The best rivalry in college football


Auburn-Alabama: Hate, rednecks, barbecue, $200,000 RVs, hottie southern girls. Now that's LND's kind of party.

College football presents the greatest experience in the world of sport. We know this, without debate, because it’s the only game where 60,000 strangers will join you in a giant parking lot for eight hours to get wasted and throw bags of corn at a piece of wood with a hole in it; where you can ogle 19-year-old undergrad females in various levels of skanky regional gameday garb from the sun dress to the tiny team T; and where you live for the most inane and half-retarded traditions mankind could possibly come up with — be that throwing toilet paper at a giant tree after a win down on The Plains, singing to the world your team plays “where all is bright and gay” while holding the two nearest fans, even if they’re dudes, in The Hook, or just shouting out some overly intricate cheer that was composed back in 1897 and doesn’t even use words that are relevant to the modern English language. (Seriously: Solarex, Solari?)

It’s also the greatest experience in the world of sport because of the rivalries. Rivalries are made from hate, and no sport – save MAYBE English Premier League soccer – can compete with the hate derived in a good college football rivalry. Sure, Raiders-Chiefs might be a decent NFL rivalry, Yankees-Red Sox is a heated MLB rivalry, but when it comes down to it the professional players just don’t really care. If they did, Johnny Damon and Wadey Boggs never would have donned the pinstripes. Can you imagine Colt McCoy in an Oklahoma Sooners uniform? Hell no. I can imagine him enjoying passionate anal sex with Sam Bradford, but he’d treat that wounded man hole with a sodering iron before he ever bled Sooner red. You see, college hate derives from real differences. Big State U versus Small Pretentious College, public versus private, Smart Kid U versus Dumb Fuck Tech. Every college develops a reputation, traditions and habits that are utterly unique and undeniably annoying to the nearest neighboring school. It starts out with some innocent ragging of your rival, and the next thing you know you’re wasted at an ESPN roast shouting “FUCK TOUCHDOWN JESUS” at the head coach of Notre Dame.

And the most genius thing college football does is ball all that hate up almost entirely into one glorious weekend – Rivalry Weekend. The Iron Bowl, the Egg Bowl, the Apple Cup, the Commonwealth Cup, the CIVIL WAR, for godsakes. Awesome! I want to eat a Virginia Tech undergrad and shit him out in the shape of Virginia’s V-Sabres right now.

Army-Navy

You know, I’m tired of national broadcasters telling us we have to respect how great this rivalry is. Grambling-Southern is a great rivalry, too, but it’s still shitty football I don’t feel like watching. And before anyone goes on a “respect the troops” kick, I do respect the troops. I appreciate that they fight for my freedoms, and now I’m going to exorcise my freedom to throw Army-Navy in the same basket as the WNBA – terrible sporting events not on my TV.

Virginia-Virginia Tech

In the ’80s and ’90s, these guys , two of the best coaches in the game, made the Commonwealth Cup great. The game frequently matched two top 25 teams and the intensity was fierce. Then UVA’s guy got too old and this ass face decided to come along, play some chess, stick his face in a fan and lose 8 out of 9 to the Hokies. Not to mention, this problem drinker apparently drove drunk to every head coach interview he ever had because no coordinator that good would ever sit around as No. 2 to a guy with half a face for three decades with no good reason. Anyways, one of the most underrated rivalries in college football turned into Texas-Baylor and now no one cares. But now UVA has this guy. Give it about three years.

USC-Notre Dame

Like Notre Dame football, the importance of this rivalry is nothing more than an illusion propogated by TV. As I mentioned, passion makes a rivalry, and if the dudes and babes of sunny SoCal don’t give a shit about their team, neither should you.

Oregon-Oregon St.

Well, if anything, the Civil War has to have the best name of all rivalry games, and the Ducks versus the Beavers has to be best rivalry matchup of ridiculous mascots.

