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10 Intense Rivalries & Billions in Revenue: The Thrill of College Football

College football is one of the most popular sports in America, generating billions of dollars in revenue annually. From heated rivalries to dedicated fan bases, college football is a significant aspect of university culture in the United States.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the top 10 rivalries and explore the revenue and fanbase of this iconic American sport. Top 10 College Football Rivalries:


Michigan-Ohio State Rivalry: Known as “The Game,” this rivalry between the Michigan Wolverines and Ohio State Buckeyes is one of the most intense in college football history. With a history spanning over a century, this rivalry has seen many iconic moments, including the 2006 matchup that ended in a 42-39 victory for Ohio State.

The Big Ten Championship and College Football Playoff implications add to the already heated nature of this rivalry. 2.

Alabama-Auburn Rivalry: The Iron Bowl pits the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Auburn Tigers in a rivalry that dates back to 1893. This rivalry has seen legendary coaches, including Paul “Bear” Bryant and Shug Jordan, and iconic players such as Joe Namath and Bo Jackson.

The animosity between the two fanbases is well-known, making this rivalry one of the most intense in college football. 3.

Oklahoma-Texas Rivalry: The Red River Rivalry between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas Longhorns is another high-intensity matchup. Known for instances of cheating and malice, this rivalry has given rise to incredible coaches such as Darrell Royal and Barry Switzer.

4. Army-Navy Rivalry: This rivalry between U.S. Military Colleges, the Army Black Knights, and the Navy Midshipmen is one of the most formal traditions in college football.

This rivalry has been ongoing for over a century, and the matchup always involves a special guest in attendance, often the U.S. President. This rivalry also features a unique trophy, the “Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy.”


Clemson-South Carolina Rivalry: Known as the Palmetto Bowl, this rivalry dates back to 1896. The matchup features two universities from the same state, and according to legend, began with a blocked punt.

The game often has College Football Playoff implications, including Clemson’s 12-0 victory in 2015. 6.

Florida-Florida State Rivalry: This Sunshine State Rivalry, featuring the Florida Gators and Florida State Seminoles, has a long history filled with legendary coaches, including Ray Graves and Bill Peterson. This rivalry’s golden years saw both universities dominating their conference and national rankings, with the infamous “Choke at Doak” in 1994.

7. Notre Dame-USC Rivalry: Two Catholic institutions, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the USC Trojans, have a rivalry dating back to 1926 and known for its unique trophy, the Jeweled Shillelagh.

The rivalry was heated under legendary Notre Dame coach Dan Devine, who once told USC players that Notre Dame had won 13 national championships. The Trojans have dominated the rivalry in recent years, but this matchup is always a must-watch for college football fans.

8. Harvard-Yale Rivalry: An Ivy-League matchup, this game has a tradition of running since 1875.

It famously features alumni from both universities, including Teddy Roosevelt, William H. Taft, John F.

Kennedy, and Babe Ruth. This rivalry has also had its fair share of dramatic moments, including the 1968 matchup that ended in a 29-29 tie.

9. California-Stanford Rivalry: Known as the Big Game, this rivalry began in 1892, just a few months after the San Francisco and Pacific Glass Works factory disaster.

The rivalry’s golden age saw the domination of the Stanford Cardinals, with California being the underdogs for much of the matchup’s history. 10.

Oklahoma-Oklahoma State Rivalry: Known as Bedlam, this inter-state competition between Oklahoma Sooners and Oklahoma State Cowboys is a relatively new rivalry dating back to the 1900s. Known for a mistake-ridden final drive, this rivalry is intense, and the game is traditionally played on the last weekend of the college football season.

College Football Revenue:

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) manages college football, and the sport generates a vast amount of revenue. According to Forbes, college football revenue in 2019 reached $5.2 billion, outpacing even the revenue generated by the NFL.

This lucrative sport is one of the primary sources of revenue for universities, with a significant portion of the income coming from ticket sales and television broadcasting rights.

College Football Fans:

College football fans are known for their loyalty and commitment to their university.

The passion for this sport is unmatched, with fans wearing their university colors and attending tailgates for hours before games. There is a strong sense of community among college football fans, with rivalries often dividing whole states and regions.

The formation of these rivalries also draws in more fans, adding to the excitement of the matchups. Conclusion:

The thrill of college football is a unique aspect of American culture, from the intense rivalries to the overwhelming fan support.

The immense revenue generated by this sport is a testament to its popularity, and it is a significant source of revenue for universities. The loyalty of the fans and the intensity of the matchups make college football an essential aspect of American sports culture.

Michigan-Ohio State Rivalry:


The Michigan Wolverines and Ohio State Buckeyes first met on the football field in 1897, and the storied rivalry between these two teams began from that day forward. Over the years, the rivalry has produced some of the best games in college football history, showcasing the best and brightest athletes the game has ever seen.

It has stood the test of time, becoming more intense and more meaningful with each passing year. Heated Rivalry:

The animosity between Michigan and Ohio State is widespread, with fans refusing to call the opposing team by its name, instead referring to them as “that school up north” or “that team from Ohio.” The rivalry’s intensity is so heated that it has even led to physical altercations between the players, coaches, and fans.

The game is always packed with high emotions, and the players leave everything they have on the field, making it one of the most intense rivalries in the world of college sports. Memorable Moments:

The rivalry has produced some of the most memorable moments in college football history.

One of the most thrilling games in the series took place in 2006 when Ohio State won 42-39 over Michigan. Held at Ohio Stadium, this classic matchup became known as “the Game of the Century.” The Buckeyes were led by eventual Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith, who had a career game with 316 total yards and four touchdowns.

