Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Rivalry Time

Michigan hosted hated adversary Ohio State this past weekend for the opportunity to represent the Big Ten conference in the Rose Bowl in January. This rivalry doesn’t need anything to make it a great match-up. It has been for years. It's not the only good rivalry out there though.

We have plenty of rivalry games lined up for our viewing pleasure this weekend as well. That got me to thinking about some of the great rivalries of all-time: Ali-Frazier, Yankees-Red Sox, Donald Trump-Rosie O’Donnell.

Some of my personal favorite rivalries are taking place this week. What do I like about these games? Everything. They have emotion. Fans would sometimes toss out an entire season as long as they could have their team win this one game. They have great names like “The Duel in the Desert,” “The Red River Shootout,” and “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.” They even have great names for their trophies like Paul Bunyan’s Axe, the Sweet Sioux Tomahawk and the Beehive Boot.

There are so many great games to choose from but here are a couple of my favorites:

Best Name: The Backyard Brawl (West Virginia vs. Pittsburgh). It was tough for me not to pick The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party for this one but I decided to go with The Brawl. This one isn’t this weekend…it’s next, but it’s still a great name. Frankly, this game just sounds cool – The Backyard Brawl – you pretty much have to be the toughest teams in the area to call your game this. West Virginia and Pittsburgh first locked up for The Brawl in 1895.

Best Trophy: The Floyd of Rosedale (Iowa vs. Minnesota). The Big Ten has a bunch of great trophies but this is my favorite for a couple reasons. First, it’s a trophy with a 21-inch bronze pig on the top of it. I mean, come on! It’s a giant pig-trophy. The other thing that makes this trophy great is that in its first year, in 1935, the governors of the two states actually bet their state’s prize-winning hog on this game. This was in the north, people!

(The more that I think about this topic the more I think this could take over its own blog entry. We may have to devote an entire day to talking about the great trophies of college football.)

Best overall game: The Iron Bowl. It’s the annual grudge match between Auburn and Alabama (okay, I’m a little biased because I’m from the South). The Crimson Tide own a 38-32 advantage in the series with the lone tie coming in 1907. Auburn has won the last five contests though. This is one of my favorites because there is such a passionate hatred between these two teams. In the state of Alabama, you grow up cheering for either Alabama or Auburn. Cheering for both is completely unheard of.

Thanksgiving night there is also a great game – with possible Rose Bowl implications: Southern Cal vs. Arizona State. I’ll be tuning in with the best part of Thanksgiving with me…no, not friends and family…a big sandwich filled with leftover turkey!

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone!

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