Everyone wants to rank the top college football rivalries, but as teams change from year to year, this isn’t always easy or static. While it’s nearly impossible to reach a consensus numerically, I’ve put them in tiers instead.
There’s three tiers of college football rivalries, many of which are games that are played this weekend.
Use this list as a guide to watching football this weekend. Don’t watch a Tier 3 game over a Tier 1 game.
Top College Football Rivalries: Tier 1
- Michigan/Ohio State
These are the undisputed four best rivalries in college football. I don’t want to hear anything else.
Two of these games will be played this weekend with national championship implications. Yes, Michigan never beats Ohio State, but the game is still a must watch.
Ohio State probably runs it up in Ann Arbor this weekend, but the hate is electric. And of course, there’s CFP positioning on the line.
Bo Nix’s injury places a damper on the Iron Bowl, but the rivalry will always be a Tier 1 game.
Texas and Oklahoma produced a classic this season; let’s hope the rest of Tier 1 lives up to their hype this season.
Top College Football Rivalries: Tier 2
- Ole Miss/Mississippi St.
- Miami/Florida St.
- Oregon/Oregon St.
- Oklahoma/Oklahoma St
- Clemson/South Carolina
- Michigan/Michigan St.
Tier 2 of the top college football rivalries consists of pure hatred. These teams just don’t get along and never will. Four of the seven games will be played this weekend, so at least one has to live up to the hype.
Bedlam has an impact on the college football playoff, Oregon hopes to bounce back from their embarrassment at Utah, Clemson is starting to click, and the Egg Bowl has two really good teams that hate each other.
My favorite part of this tier is that the fan bases believe they have a Tier 1 rivalry. The games mean more than any on the schedule.
Miami and Florida State produced a great finish, and Michigan/Michigan State was a classic, so here’s to a few of these producing some more great moments.
Top College Football Rivalries: Tier 3
- Florida/Florida St.
- USC/Notre Dame
- Georgia/Georgia Tech
- Michigan/Notre Dame
- Arizona/Arizona St.
Let’s call this the Florida-Georgia line. Most of the games on this tier involve the Gators and Bulldogs.
I knock each of these rivalries for a number of reasons.
Starting with USC and Notre Dame, USC doesn’t have real fans. There’s too much to do in Southern California, so no one cares about the Trojans (unless they’re good). Same for Cal and Stanford.
Georgia Tech should never be on the field with Georgia in the 21st century.
Notre Dame never plays Michigan anymore.
Florida and Georgia also don’t have one true rival. The best part of the rivalries higher on the list is the fan bases all point to one game. Florida and Georgia don’t do that.
I’ll still take a Tier 3 game over a non-rivalry game though. These teams don’t like each other and produce a ton of great games.
With that being said… don’t watch Florida/Florida State this weekend. Florida quit on the season and FSU stinks.