Friday Five: The most hate-filled rivalries in college football in 2017
Every school has a rival, but some hate each other more than others
While it might not be a facet of the sport that gets often promoted, college football is a sport built on hate. Before television began bringing nearly every game in the country to your living room on Saturdays, you only had one team to root for every week. The team that represented the school you went to, or the one closest to your house.
Rooting for a team on its own is fine, but everybody needs an enemy, and college football provided you with one every week. Over the course of time, though, you would discover that there were enemies you respected, and enemies you just plain hated.
And that's where rivalries were born, and rivalries are what sustained this game for decades.
So when I saw this tweet from Parrish Walton float across my Twitter timeline on Friday morning, I couldn't help but make it the topic for this week's Friday Five.
There are rivalries all across college football. If you are a school, you have a rival, and you probably think your rivalry is the best one. Or you think that your rivalry has the most hate for one another.
Well, that's not the case. Believe me when I say some fan bases have a lot more hate for their rival than others. So, using the parameters Parrish Walton set in his tweet, I'm going to rank the five rivalries that I believe have the most hate in their hearts.
5. Ohio State-Michigan: Want to know a secret? This one is starting to go a little soft, at least in my experiences with fans on both sides. A couple of years ago I may have had this in the top three, but things are just getting a bit too friendly.
I think part of it is due to the fact Michigan just hasn't been good often enough lately. Ohio State's dominated the Big Ten while Michigan has had a few rough transitions over the last decade. Hopefully, things can get going back in the right direction if Jim Harbaugh can make Michigan a legit threat in the Big Ten again because we need it. The hate between these two teams is great for college football.
4. Alabama-Auburn: This is another rivalry where I believe things have been getting a touch too cozy. Don't get me wrong, at their core, Alabama fans and Auburn fans still hate one another. The problem is there's just a little too much respect right now.
Blaming either side is hard because Auburn picked up a national title of its own in 2010 -- so you have to tip your cap there -- and Alabama has just dominated college football. At some point, no matter how much you hate a team, when they keep winning over and over again, you develop a certain level of admiration. You don't admit it publicly, but it's something you say to your spouse or someone you trust in the comfort of your own home because you know they'll keep your secret, but it's still there. This rivalry could use an Auburn win that destroys an Alabama season right now.
3. Iowa-Iowa State: Yeah, you probably don't care about this rivalry. It's not exactly a feud that tips the scales nationally, but man do these two fan bases hate each other. What makes it better is that even though they aren't in the same conference, I get a sense that this game matters more than any other. Either team could go on to finish in last place in their division, but as long as they win this game, the season isn't a wash.
Also, you know there's hate here because both sides pretend they don't even like playing each other. You'll hear things from Iowa fans like "we need to stop playing Iowa State every year. It's just not worth it for us. We need a better nonconference opponent." They're fine with that annual MAC game, though.
In a sick way, it's kind of like a grade school romance. The more they try to convince you they don't care, the more they do.
2. BYU-Utah: This one -- known as the Holy War -- made a significant push for the No. 1 spot on my list. Trust me, while it may not be the country's most famous rivalry, this one is everything in the state of Utah. Obviously, I'm not allowed to drop f-bombs here on CBS Sports, but believe me, when I say that to describe the animus between these two properly, you have to use one between "they" and "hate" in the phrase "they hate each other."
What adds a special layer of terrifying to it all is the way there's still this veneer of pleasantness that covers it all. Somehow fans on both sides have figured out the perfect balance of still respecting you as a person while absolutely detesting every fiber of your being.
1. Ole Miss-Mississippi State: Yeah, so I had to go with the Egg Bowl here, and recent events certainly play a role in this ranking. Don't get me wrong; both sides have long hated each other. Mississippi is a state without any professional sports teams, and these two schools have always presented that sports outlet. You chose a side -- or, in reality, a side was chosen for you -- at birth, and then you spend the rest of your days arguing with anybody that chose the other side.
When that happens, you've got yourself a stew going. But then you spice that stew up a bit with NCAA violations at one of the schools involved, and while that adds a level of heat, it only gets spicier when a player at one school is part of the NCAA investigation into the other.
I'm scared to get involved right now. Simply writing about this is going to have hundreds of angry Mississippians in my mentions for the next four days.
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