, 1982 would go down as perhaps the most remarkable play in college football history. Cal held a lead late in the game, but Stanford, led by John Elway, drove down the field to retake the lead, and seemingly elevate Elway to the first bowl game of his college career, since a Stanford victory would have resulted in an invitation to the Hall of Fame Bowl.
More importantly, Elway, with a victory, might well have won the Heisman Trophy.
In what is now known simply as "The Play," four Cal players lateraled the ball five times on a kickoff return with four seconds left on the clock. Kevin Moen, who was also the initial ball carrier, ran for a touchdown while knocking down the final Stanford "defender," trombone player Gary Tyrrell, who had run onto the field with the rest of the band to celebrate prematurely.