Week 14 is highlighted by several of college football's oldest rivalries. Some teams play for an axe or an egg, while others are content to settle for in-state bragging rights or their own chapter in a rivalry's storied history. Since fans love rivalries and lists, we've combined both in this arbitrary ranking of the 17 notable rivalry games this weekend.
1. Auburn at Alabama
Saturday, 7:45 p.m. ET (Alabama leads series 42-35-1)
The Iron Bowl has become the fixation of the college football world over the last decade. The winner of this game has made an appearance in the national title game each of the last five years, boasting a four-year national title run in that stretch. It’s the great rivalry in a state that consumes college football unlike any other — the Birmingham market always watches football on TV, no matter who’s playing. Any of the next three rivalries could argue for their spot on top, and in another couple years it could be different, but right now the Iron Bowl is pretty much the biggest stage on rivalry weekend.
2. Michigan at Ohio State
Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET (Michigan leads series 58-45-6)
Here’s the thing. There are tons of Michigan and Ohio State alums, and they can be found everywhere. Decades of battling for Big Ten supremacy turned this rivalry into the biggest event on the calendar for these two schools, and it still feels like a college football national holiday when the game kicks off the final Saturday of the season. The stage is just as big as ever this year but the stakes are much higher for the Wolverines, who need to pull off the unlikely upset to become bowl eligible.
3. Florida at Florida State
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (Florida leads series 34-22-2)
Florida and Florida State's rivalry has always been rooted in classic in-state hatred, but also the pursuit of national success. These two programs dominated college football throughout the 1990's and have combined to win three national titles in the last decade. This year's meeting in Tallahassee features compelling storylines on both sides with it being Will Muschamp's last game as head coach and Florida State riding a record winning streak. Don't forget about the always-present recruiting angle to this game, with high school teammates playing high school teammates and a handful of players who flipped from one school to the other during their recruitment.
4. Notre Dame at USC
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (Notre Dame leads series 45-35-5)
This series, played annually since 1926 with only one break for World War II, helped create a "national" college football scene as the sport grew beyond a regional affair with the help of broadcast television. Notre Dame and USC have more success in their combined history than the rivalries listed above, but the present provides us with a game filled with "what if's." Notre Dame was a potential playoff contender not too long ago, and USC had a shot at the Pac-12 title until losing, badly, at UCLA last week.
5. Mississippi State at Ole Miss
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (Ole Miss leads series 61-43-6)
The stage for this year's Battle for the Golden Egg was set in Starkville a year ago, on Thanksgiving night, as Dak Prescott shook off an injury to lead Mississippi State to an overtime victory that made the Bulldogs eligible for the postseason. That momentum has spurred Mississippi State forward on its memorable 2014 run and that memory has kept Ole Miss fans hungry for a chance at revenge in Oxford. The Rebels might be out of the plaoyff race, but 111-year old hate runs much deeper than selection committee rankings. There is zero concern about motivation in this contest.
6. Arizona State at Arizona
Friday, 3:30 p.m. ET (Arizona leads series 47-39-1)
With both teams in the Top 15, this might be the biggest Duel in the Desert in decades. Arizona fans were so concerned about a getting an opportunity to paint Arizona State's "A" Mountain they went ahead and got to redecorating weeks ahead of Friday's matchup. The Territorial Cup might not rank in the Top 10 on an all-time rivalry list, but the passion for this game in the state rarely fluctuates based on rankings or Pac-12 title implications. It is just a bonus that we get to join in on the fun with some of the highest stakes in series history.
7. South Carolina at Clemson
Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET (Clemson leads series 65-42-4)
The Tigers may hold a 23 game lead in this series, which started in 1896, but in recent years the Battle for the Palmetto State has been all about the Gamecocks. Steve Spurrier has been quick and often to note that his Gamecocks have five straight wins in the series, the longest streak for either team since World War II. Spurrier and Dabo Swinney haven't traded verbal jabs this week (yet), but you can bet the one-liners will be as tangy as a golden South Carolina barbecue sauce after the game.
