The college football rivalry is about as pure as it gets when it comes to malevolence between teams and fans. The in-state school clashes and natural border wars have been the staple of the sport for as long as most can remember.
But NCAA football has been undergoing a drastic change, and much of that change is having its effect on rivalries that were once considered to be among the most heated in the nation. Conference realignments, the infusion of corporate capital, and change after change in the way the postseason is presented have all played a hand in the demise or near death of some great rivalries.
But this is America, and in this country, money talks and tradition runs the marathon.
Gone are the days of the Texas vs. Texas A&M yearly melee. That one was already killed by the ever-present zephyr of conference movement. The Aggies decided that their Southwestern zip code wasn’t going to be a barrier from joining the Southeastern Conference, and with the paydays they’re getting, who can blame them.
Likewise, the Border War between Kansas and Missouri has been laid to rest like an aged gunslinger on Boot Hill. The Tigers from the Midwest decided playing in the same cage with some Southeastern Tigers was preferable to life in the Big 12.
Those are just two of the more well-known rivalries that have been put down like a lame horse. But there are other classic skirmishes which are in danger of being snuffed out. Their days may be numbered, but these are still some great games to watch if they’re still being played, so watch while you have the chance.