Lesser Known College Football Rivalries

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All college football rivalry games are great. Some, however, are not as entertaining as others and lack the mass appeal of the truly great games. These games still deserve mention and are listed.

Akron vs. Kent St.

Akron and Kent State play an annual rivalry game with the winner getting The Wagon Wheel.

The Battle of I-75 - Bowling Green vs. Toledo

Rust Belt bragging rights and The Peace Pipe are at stake when Bowling Green and Toledo play their annual rivalry game.

The Border War - Colorado State vs. Wyoming

The Bronze Boot is awarded to the winner of The Border War. The game pits Colorado State vs. Wyoming.

Duke vs. North Carolina

The Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels play each year for The Victory Bell. The question is, does anybody really care? These are basketball schools and everybody knows it.

Houston vs. Rice

The Houston Cougars and Rice Owls play an annual rivalry game with the winner receiving The Bayou Bucket.

Cincinnati vs. Louisville

Cincinnati and Louisville engage in an annual battle for the Keg of Nails.

Illinois vs. Northwestern

The Illinois Fighting Illini and the Northwestern Wildcats play annually for The Sweet Sioux Tomahawk. The teams originally played for a carved wooden Indian. The tomahawk eventually replaced the Indian because it is easier to transport from school to school.

Indiana vs. Michigan State

The Indiana Hoosier and Michigan State Spartans play an annual rivalry game with the winner taking home The Old Brass Spittoon.

Iowa State vs. Missouri

The Iowa State Cyclones and the Missouri Tigers play a rivalry game with the winner receiving The Telephone Trophy.

The Border Showdown - Kansas vs. Missouri

The Border Showdown is a series of athletic events contested by the Kansas Jayhawks and the Missouri Tigers. In the case of the Border Showdown rivalry football game, the winner gets The Indian War Drum. The drum features a picture of a Jayhawk on one side and the Missouri Tiger logo on the other side. The Kansas vs. Missouri rivalry is the 2nd oldest rivalry in Division I.

Battle for the Bell - Marshall vs. Ohio

Marshall and Ohio University play an annual rivalry game for The Bell.

Missouri vs. Nebraska

The Missouri-Nebraska game is played for the appropriately named Missouri-Nebraska Bell.

The Battle of I-25 - New Mexico vs. New Mexico State

The Battle of I-25 features New Mexico against New Mexico State. Although these aren't very prominent college football games, their rivalry is one of the oldest on record. The teams play for the Maloof Trophy.

The Battle of I-10 - New Mexico State vs. UTEP (Texas El Paso)

UTEP and New Mexico State have origins as agricultural and mining schools. It is only natural that they play for a mining implement, The Silver Spade. A second trophy, The Brass Spittoon was added in later years.

TCU (Texas Christian) vs. SMU (Southern Methodist)

TCU and SMU play an annual game in which the winner receives The Iron Skillet.

Syracuse vs. West Virginia

Syracuse and West Virginia play their annual rivalry game in pursuit of the Schwartzwalder Trophy.

Air Force vs. Colorado State

This in-state rivalry game between the United States Air Force Academy and the Colorado State Rams pits two fairly solid programs against each other.

Boise State vs. Idaho

This series used to be a lot more meaningful. Over the past several years, the Boise State Broncos have become a Top 20 team while Idaho has floundered near the bottom of the Division I rankings.

Cincinnati vs. Miami (OH)

The winner of the rivalry game between Cincinnati and Miami of Ohio receive The Victory Bell.

The Battle for Nevada - Nevada vs. UNLV

The Nevada (Reno) Wolfpack and the UNLV Runnin' Rebels play each year in the Battle for Nevada. The game's trophy is The Fremont Cannon. The school that wins the cannon also gets to paint the cannon's cart in their school's colors.

Fresno State vs. San Jose State

This in-state rivalry game features teams with very close proximity to one another. In fact, this came could easily be called the Battle of the San Joaquin Valley.

Find Out About the Best College Football Rivalries

  • College Football Rivalries - Main page for college football rivalries
  • College Football's Very Best Rivalries - Some college football rivalries stand above the rest. Our top rivalry games include a mix of in-state and interstate college football rivalries. Their common theme is that the teams and schools hate each other.
  • College Football's Next Best Rivalries - Some rivalries seem to always generate a great game and have lots of history, but lack the pure hatred of the opponent necessary to make the top of our rivalry list. These rivalries involve great teams and great schools.
  • College Football's Best In-State Rivalries - In-state college rivalry games sometimes involve a trophy, but always involve bragging rights. State rivalry games are wonderful in that they are both entertaining and important even if one team, or both teams, is having poor seasons. State rivalry games also have great names like the Apple Cup and Civil War.
  • College Football's Best Interstate Rivalries - Interstate rivalries are part of what makes college football such a great sport. Our great interstate college football rivalries include Notre Dame-USC and Boston College-Notre Dame.
  • Lesser Known College Football Rivalries - Every college football rivalry game has an interest to some fans, even if it is only to the fans of the school involved in the rivalry game. Just because a rivalry game does not capture national attention, doesn't mean that it can't be a great game.

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