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Greatest Rivalries ... No. 7 through No. 10
Texas QB Colt McCoy
Texas QB Colt McCoy
Posted Nov 21, 2009

The ten greatest rivalries in college football ... No. 7 through No. 10

College Football's Top Rivalries

No. 7 to No. 10

College Football's Top Rivalries
- No. 1 to 3 | No. 4 to 6 | No. 7 to 10 

7. Florida vs. Georgia (Georgia leads 47-39-2. According to Florida, Georgia leads 46-39-2)

The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party that's no longer called the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party has been the Florida Invitational in recent seasons, and it swung back that way after the Gators have taken over in the last few years. As far as rivalries go, this one is mega-heated as the two sides hate each other for 364 days and three hours. But all is congenial just before and just after the game as fans tailgate for days in college football’s greatest party.

Signature Game: Georgia 26 … Florida 21 December 2, 1980
It was a spectacular game with superstar freshman running back Herschel Walker riddling the Gators for 238 yards and a touchdown on 37 carries. However, nobody seems to remember his outstanding performance. With only one minute and 35 seconds to play and Georgia was down 21-20 on its own seven-yard line. The Bulldogs ran two plays to no avail forcing third and ten and with only 1:04 to play with the ball on the Georgia seven yard-line. Quarterback Buck Belue completed his throw in between several Gators to wide receiver Lindsay Scott. Scott turned up field by a Gator defender and ripped up the sideline going 93 yards for the improbable Bulldog win propelling the team to the national title. Florida all but fell apart after this game losing two of its final four games. Georgia had survived a scare the week earlier against South Carolina, but it was relatively smooth sailing after this game beating Auburn, Georgia Tech and Notre Dame to win the national title. Because of the implications (as opposed to Doug Flutie’s Hail Mary against Miami), this was the pass of the 1980s.

8. UCLA vs. USC (USC leads the series 42-28-7)

The battle for The Victory Bell is a wee bit different than most rivalries because it involves a major metropolitan city; there are other sports in L.A. other than college football to get excited about. But that doesn’t mean the two sides aren’t fierce about this battle and aren’t above being creative with various pranks. Throughout the years, USC’s Tommy Trojan statue in the middle of the USC campus has been mutilated, painted, and buried before the big game by UCLA fans. USC fans have had their moments highlighted in 1958 by getting a phony story in the UCLA student newspaper quoting UCLA head coach George Dickerson saying, “I can’t see any hope for our team.” The game ended in a 15-15 tie.

Signature Game: Southern Cal 21…UCLA 20 November 18, 1967
It wasn’t just for the honor of winning a crosstown rivalry. It wasn’t just for the Rose Bowl. This was, possibly, for the national title as No. 1 UCLA and star quarterback Gary Beban squared off against No. 2 USC and its young tailback O.J. Simpson. Beban was magnificent as he threw for 301 yards even though he was playing with bad ribs. Tied 14-14 early in the fourth quarter, Beban hit Dave Nuttall with a 20-yard TD pass to take the lead, but the Trojans blocked the extra point. And then it was showtime. In the history of Trojan football and all the spectacular tailbacks, there has been no greater run than the dash that was to come from Simpson. It was third and eight on USCs own 36. The Trojans had replaced Steve Sogge at quarterback with Toby Page to get the better passer in the game. With a pass play called, Page changed the call at the line of scrimmage to Red 23-Blast when he saw the Bruin linebackers drop back into pass coverage. The play call would go to an exhausted Simpson, who cut through the line before bouncing left. He then cut back right appearing to be shot out of a cannon as he tore up the field for a 64-yard touchdown and the win. The victory gave the Trojans the Pac 8 title and a birth in the Rose Bowl where they beat Indiana and won the national title. UCLA would finish tenth, but Beban would win the Heisman Trophy. Simpson would win it the following season while this play, and this game, made him a superstar

9. Texas vs. Texas A&M (Texas leads series 75-36-5)

More fans care about Texas vs. Oklahoma on a national scale, and it's certainly the battle that makes or breaks each program's season, but the Texas - Texas A&M showdown has a special place in the college football world.

