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The best in-state rivalries in college football

by Berry Tramel Published: November 23, 2012


Series: Michigan leads 67-32-5

Name: Paul Bunyan Trophy

History: In 1973, Ohio State and Michigan tied for the Big Ten title. Conference athletic directors had to vote on which team to send to the Rose Bowl. Michigan State cast the deciding vote – and voted for the Buckeyes.

Conference ramifications: They never play for the Big Ten title, since their games always are in October or the first week of November, but three times the Wolverines and Spartans have finished 1-2 or 2-1 in the Big Ten, including ties for the title in 1978 and 1990.

National impact: 14 times both have finished ranked, including three times with both in the top 10 – 1950, 1956 and 1999.

Used to be…: Michigan State ruled the series. Under Biggie Munn and Duffy Daugherty the Spartans went 14-4-2 in the series from 1950-69.

This year: Michigan State, now 5-6, lost 12-10 at Michigan, now 8-3 and ranked 19th, back in October.


Series: Oregon leads 59-46-10.

Name: Civil War

History: They play for the Platypus Trophy. Both schools had long stretches of ineptitude, but the Ducks' surge in the 1990s caused the Beavers to improve, too.

Conference ramifications: The schools have been together in a league since 1916 but only three times have met for conference supremacy. Oregon State won in 1957 to tie for the Pac-8 with Oregon, Oregon State won in 2000 to forge a three-way tie with Oregon and Washington, and Oregon won in 2009 to avoid a Pac-10 tie with the Beavers.

National impact: Only thrice have both teams finished ranked, with 2000 the highlight – Oregon No. 7, Oregon State No. 4.

Used to be…: One of America's worst games. From 1972 through 1993, 12 times both teams finished seventh or worse in the Pac-8/10.

This year: Fifth-ranked Oregon plays at No. 15 Oregon State on Saturday, with the Pac-12 North still up for grabs.


Series: Georgia leads 62-39-5

Name: Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate

History: Tech's Bobby Dodd won 11 times in 15 years (1949-63), but Vince Dooley arrived in 1964 and put a stop to that.

Conference ramifications: Both charter members of the SEC (1933), but Tech left after 1963. Georgia beat Tech 42-0 for 1942 SEC title.

National impact: Nine times both have finished ranked in the polls, but only in 1942 and 1966 were both top-10.

Used to be…: One of the South's biggest games. The rise of Florida and Florida State have knocked Georgia Tech-Georgia down a bit.

This year: No. 3-ranked Georgia, 10-1, hosts 6-5 Georgia Tech on Saturday.


Series: Ole Miss leads 58-44-6

Name: Egg Bowl

History: The series was played in Jackson, the state capital, from 1973-90.

Conference ramifications: The Egg Bowlers have shared a conference since 1899 but have met only once for the title – Mississippi State won 6-0 in 1941 to win the SEC.

National impact: Five times both have finished ranked, though never both in the top 10.

Used to be…: Ole Miss coach Johnny Vaught was the king. In 25 games against the Bulldogs, 1947-73, he lost twice.

This year: Mississippi State, 8-3, plays at 5-6 Ole Miss on Saturday.


Series: Arizona leads 47-37-1.

Name: Territorial Cup

History: ‘Zona dominated, winning 20 of the first 22 games, from 1899-1948. A 67-0 thrashing in 1946 prompted ASU officials to form the Sun Angel Foundation as a way to embolden the program.

Conference ramifications: From 1964-77, the schools won or shared eight of the 14 WAC titles. But then they jumped to the Pac-10 and have made little dent. ASU won the Pac-10 in 1986 and 1996; Arizona tied for the title in 1993 and ASU did the same in 2007.

National impact: Only twice have both finished ranked in the polls, 1975 and 1986.

Used to be…: Frank Kush owned the series. His Sun Devils went 13-1 from 1965-78.

This year: 7-4 Arizona hosts 6-5 Arizona State on Friday.


Series: Utah leads 52-31-4

Name: Holy War

History: The series began in 1922. Through 1957, there had been 33 meetings, and BYU had won just once.

Conference ramifications: The Utes and Cougars shared a conference from 1922-2010 but never played for the league title. They finished 1-2 (Utah ahead) four times between 1932 and 1957, then twice in the old WAC (BYU ahead) in the 1970s. They tied for titles in 1995 and 1999.

National impact: Three times both have finished ranked, but never both in the top 10.

Used to be…: BYU's Lavell Edwards owned the series. He arrived in 1972 and went 19-2 his first 21 games against Utah.

This year: Utah, now 4-7, won at home against BYU 24-21 on Sept. 15. The Cougars are 6-5.

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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