It’s only week two of college football, but for 10 programs its more like the team you love to hate week. There’s nothing like playing in the games where you can throw out the records, strap on the helmets, lace up the cleats and leave it all on the field. Proximity is a big deal, with some teams being separated by bordering state lines, while others co-exist just a few miles from one another. A lot of these kids played in high school together, while others played against each other. Some games are played for trophies and others are played for pride, but one aspect teams will go to drastic measures to earn is respect. As this weekend draws upon us, five historical rivalries will be renewed. The passion and intensity these games bring will have fans from both sides on their feet craving for more. Without further ado, we’ll explore these five classic rivalries and why they mean so much to the players, coaches and fans.
Penn State at Pittsburgh (The Keystone Classic)
98 meetings: Penn State leads series 51-43-4
These two teams have a long, storied history together and played for the first time in 1893. The Nittany Lions have not played any other opponent more than Pitt. Only West Virginia has played Pitt more than Penn State. 11 national championships exist between these two programs and Saturday’s game marks the 99th meeting. Both teams stopped playing as independents and aligned with different conferences in the early 90’s and the rivalry dwindled down. The rivalry was completely called off after the 2000 season due to late coach Joe Paterno and Penn States’ athletic department demands of wanting the games played mostly in Beaver stadium. The rivalry revived in 2016 for a four-game home-and-home series and the teams have split the last two.
Iowa State at Iowa (Battle for the Cy-Hawk Trophy)
65 meetings: Iowa leads series 43-22
One of the most entertaining rivalries in the country. When these two teams meet you can expect some big plays, hard-hitting and tremendous passion. When the recruits sign with these two schools this game is circled on their calendar because the bragging rights for the winner will be heard for the next 365 days. The Cyclones demands their respect and won’t settle for being perceived as the little brother in the state. Now that Matt Campbell has the Cyclones playing at a high level this game means more on the national stage. Last year’s overtime thriller was an instant classic and tied for the highest scoring game in this heated series history. It makes you wonder what can these two teams do for an encore. Kirk Ferentz became the Hawkeyes all-time winningest coach last week while the Cyclones had to cancel their game in the first quarter due to inclement weather. Both teams are eager to clash this time around.
TCU at SMU (Battle for the Iron Skillet)
97 meetings: TCU leads series 50-40-7
These two teams have played each other all but six times since first clashing in 1915. One of the rumors behind how the skillet became apart of this rivalry consists of a disrespectful act by an SMU fan in 1946, who was frying frog legs in a skillet before the game. He was confronted by a TCU fan and both agreed that the winner of the game would get to eat the frog legs. This rivalry featured some memorable games, including the 1935 classic that gave SMU the Southwest title and a berth in the Rose Bowl. TCU has owned this rivalry as of late, winning the last six meetings. These old Southwest Conference foes will play their 98th game against each other this Saturday and will continue their rivalry through the 2019 season.
Miami (Ohio) vs. Cincinnati (Battle for the Victory Bell)
122 meetings: Miami (Ohio) leads series 59-56-7
The Battle for the Victory Bell is the oldest non-conference rivalry in the nation. These two teams made history when they first played in 1888. It was the first-ever college football game to be played in the state of Ohio. The Cincinnati-Miami (Ohio) series is the fifth most played rivalry in college football. The players love the unique looking bell. Red and white on one side representing the Red Hawks and black and white on the other side representing the Bearcats. Cincinnati has owned this series lately, winning 13 of the last 14, including 12 straight. The Redhawks are slowly closing the gap and the last four games have all been decided by a touchdown or less.
Colorado at Nebraska
69 meetings: Nebraska leads series 49-18-2
This rivalry dates back to the days of the Big 8 conference. These two teams first played in 1898 and last clashed in 2010. Nebraska owned this rivalry until the 80’s when Colorado began making noise on the national stage. Colorado often faced the same situation that Iowa does today. The Buffaloes view the Huskers as their biggest rival, but Nebraska still views Oklahoma as its biggest rival and Colorado doesn’t feel respected enough. After the Big 12 formed Nebraska only played Oklahoma every two years and Colorado filled the Sooners spot on the Huskers’ schedule every black Friday until 2010 when both teams bolted for new conferences. Between 1962-2010 Nebraska compiled a record of 40-8-1 against Colorado. Saturday’s game will be special with Scott Frost back in Lincoln and the Huskers missing out on their season-opener last week because of inclement weather. Frost remembers this rivalry vividly during the first two years of the Big 12 formation. Nebraska has won five of the last six in this series. Expect a lot of offensive fireworks this Saturday afternoon.