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Feb
08
2014

The best and worst rivalries of the post-realignment era.

DukeSyracuse

One of the most disappointing parts of the realignment era (2010-2012) was the loss of some great traditional rivalries. There would be no more Texas vs Texas A&M football games, no more Oklahoma vs Nebraska football games, Syracuse and Georgetown would never play basketball again as conference rivals. So it went with conference realignment. With time new rivalries will form, so let see which ones are the best of the bunch.

Instant Rivalry

Syracuse vs Duke (ACC Basketball)

Something about this rivalry just so seems so natural. They first time they played as conference rivals, it was classic 91-89 OT game in front of over 35,000 fans in the Carrier Dome. The game had monster TV ratings and featured two Hall of Fame coaches in Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski. The rematch in Cameron on February 22 is already must see TC.

Alabama vs Texas A&M (SEC Football)

When Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M went into Tuscaloosa in 2012 and beat the Crimson Tide a Rivalry was born. That led to the 2013 being one of the most anticipated games of the 2013 season. Nearly 88,000 saw Alabama win 49-42 in College Station in a great game. This game is now marked on all calenders.

Potentially Great Rivalry

Louisville vs North Carolina (ACC Basketball)

They have yet to play, but when Louisville joins this will be the answer to Syracuse and Duke. Traditionally great basketball programs with more of a Southern feel. I like what this rivalry could be.

LSU vs Texas A&M (SEC Football)

Louisiana State and Texas A&M have met 52 times, recruit the same areas, and it’s a border war. This can really develop into a great rivalry again. Prior to 2011 they hadn’t playing since 1995, and now LSU has won 3 games in a row including a 34-10 blowout last year.

Rivalries that have a chance 

Nebraska vs Iowa (Big 10 Football)

Nebraska still doesn’t feel like a Big 10 team to me, maybe it’s because they just don’t seem to have developed any great rivalries. I’m big on rivalries built on geography and Nebraska Iowa has a chance to be a good one. The Big 10 has placed this game on Black Friday with hopes it can gain an identity.

Rivalries that almost started

Pittsburgh vs Maryland (ACC Basketball)

This could have been a great basketball rivalry. Bordering states with solid basketball traditions. This rivalry had real potential until Maryland pulled the plug and headed to the Big 10.

TCU vs Boise St. (Big East Football)

Before the Big East completely fell apart, we were mere months from the two of the better non-BCS football power being in same conference. These two likely would have been football powers in the Big East. Had the Big East survived they could have been part of a pretty legit football conference with Louisville and Central Florida.

Programs out of luck when it comes to Rivalries

West Virginia  (Big 12)

oh the poor Mountaineers… Yes they had to take option to join the Big 12. I understand that, but they have to no natural rival in the Big 12. They have little history with the majority of the Big 12 and there’s no geographic connection. They are on an island hundreds of miles away from their nearest conference partners.

Colorado  and Utah (Pac 12)

Nothing against Colorado and Utah, but let me ask you this. If your not a Pac 12 fan, how many games have you watched of either team? Utah beat Stanford this past year, but other than that it’s really not that interesting. The Arizona schools are rivals, UCLA\USC, Cal\Stanford, Oregon\Oregon St, Washington\Washington St and Utah\Colorado? Zzzzz…

All three programs are currently suffering from mediocre athletics as well. You definitely can’t start compelling rivalries in new conferences if your athletics are middling. There’s no buzz no interest.

 

 


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