Greatest Rivalries

This weekend, I watched the three game series between the Yankees and the Red Sox.  Throughout the game, they would show highlights of past games and all the history that goes into this great rivalry.  And this got me thinking, what are the best rivalries in country. 

Rivalries are what sports fans of different teams use to connect to each other. Whether it’s a rivalry in high school, college, or even pro teams, a big rivalry never changes the hatred you have toward that other team. Looking back in sports history, some of the best games played have been between rivals. A lot of the most exciting moments in sports happen when one team is facing a rival.

Whenever a sports fan thinks of a game to go to, the first thing that pops up is usually his/her favorite team facing their rival. Rivals games are arguably the most important game to win not only for the fans, but for the organization to have bragging rights on the other. Now, let’s check out the top three greatest rivalries in all of sports.

3. Alabama vs Auburn

Ohio State-Michigan may have the hype. Army-Navy may have the pageantry.

But when it comes to good old-fashioned football hatred, there may be no rivalry in college football that can match Alabama-Auburn. 

The “Iron Bowl” dates back to 1893. It is called the Iron Bowl, and for more than a century, it has been tearing the state of Alabama in two. These two teams hate each other. The fans hate each other. And probably more than any other rivalry in college football, Alabama-Auburn is truly a 365-day-a-year obsession.  In Alabama, you are either raised saying “Roll Tide” or “War Eagle”.  Although this rivalry features many great moments, nothing compares to what happened in the 2009 and 2010 seasons.  In 2009, Alabama went undefeated during the regular season, including a last second thriller against Auburn, where they won 26-21.  Alabama’s star running back Mark Ingram also won the Heisman trophy, the first player from Bama ever to do so.  The season ended with a national championship victory over Texas.  The next season, led by eventual Heisman trophy winner Cam Newton, the Tigers raced out to a perfect regular season before a matchup with the defending national champion Crimson Tide.  Bama raced out to a 24 point lead before Newton led the largest comeback in Iron Bowl history and won 28-27.  Newton finished the season by winning the national championship.  

2. Although its the not best rivalry in America, it may be the most unique.  Between Durham and Chapel Hill there is 20-mile stretch of Highway 15-501 connecting two of the most prestigious  college basketball programs in the country. This is the famed “Tobacco Road,” the 20 mile stretch of land that has given birth to the greatest and most well known college sports rivalry of all time.   Having gone to UNC this summer and getting the chance to spend a few days with some Carolina die hards, I witnessed how big this rivalry is.  The game is talked about all year, and if you mention the word Duke, you are immediately given dirty looks. From Micheal Jordan to Grant Hill, from Dean Smith to Coach K, and from the Cameron Crayzies to die hard Tar Heels fans that pack the Dean Dome every night, this is by far the greatest college rivalry ever.

1. Yankees vs Red Sox

The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry is one of the most storied in all of sports. It began in 1919, when Harry Frazee , the financially troubled Red Sox owner, sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees for $125,000.

From then to 2004, the Yankees built the greatest dynasty in sports history and won 26 world series championships, while the Red Sox failed to win one.

The tension reached a high in 2003. Again, the teams played each other in the ALCS – but this time, it went seven games. It ended on a walk-off home run by Yankees third baseman Aaron Boone in the eleventh inning of Game 7.

In 2004, the teams met once more in the ACLS. But the Yankees took a 3-0 series lead, all but crushing the Sox. Then the Red Sox did the impossible: they won the next four games to advance to the World Series, becoming the first team in sports to win a seven-game series after going down 3-0. They won the World Series for the first time since 1918, and exorcised the demons of Red Sox fans.

Now, though the Yankees still hold a significant edge in World Series titles, both teams are among the most elite in baseball. They are the only teams to win multiple World Series in the past decade. Because both are now competitive, regular-season games are more important and fraught with tension than ever.

 

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