America's most famous feud, the schism between the Hatfield and the McCoy families lasted nearly thirty years, ending in 1891. Two years later, Alabama and Auburn first faced off in a game of football.
Coincidence? Definitely. Yet, for many, the animosity on each side of the annual game -- dubbed the "Iron Bowl" -- is as bone deep as anything between those Hatfields and McCoys. Of course, don't tell fans of either Ohio State and Michigan that their own rivalry isn't the fiercest in the land.
The Game. The Iron Bowl. The Red River Shootout. The top rivalries in college football have been so intensely contested for so long that they become engrained in the culture -- and earned plenty of nicknames.
No matter the records of each team, the annual battle between rivals is always the most important game of the year. It's the game everyone circles on the calendar months before the season. Even if Notre Dame happened to have a losing record (which they certainly don't this season), the season would still be salvaged with a win over USC. At 3-8, the 2012 Auburn Tigers won't be playing in a bowl game this season. But that won't not matter a bit to Tigers fans if their team takes down Alabama in the Iron Bowl. Provincial bragging rights and BCS schadenfreude will suffice.
Everything gets amplified. The season-ending rivalry games bring out the most passion out of the fans. The bad blood between the two sides doesn't just resonate with the players and students. It goes far beyond that. It sticks with alumni over generations. And as we approach the end to the regular season, it's time to vote on which is the best college football rivalry?
How does Ohio State-Michigan rate against Alabama-Auburn? And, what about Army-Navy, which has been around longer than both? Or Stanford vs. Cal which produced one of the most iconic, dramatic finishes in college football history? Fittingly, the road to the BCS national championship game goes through many of these story rivalries.
Here are eight of the top college football rivalries. Which is the fiercest? That's up to you. Tell us who you voted for, and who we forgot, in the comments below. We limited the bracket so that one team cannot show up twice In other words, the inclusion of Florida-Florida State (very relevant this weekend) means that Florida State-Miami didn't make the 2012 bracket.
Round 1 voting runs through midnight, Thursday, November 22.
Round 2 voting runs through noon, Saturday, Aug. 11.
The final round voting will run through noon, Sunday, Aug. 12.