Ohio St.-Michigan

For years, ESPN had you fooled into thinking this was an amazing game played between elite teams for the highest of stakes. Then Ohio St. kept losing BCS bowl games by 20. Now Michigan is looking like their Smart Kid U brethren and this rivalry is pretty much like me when I’m watching it – in a coma.

Cal-Stanford

The Nerd Bowl! This series has lacked memorable games in recent years, most people hate these schools as the elitist institutions they are, and 95% of the college football fan population would rather fuck a dead pig than watch California football (Seriously, that’s not even a joke. Southerners and Midwesterners are mildly disapproving of fucking dead livestock. But they hate football from California). Alas, The Play (“The Band is on the Field!!!”) is as memorable as it gets and earns this rivalry some points.

Syracuse-UConn

Yes, I’m just fucking with you now

Maryland-Virginia

Sorry, Maryland. No one in Virginia considers you a rival. In fact, no one cares about Maryland. Go bother West Virginia. They’ll burn couches with you.

West Virginia-Pittsburgh

When it comes to pure ignorant, nasty hatefulness among fans, this rivalry is the winner. The Backyard Brawl also generally determines the winner of the Big East. Congratulations! Your rivalry game gets to decide which team gets to embarass the BCS again this year!

Florida St.-Miami

This rivalry is just tantalizing. It was the most dramatic in college football for years and it still feels like these teams should be elite, but the fact is it’s closer to the level of UNC-N.C. State than it is to the glory days of this rivalry in the ’80s and ’90s.

Oklahoma-Texas

Great game, great tradition, but with the crazy intensity of so many Texas games (Texas A&M and Nebraska, for starters), one begins to realize that Longhorn fans are just sick in their heads, think everyone is a rival and would probably sacrifice more than a couple of Mexican illegals for a win over East Texas Tech-El Paso, much less the Sooners.

Auburn-Alabama

For my money, this one takes the cake both historically and right now. Who cares that both teams have hedge funds and law firms running their recruiting slush funds, these teams are basically combining NFL quality play with the immeasurable passion of uneducated, backwoods rednecks that are told from before they can walk that they are, under all circumstances and with no exceptions, to hate anyone wearing the wrong team’s colors. In most rivalries where a family’s two children go to each school, the parents get some cute flag with half of one school’s colors and half of the others. In Alabama, if a son or daughter goes against family tradition, they’re not invited back for Christmas. Carrying some “Family Divided” flag with mixed team colors will make you the victim of a hate crime faster than a black guy wearing a gay pride shirt walking into an Alabama KA frat house.

Lamest college mascot (BCS schools edition)


I recently attended U.Va.’s football season opener, where the Mike London era was deemed a near universal success as the Hoos exorcized the biggest shame of the Al Groh era (a 2009 season opening loss to mighty FCS William & Mary) and helped the ACC prevent repeating another 0-2 start against the mighty CAA by beating the Richmond Spiders 34-13.

I say “near universal success” because of this creature, which made its debut Saturday:

Now, I’m not one to get too worked up over bad mascots. They are, after all, for kids. And this horrendous creature is only a side mascot to U.Va.’s real mascot, Cavman — a gay, manscaped Frenchman in an astronaut suit, which if you’ve read the tales of Cavaliers is pretty much historically accurate. But the locals in Hooville were not pleased. Some college football fans, and I’m talking about grown ass men, are not merely content to be armchair quarterbacks and Monday morning coaches; they like to play AD with a GED and hold up their pretend BS in mascot marketing to speculate on how a joke of a mascot will crumble their favorite program from the foundation.

At U.Va., the hypersensitive fans probably just can’t take any more ridicule after a 3-9 Al Groh special in 2009. I’ve seen the new mascot called everything from what would happen if Grimus raped the Chick-fil-a cow to Mr. Cameltoehands. I have personally dubbed it Puff the Magic Demon Horse.