Another unforgettable moment came in 1995 when Michigan claimed victory against Ohio State with a 31-23 win. The Wolverines clinched the Big Ten title and earned a spot in the Rose Bowl, where they would compete against USC.

The win over Ohio State was monumental, and it remains a cherished memory of Michigan football fans to this day. Alabama-Auburn Rivalry:

Iron Bowl:

The Alabama-Auburn rivalry is known as the Iron Bowl, named after the iron-and-steel-producing city of Birmingham, Alabama.

The first matchup between Alabama and Auburn took place in 1893, and the two teams have played each other every year since, making it one of the most continuous rivalries in college football history. Rivalry Intensity:

The Alabama-Auburn rivalry is one of the most intense in college football, with fans on both sides taking the game incredibly seriously.

The rivalry’s intensity lies in its fan proximity, with students from Alabama and Auburn often growing up in the same towns and attending the same high schools. People in the state of Alabama are so invested in this rivalry that it even shuts down the entire state on game day, making it one of the most significant events of the year for the people of Alabama.

Notable People and Moments:

Legendary head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant helped bring Alabama to prominence during the 1960s and 1970s, with his enormous influence making the rivalry with Auburn even more significant. Both schools have also produced Heisman Trophy winners, including Joe Namath from Alabama in 1964 and Bo Jackson from Auburn in 1985.

Shug Jordan, who coached Auburn from 1951 to 1975, is also a significant figure in the Iron Bowl rivalry’s history. He led Auburn to its first national championship in 1957 and helped establish Auburn’s place as a dominant force in college football.

These notable figures and moments have helped make the Iron Bowl one of the most compelling rivalries in the history of college football. Oklahoma-Texas Rivalry:

Early Origins:

The Red River Rivalry between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas Longhorns started in 1900, making it one of the longest-running rivalries in college football history.

The rivalry has been filled with notable animosity and alleged malice throughout the years, with both teams aiming to come out on top each year. Infamous Moment:

One infamous moment that makes the Red River Rivalry so intense happened during a game in 1976.

The two schools’ head coaches, Darrell Royal of Texas and Barry Switzer of Oklahoma, engaged in an outlandish spat that centered on allegations that one team had been spying on the other’s practices. The game came down to a winning interception for Oklahoma, and the tensions between the two coaches only added to the rivalry’s legacy.

Notable Games:

The Red River Rivalry has seen its fair share of notable games over the years. None of these games are more infamous than the drawn games, with four of the matchups ending in a tie.

Cheating allegations have also been leveled at both schools, adding to the heat of the rivalry. One game that stands out was in 1976 when Oklahoma and Texas faced off in the Red River Rivalry’s most significant game.

The matchup pitted the 1st-ranked Sooners against the 2nd-ranked Longhorns, with Oklahoma claiming the win, 6-10, in a hard-fought contest that further cemented the rivalry’s significance. Army-Navy Rivalry:

Antique Rivalry:

The Army-Navy rivalry has a long and storied history, dating back to 1890.

This formal rivalry pits the two U.S. military academies, the Army Black Knights and the Navy Midshipmen, against each other in an annual football game that has become a highlight of the college football season. The Antecedent tradition of this rivalry has seen cabinet officials and notable figures from the past attending the match.

Formal Tradition:

The Army-Navy rivalry has a formal tradition that is unique to college football. The kinship and brotherhood within the military academy culture create an unrivaled connection and intensity.

The military ceremony that is part of Army-Navy football games is a testament to the respect and admiration felt between the two schools, making it an incredibly formal affair. Military Division Rivalry:

The Army-Navy rivalry is more than just a game, with current and former military members holding a special place for it in their hearts.

The outcome of the matchup is essential to these military members, who often have ties to the schools and a history of serving in the Armed Forces. The game has become a way for these military members to come together and showcase their own unique rivalries, making it a crucial part of military culture.


The Red River Rivalry and Army-Navy Rivalry are two of college football’s most significant and treasured rivalries. Both feature a rich history and a unique set of rival characteristics.

These rivalries highlight the passion and intensity of college football and encapsulate the essence of what it means to be a college football fan. Whether it’s the Red River Rivalry’s heated animosity or the Army-Navy Rivalry’s formal tradition, these matchups are essential to the fabric of college football and will continue to captivate fans and players alike for generations to come.

Clemson-South Carolina Rivalry:

Rivalry Origins:

The ClemsonSouth Carolina football rivalry dates back to 1896 when the two South Carolina universities first played against each other in a game that ended in a 12-6 Clemson victory. The rivalry between these two teams is filled with coincidental moments, notable scores, and a deep-rooted passion that continues to this day.

Exciting Moments:

The Clemson-South Carolina rivalry has seen a lot of exciting moments over the years. One of the most famous moments happened during the 2000 game, wherein a blocked punt led to a Clemson victory.

Additionally, the South Carolina Gamecocks handed Clemson their only loss of the 1981 season, which had been an otherwise undefeated run. The rivalry matchup is also for the Palmetto Bowl Trophy, which is a game that both teams and their fans look forward to every year.


The Clemson-South Carolina rivalry has seen many remarkable moments over the years. The game has been played almost annually since 1909, with several streaks of consecutive rivalry games throughout its history.

Through these streaks and other coincidental moments, the rivalry has developed a deep history of its own that makes the matchup even more intense. Florida-Florida State Rivalry:

Early Rivalry:

The Sunshine State Rivalry between Florida and Florida State began in 1958 when the two schools first played against each other.

The first game was won by the Gators, but the Seminoles went on to dominate the rivalry throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. Rivalry Heat Up Personified:

One of the most contentious moments in this rivalry occurred in 1961 when Florida and Florida State

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