Usually played on the Friday after Thanksgiving and always the last regular season game of the year for each program, the third longest running rivalry divides the state with a battle of classes, attitudes, and two very distinct fan bases. Each side has its own view of the other. A&M is considered the rural school who, according to Texas fans, aren't exactly refined. To Aggie fans, Longhorn fans are more snooty city types. The traditions surrounding the game are among the best in all of college football highlighted by the Aggie Bonfire and the lighting of the UT Tower when the Longhorns beat the Aggies.

Signature Game: Texas 7 ... Texas A&M 0 November 28, 1940
Texas A&M was the defending national champion coming on a 19-game winning streak with a trip to the Rose Bowl all lined up if it could just come up with a win. Having not allowed more than a touchdown in any game, and outscoring their opponents 170 to 27, the Aggies were supposed to come into Austin and walk out with a win over a good, but not great, Longhorn squad that was 6-2 coming off a way-too-hard 21-14 win over a bad TCU team. Texas got was was later called the "impossible catch" from Noble Doss to set on a one-yard Pete Layden touchdown run on the first drive of the game, and the defense hung on the rest of the way for a 7-0 win. A&M went on to the Cotton Bowl beating Fordham 13-12, while Texas finished off the season with a 26-0 win over Florida. The win kicked off a great run for the Longhorns in the the series going 11-0-1 over the Aggies.

10. Florida vs. Florida State (Florida leads 30-19-2)

There’s not a real history here and each team has bigger rivals, but this is growing into a bitter feud thanks to proximity and recent histories of the two schools. At least one of the two were involved in the national title mix throughout the 1990s, and now it has become one of the year’s most exciting and anticipated showdowns even though Florida has stayed among the elite and Florida State has become mediocre. Former Gator head coach Steve Spurrier took it to another level when he called Florida State “Free Shoes University,” adding some fire to the showdown raising this from a good annual game to a solid rivalry. Now the two programs compete for area recruits and in-state status, even though the Seminoles have been struggling.

Signature Game: Florida 32 … Florida State 29 November 22, 1997
The No. 1 Seminoles had been rolling through their schedule going into the showdown in the Swamp. The Gators were ranked tenth after a couple of early season losses, and while they were talented, they weren't quite as strong as FSU. The Noles had the nation's top ranked run defense (Florida’s was No. 2), but the Gators would test them early as head coach Steve Spurrier was determined to run the ball, and thanks to Fred Taylor, they did. Rotating quarterbacks Doug Johnson and Noah Brindise on every play, the Gators combined an interesting mix of run and pass plays that gave the Seminole defense fits. But Florida State would be heard from.

FSU running back Travis Minor had a huge day running for 129 yards and a touchdown, but the game would belong to his counterpart, Taylor. In a seesaw game, Taylor tore off a 61-yard touchdown run putting the Gator crowd into a frenzy as they now believed the Gators might actually be able to pull off the upset. But when PK Sebastian Janikowski nailed a 20-yard field goal with less than three minutes to play to go up 29-25, it looked like the Seminoles would get the win and be off to the national championship. And then came what might go down as the biggest pass in the storied rivalry.

Trying desperately to get a final drive going, Johnson hit Jacquez Green, who would finish with seven catches for 145 yards, up the sideline for a 63-yard gain down to the FSU 17. Taylor followed it up with a run to the one before plunging in for the game-winning touchdown. He would finish with 162 yards and four scores. The Seminoles, in the new era of the Bowl Championship Series, were passed over for Tennessee to play Nebraska in the mythical national title game. Michigan and Nebraska ended up splitting the national championship while the Noles throttled Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl. Florida beat Penn State in the Citrus Bowl.