Now, before you read this list you have to understand how I came up with it.
There is a difference between me not liking a game and me not liking teams.
I hate both BYU and Boise State, but I like watching the game between them.
But, the Army-Navy game bores me and I cannot say that I have ever watched the full sixty minutes. I don’t have any hatred towards Army or Navy, I just don’t like watching that game because watching both teams run with the ball eighty times a game just isn’t exciting to me.
I hate USC, I hate that stupid fight song and it gets stuck in my head every time I watch a USC game, so any rivalry involving USC did not make the list because I make a point in my life to never watch a USC game.
In order to make this list, it has to be a game I make a point to go out of my day-to-day activities to find out what the score is, whether that is actually watching the game or checking the score on my phone.
I could care less about Notre Dame and refuse to watch USC games, so that rivalry is not on here because I just simply do not care about either of those teams and the USC fight song sucks and that stupid band feels the need to play it after every first down.
If you don’t like the list, you can send the hate mail to ude.usinull@stropSGB or call me out on Twitter @IdahoSportsLG but it still won’t change my mind on not watching a USC game.
So here we go, the top ten college football rivalries that Lucas likes watching.
10. Montana – Montana State
If you have not watched these two teams play before, you need to. The best comparison I can come up with when these two teams get together is a lesser version of the Iron Bowl. It is the most underrated rivalry in all of college sports. Statewide bragging rights are on the line, the two teams absolutely hate each other and the most important factor, the game almost always has playoff implications.
I know it is FCS, but this rivalry is the real deal and watching a rerun (yeah, I watch college football reruns) last week sold me. Washington-Grizzly Stadium was rocking. If these two teams were not FCS, this game would be must-see TV for the entire nation.
9. Nebraska – Iowa
You will notice a theme throughout this list. I love the Big Ten football. Even though Nebraska is a newcomer to the Big Ten, it just feels like they belong there instead of the Big 12. Iowa is a team I really enjoy watching because it won games in an old-school way by running the rock and playing solid defense. I have always enjoyed watching Nebraska play (not really sure why). It is a classic Midwest rivalry game between two teams that play football the right way. These are two teams that were meant to be rivals and this is one of the more underrated rivalries in college football.
8. Boise State – BYU
I don’t like either of these teams. My dad went to Utah and beat into me (not literally) that BYU is bad. So, that is why I don’t like BYU. I grew up a Colorado State fan and got pretty sick of watching Boise State beat my Ramies by 40 points every year.
That is why I don’t like Boise State.
But, the reason this game is on the list because it is always a great game. The 2015 game was an instant classic. Tanner Mangum’s (Madison Mangum’s brother) fourth-and-seven prayer was answered, selling me on this rivalry. I think the reason I like this game so much is because although I don’t like either team, they are two good, non-power five teams regional teams that put on a good show for the whole country. I would much rather watch this game than two middle-of-the-road ACC teams play. Give this rivalry a few more finishes like that and it is on the top ten in five to ten years.
7. Alabama – LSU
A classic SEC rivalry. I love watching night games at Death Valley. It too is on my bucket list for college football facilities. Night games at Death Valley have an unreal atmosphere to them. Add in the fact that Alabama and LSU are typically two of the top teams in not only the SEC, but the SEC West. Here you have one of the best atmospheres in all of college football with two top ten teams going at it. This game is down a little bit because LSU hasn’t been as good as it was five or six years ago, but LSU is one of the top programs in the nation. It will be back, and we will have more great finishes in this rivalry.
6. Utah – BYU
Both my parents went to Utah, and I now live in Southeast Idaho, so I have been required to watch this game on a yearly basis. The Holy War is probably the coolest name for a rivalry in college football, and these game have had some classic endings. In 2012, Utah fans stormed the field three different times. They had to clear the damn field twice, -twice- before anybody actually won the game. That game is still one of the best college football games I have ever watched and is the reason this rivalry is so high on the list.
5. Ohio State – Penn State
Again, I love the Big Ten. The reason this game is so much fun to watch is because Penn State is one of those pesky schools that always give Ohio State a hard time. I don’t see Penn State winning a national championship any time soon, but it always seems like the school is spoiling Ohio State’s championship plans. When Penn State was good, this game was a lot more fun to watch, but Penn State just did beat the Buckeyes this year in a game that was an absolute dandy to watch. Watching 100,000 white palm-palms go absolutely crazy is really cool and I would kick a puppy to see a game in Happy Valley, which in my opinion is one of the best atmospheres college football has to offer.
4. Michigan – Michigan State
I think one of the reason I love Big Ten football so much is because I love it when weather, especially cold weather, plays a factor in a football game and the weather in Michigan sucks. So that means whenever these two team play, the weather is going to suck. That 2015 ending where Michigan fumbled the snap with 10 seconds left, up by two, was the game of the year in my opinion. All they have to do is punt it out of bounds and Michigan wins. But what happens? Michigan State picks up the fumbled snap and returns it for a touchdown as time expires. Games like that are the reason I watch sports and the reason I love college football.
3. Texas – Oklahoma
I love watching this game. I love that they play this game at the Cotton Bowl, an old school facility for an old school rivalry. I love that this is on a neutral field because it just makes for an awesome atmosphere. No matter what happens, there will be cheering and one band will be triumphantly playing its fight song after each score. It’s tough to beat a neutral-site college football game and it is tough to beat the Red River Rivalry. Add those two together and you have yourself one damn good football game. I need to see these two teams play at the Cotton Bowl more than I need a college degree.
2. Auburn – Alabama
The Iron Bowl has so, so, so much history to it – probably more so than any other college football rivalry out there. I still remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when Chris Davis returned that field goal 109 yards to win Auburn the game in 2013. I am not an Alabama or an Auburn fan and I can still remember where I was and what I was doing when that happened. And that Auburn radio call, oh my goodness, one of the best calls I have ever heard on one of the most incredible plays I have ever seen.
This rivalry has so much hatred that one Alabama fan poisoned the historic oak trees on Auburn’s campus (Auburn fans TP those trees after a big win). Statewide bragging rights are at stake in a state that doesn’t have an NFL team, and I don’t think there are two other teams in all of sports that hate each other as much as Auburn and Alabama hate each other.
The Iron Bowl never disappoints.
1. Ohio State – Michigan
Two Big Ten heavyweights going at it on ABC at 10 a.m. the Saturday after Thanksgiving. For me, watching this game is as much as a tradition as eating turkey on Thanksgiving Day. Weather always play a factor. It is almost always cold or even better, snowing and what is better than watching two Big Ten heavyweights play a football game in the snow? Nothing. I’m really excited that Jim Harbaugh has turned Michigan back into a winning football program, because that means this game now hold significant meaning. With the new college football playoff, this game is essentially going to play out as a quarterfinals game each year and if it snows that makes it even better.
That, my friends, is what Big Ten football is all about.