Well its that time a year again when college football is sadly starting to come to the inevitable end, sadly. Its the time of year when we are beginning to see the big rivalry games. This is an SEC fan group so I am mostly going to talk about SEC rivalries, but I will touch on a few others and why the SEC's are just a little bit better.
This week we are going to see games such as "The Egg Bowl" between Ole Miss and Mississippi, "The Iron Bowl" between Alabama and Auburn, LSU against Arkansas, Georgia vs. Georgia Tech, Kentucky vs. Tennessee, Florida vs. Florida St, and South Carolina vs. Clemson. These games might not excite fans across the country, but in most cases it results in bragging rights for at least the next year. They also can have a small impact on recruiting.
This will be the first time in a long time teams such as Ole Miss and Kentucky enter into their rivalry game with winning records against their heated rivals. Its a chance for another like Alabama to end its six game losing streak to hated rival Auburn, and keep its national championship hopes alive. It's a chance for in-state rivals like Alabama-Auburn, Ole Miss-Mississippi St., Clemson-South Carolina, and Georgia-Georgia Tech to win or keep their bragging rights amongst their local fans. It's a chance for rivals from opposing conferences to show their conference is either still better Florida - Florida St, Clemson - South Carolina, and Georgia-Georgia Tech. For yet others it is a chance to ruin bowl or national championship hopes such as the Iron Bowl and the Florida-Florida St game. For a lot of these games you can throw out the records of the teams involved because the players, fans, and student bodies dislike each other so much they will play that much harder for this one game of the year and try to end the season on a high note.
SEC rivalries aren't like some other conferences rivalries. The Red River Shootout, for example, is played in October between Texas and Oklahoma. Now these two teams are traditionally always ranked teams and more times than not being mentioned in the national championship picture yet they don't have the onions to play each other the last week of the year like SEC teams do with their biggest rivals. Now I know most teams have more than one traditional rival so one could argue that Oklahoma plays Oklahoma State and that Texas plays Texas A&M their last games of the season, but let's be real how often are OSU and A&M threats to knock off the Sooner's and Longhorns? Big Bad Southern California is no different, one of their chief rivals is Notre Dame who since Lou Holtz left the school just havn't been all that good consistently. They only schedule to play Notre Dame as one of their last games of the season when its going to be a game played in Los Angeles. When the game is to be played in South Bend, USC schedules the game for the beginning of October. Why is this? Because they don't have the onions to play Notre Dame in South Bend in front of Touchdown Jesus during the bitter cold of a mid to late Novemeber. They want to play their rival when conditions will favor their winning. At least Michigan and Ohio State play each other the last game of their seasons which shows me that even if they aren't as good as other teams at least they have to balls to schedule a team that is normally ranked and often in the national title hunt to close their season.
Now I know just about every game in the SEC is tough I know this, but for teams like Alabama, Auburn, Florida, LSU, Arkansas, South Carolina, Kentucky, and Georgia they are playing teams that more often than not are ranked teams that could and have ruined seasons as their last games of the season. So I salute all the SEC teams that play their chief rivals as the last game of the season in the SEC because rivalry games are tougher than most other and even though this year the SEC championship was decided before rivalry week how many other times does rivalry week start with a win and your going to Atlanta and a loss means your not. Just one more reason why the SEC is king of the hill.