Back to School timing also means the beginning of college football season. And with college football, always come great rivalries. These games are typically deep seeded with tradition, and garner a lot of excitement and attention. These match ups can also provide great opportunities for marketers, as they generate a lot of buzz both on campus and a national level. Here is a list of the top five college football rivalries we think your brand can play into:
1) Michigan vs Ohio State – Also known as “The Game”, the matchup between the Wolverines and the Buckeyes was ranked in 2000 by ESPN as the greatest North American sports rivalry. This game is almost always scheduled at the end of the season and has often determined the winner of the Big 10, thus determining some Rose Bowl matchups. The venue alternates between campuses every year. Michigan leads the overall series 57-42-6, but Ohio State is currently on their longest winning streak yet, as they have won the last five (2004-2008).
2) Texas vs Oklahoma – Red River Rivalry or Red River Shootout, named for the Red River which forms part of the border between OK and TX. This series has also been considered one of the best rivalries in American sports. The winner takes home the Golden Hat trophy. Texas leads the all-time series 50-40-5. The game is played at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, considered a neutral site since its halfway between Austin and Norman. Typically it is held during the second week of October, which is during the State Fair of Texas- the largest state fair in the US by annual attendance.
3) Miami vs FSU – Since 1983, the winner of this game has gone on to win the National Championship seven times. The Miami Hurricanes currently lead the series 31-23. Recently the game has been moved to Labor Day, so it can be an exclusive game on national television. The most recent game on Labor Day 2009 was an epic battle, with seven lead changes and a nail-biting finish that ended with Miami topping the favored FSU. Thanks to my older brother, I’ve grown up a Miami fan, so GO CANES!
4) Army vs Navy – One of the more traditional of the football rivalries, it has come to represent the rivalry between the different branches of the US Armed Forces. The game is typically played in Philadelphia, somewhat of a middle ground between the two bases. Though neither team is typically a championship contender, it is nationally televised every year due to tradition. Navy leads the series 53-49-7.
5) Alabama vs Auburn – This game is also known as the Iron Bowl. The winner is awarded the Foy-ODK Sportsmanship Trophy. The site of the game alternates between Tuscaloosa and Auburn every year, though it was played in Birmingham most of the twentieth century. Alabama leads the series 39-33-1.