8. Minnesota at Wisconsin
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (Minnesota leads series 59-56-8)
Minnesota-Wisconsin is not only one of the closest series on this list but definitely the most-played FBS rivalry (123 meetings). It is a bummer that Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen has decided to make some changes to the traditional handling of Paul Bunyan's Axe (one of the coolest rivalry trophies in the country) for 2014, but with a Big Ten West title on the line it is impossible to get caught up in nitpicking one of the biggest games of the weekend.
9. Oregon at Oregon State
Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ET (Oregon leads series 61-46-10)
Saturday will be the 118th meeting in the longest-running rivalry west of the Rocky Mountains. Oregon has won six straight in the series, but a couple of those victories were a little too close, including the 36-35 win in Eugene a year ago. The Ducks have the Pac-12 North locked up and are on track to appear in the College Football Playoff, but can't afford to look past this final road test against the Beavers.
10. Washington at Washington State
Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET (Washington leads series 68-32-6)
Like the Civil War, the Apple Cup is a unique rivalry that provides entertainment even when its participants have different stakes. Consider Mike Leach’s first Apple Cup, where a 2-9 Cougars team fought back from a 28-10 fourth quarter deficit to win 31-28 in overtime or the rivalry’s stretch from 2001-2008; each team won four games and none by more than eight points.
11. Georgia Tech at Georgia
Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET (Georgia leads series 64-37-5)
Mark Richt has owned this series during his time at Georgia, winning 12 of 13 against the Yellow Jackets. Recently, this game has held an interesting spot in the SEC East race as the Bulldogs, winners of two division titles in the last three years, wraps the conference schedule before the annual meeting against Georgia Tech. When Georgia hits the field on Saturday, we will know whether it will be a third division title in four years.
12. Purdue at Indiana
Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET (Purdue leads series 72-38-6)
The Battle for the Old Oaken Bucket has not featured the best teams in college football recently, but it's hard to ignore the history at play in a series that has been played 116 times. The bucket became a part of the rivalry in 1925, but the series dates back 1891 (a 60-0 19th century shellacking by Purdue). Tevin Coleman, currently with 1,904 rushing yards on the season, missed this game last year due to an ankle injury and might be needed for two game's worth of offense for the Hoosiers to win its second-straight against Purdue.
13. NC State at North Carolina
Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET (North Carolina leads series 65-32-6)
This game has floated around the schedule, but fans of both basketball-crazed schools want nothing more in November than to beat each other on the gridiron. While this series ranks among the most-played in the country, it currently shares the "distinction" playing this game at noon or 12:30 for 10 consecutive seasons. The Wolfpack won eight times from 2000-11 before Larry Fedora led the Tar Heels to back-to-back victories in the last two years.
14. Virginia at Virginia Tech
Friday, 8:00 p.m. ET (Virginia Tech leads series 53-37-5)
These two teams have only been playing for the Commonwealth Cup since 1996, but the rivalry dates back to 1895 and will be played for the 96th time on Friday night. Virginia Tech has dominated the series recently, winning the last 10 meetings, but the Wahoos are actually favored by Las Vegas as both teams battle for bowl eligibility. It may be a lower-tier rivalry game in 2014, but the stakes haven't been this high for both teams in decades.
15. Kentucky at Louisville
Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET (Kentucky leads series 14-12)
After years of playing this in-state rivalry out in September, Louisville will join its new ACC brethren with an in-state SEC foe on the final week of the regular season. This new late-season date will add more intrigue, beginning with Kentucky's battle for bowl eligibility after five straight losses.
16. UCF at South Florida
Friday, 12:00 p.m. ET (USF leads 4-1)
UCF is a couple touchdowns better than USF this year, but the hate between these schools is permanent and political in nature. The newness of USF's program hasn't left enough time for much of a history, but the behind-the-scenes conflict between the two schools gives the series plenty of storylines. Getting these two teams in the same conference is a boon for the American, though both programs will need to be competing for an AAC title for this rivalry to climb up in the rankings.
17. Nevada at UNLV
Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET (Nevada leads 23-16)
This late-night treat in the desert will be an opportunity for plenty of Las Vegas residents -- be they permanent or there for the weekend -- to try and win back whatever they have lost from a weekend full of rivalry football. In all seriousness, the Battle for the Fremont Cannon has plenty of passion in the state but will fail to reverberate compared to the rest of the weekend.