True college football fans look forward to them. Player excitement builds and school spirit runs high. Coaches feel the pressure to dominate. It’s the rivalry game. There are many reasons a rivalry might stem between two teams. Many times, they are with neighboring states or teams from within the same borders. Other times it is about safeguarding titles or avenging defeat. Civil wars are waged and fought on the gridiron. These highly competitive games have the power to rally whole communities together while simultaneously tearing through the hearts of thousands in just a little over three hours.
Levy Recognition is elated for the dawn of a new college football season. For us, rivalry games are more than just football. They connect us to our community, remind us of our past, and kindle our team spirit. Here are the ten rivalry games we are most excited to watch this season:
Alabama vs. Auburn
Dubbed “The Iron Bowl,” the Alabama-Auburn rivalry is one of the fiercest in all of college sports. In a state with no major professional sports team, the Southeastern Conference matchup between Alabama and Auburn is a time old tradition fueled by more than 40 years of fan support.
Army vs. Navy
We dare you to watch the Army-Navy game without experiencing a surge of American patriotism. The matchup draws the attention of presidents, esteemed military men and women, and fans across the United States. While the game itself does not have national championship implications, it is a contest favorited throughout the entire country. By game’s end, no matter what the score, America wins.
California vs. Stanford
The California-Stanford rivalry is the oldest rivalry on the West Coast and possibly one of the oldest in the nation. This famous rival matchup dates back to more than 120 years with the first meeting being in 1892. Ninety years later, this rivalry became most famous for the last-second kick off attempt known as “The Play.”
Clemson vs. South Carolina
First meeting in 1896, the Clemson-South Carolina rivalry is the third longest running rivalry in college football and the longest running rivalry in the south. Often referred to as “The Palmetto Bowl,” this matchup has grown one of the most watched games in history. In 2015, the schools announced the launch of the Certified SC Grown Palmetto Series, in which the Tigers and Gamecocks will compete for the Palmetto Series trophy based primarily on head-to-head athletic competition in 13 sports.
On July 7, 2016, the University of South Carolina was named winner of the inaugural Palmetto Series with a score of 10-5. On July 6, 2017, Carolina won the Palmetto Series for the second straight year with a score of 8-7.
Florida vs Georgia
The Florida-Georgia rivalry is so heated it has to be played in neutral territory (Jacksonville, FL). Since 1933, it has been one of the most prominent rivalry games in college football. Fans living in Florida refer to it as the "Florida–Georgia game.” In Georgia, it’s called the "Georgia–Florida game.” Some rotate the name each year to list the designated home team first. No matter what you call it, there is no denying this matchup as being one of the most fun to watch each season.
Florida vs. Florida St.
You can’t live in Florida and not recognize this old fashioned rivalry as being one of the best in college football. Known as the “Sunshine Showdown,” the game is a head to head matchup between two of the oldest universities in the United States. The two rivals are often in the thick of the national championship race and the game actually helped determined the national champion in 1996.
Montana vs. Montana St.
The “Brawl of the Wild” is a longstanding rivalry between the Montana Grizzlies and the Montana State Bobcats. It is the 11th oldest active rivalry west of the Mississippi River. The game, especially of late, has major implications on the Big Sky Conference championship and its automatic bid to the Division I FCS tournament.
Notre Dame vs. USC
The rivalry between Notre Dame and the University of Southern California is as rich in history as it is competitive spirit. The origin of the series is quite often recounted as a "conversation between wives.” Each team has claimed 11 national championships and they have produced a combined 13 Heisman Trophy winners — making the event more and more competitive each season.
UCF vs. USF
In September 2016, the University of Central Florida and University of South Florida announced their joint creation of a rivalry series to unite the communities and campuses in Tampa Bay and Orlando.
UCF’s and USF’s fan bases have long engaged in a passionate rivalry between the universities divided by 100 miles and the I-4 corridor between their two cities. Dubbed as the “War on I-4,” the series features scoring in head-to-head contests between all of the universities’ sports teams.
The schools called on Levy Recognition to create a custom trophy to celebrate their rivalry. The custom designed “interstate sign” stands 5’3’’ and weighs 160 pounds!
WKU vs Middle Tennessee
The brawl between Western Kentucky University and Middle Tennessee State proves that teams will go great lengths to damage the pride of their rivals. The two schools are divided by roughly 100 miles, giving this Conference USA matchup the name “100 Miles of Hate.” This series takes the spot as the best rivalry in C-USA thanks to its history, the hatred between the fan bases, and the fact both teams reside in the top tier of C-USA and both are annual conference title contenders.
For Levy Recognition, winning rivalry games and celebrating championships is as much a part of us as the air we breathe. Creating the symbols of those celebrations is what we live for. Hoisting the rivalry trophy at the end of the competition is an unmatched feeling we want to share with teams across the nation.
Does your school have an ongoing rivalry? Agree to disagree. Then, design a custom rival trophy to celebrate your brawl.