What this new scandal of Charlottesville is not is the worst mascot in college sports. Not by far, not even close. In fact, I had only planned one “Worst Mascot” debate, but the sheer immensity of terrible mascots at every level of college athletics has forced me to split it up into divisions: BCS schools, non-BCS FBS schools, FCS schools, and Division II and III (where shit really gets Grateful Dead, Beatles White Album trippy).

So without further adieu, I present LND’s five lamest BCS school mascots. There’s no real methodology (to even suggest such a scientific process is to insult the nature of the late night debate), but in general I celebrate mascots that are so terrible they’re awesome (the Western Kentucky Blob) and instead look for that certain soulless lameness that comes when sports marketing departments try really hard and still fail.

5. The Penn St. Nittany Lion

How do you fuck up a predator cat, Penn St.? Easily, the easiest of all mascot breeds to successfully execute. Well, start with using a leftover oversized Winnie the Pooh costume for the Big Cat’s body. Next, instead of giving your ferocious feline a full set of teeth, make him look like Cletus the Slack Jawed Kitty straight out of the coal mines of Southwest Pennsyltucky by only giving him four teeth and a gap-toothed grin. Third, leave him au natural in the buff, but put a scarf on him just so he has the feel of a freaky European football streaker that you should shield your children’s eyes from.

4. Big Al, the Alabama Elephant

I’ve got no problem with a big elephant costume in principle, but let’s call a spade a spade here: That is a big, swinging, flaccid cock dangling from that creature’s face. Good lord, I’d hate to see Big Al get excited. Maybe I’ve just got trunk envy. Don’t mock me elephant. Some are showers, some are growers.

3. Brutus the Buckeye (Ohio St.)

Ohio St. fans will defend this atrocity to the death, much like they will defend their teams over-inflated ranking every year. But much like Ohio St.’s performances in national title games, there’s just not much evidence to support Brutus as anything other than lacking. Let’s look past the obvious issue that Brutus’ testicle head is the perfect complement to Big Al’s dick face. What is going on with that outfit? He’s wearing those old school, three inch too short jogging pants that everyone but your crazy Uncle Jimmy with the pornstache tossed out in 1986 and, speaking of the ‘80s, Freddie Krueger is bound to come looking for his sweater sometime.

2. Big 12 Cowboy mascots (the Texas Tech Red Raider, the Oklahoma St. Cowboy, and the Nebraska Cornhusker)

Someone tell Big 12 schools to stop the biggest hit to the image of the American cowboy since Brokeback Mountain. Let’s play a round of rapid fire.

Texas Tech: Flouting Warner Bros. ownership of his likeness and all sorts of laws prohibiting fire arms in public places, Yosemite Sam has apparently decided to live out his Zorro fantasy in Lubbock.

Oklahoma St.: I am honestly afraid this man is going to rape me. He has clearly done time. And the detail of the wrinkles in his creepy hard plastic face is disturbing. I’m willing to bet this costume actually smells like chewing tobacco spit and strippers.

Nebraska: Tight jeans, sturdy work shirt, normal size cowboy hat, chizled jawline; the Cornhusker is much more like real modern cowboys — gay.

1. The Stanford Tree

You might think the Tree would fit my “So terrible it’s awesome” exception, but you’re missing a key element exacerbating the horrendous lameness of this mascot. You see, one Stanford student is chosen to grace the Cardinal sidelines each year in a Tree costume that they must make themselves. And under the irresistible pressure for undergrad college students to become unbearably obnoxious by out-cute and clevering anyone who has come before them, it has become en vogue on campus to make each year’s tree more terrible and ridiculous than the one preceding. Unintentional humor has resulted in some of the best mascots in college sports, but forced cuteness in a hybrid form of nerd and college humor is not to be rewarded. Sorry, Stanford smart asses, but I have to give you the only thing that will wipe that smug smile off your pretentious faces. A big, steaming ‘F.’

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