There are rivalries, there are bitter rivalries, and there are SEC rivalries. While the SEC is by far and away the nation’s best conference, its rivalries are on another level. Given how special and meaningful they are to the game itself, here is an in depth look and analysis of the SEC’s top 5 rivalries.
Honorable Mention -
Ole Miss — LSU
Auburn — Georgia
LSU — Texas A&M
Florida — South Carolina
#1 - Alabama—Auburn (The Iron Bowl)
As it pertains to how these two feel about one another, arch-rival is an understatement. While Bama has been atop the SEC and controlled this rivalry in recent memory, Auburn has defeated the Crimson Tide in style. Remember the “Kick Six”? the “Camback?” and last season? Bama may have more championships, but the Tigers know how to put on a show.
Time and time again, the college football world is on notice. Plus, do we even need to count the number of times Gameday has covered this marquee matchup? In state and just three hours apart, the whole state knows what time it is when that certain Saturday hits.
In addition, Jordan Hare and Bryant-Denny are some of the loudest, rowdiest, and further intimidating environments. Moreover, let us pay homage to two of the most loyal fanbases in college football. From Role Tide to War Eagle, tradition is on full display. The Iron Bowl is everything advertised, as it never fails to impress, year after year.
#2 - Florida—Georgia
Have you ever been to Jacksonville? Have you heard of “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party”? Though the flavors may taste great to start, the bitterness with a touch of spice will kick in come game time. When you think about the SEC East, two teams come to mind, the Gators and the Dawgs, and for great reason, as these two leave it all on the field.
Out of state and in a neutral location, this is a college rivalry at its finest. Given that both are away from home, all the distaste heads to Jacksonville. Be it that both teams have a great following, fans migrate and fill TIAA Bank Field to capacity.
This is not just any rivalry, it’s a day full of flat out competition on and off the field. Even if the record is subpar, both do their best to show up in Jacksonville. The teams, the fans, the food, the music, Florida and Georgia have this marked on the calendar from day one.
#3 - Mississippi State — Ole Miss (The Egg Bowl)
Well well well, here we are. The Egg Bowl is a flat out war. Whether it be at Davis Wade or Vaught-Hemingway, the Bulldogs and Rebels are eager to jump out of the gate and throw down. Especially in recent years, the Egg Bowl has showed out.
Each stadium is filled and rocking. The opposing fanbase has no fear and will be cheering louder than ever. Whether it be that infamous Hotty Toddy chant or those ringing cowbells, the Egg Bowl is a pure spectacle. Make no mistake that this fall’s encounter will be better than ever.
From the one of a kind tailgates at the Grove to Bully leading Maroon and White faithful on a Cowbell beat to “Don’t Stop Believin”, you’ve got to love every bit. Both teams have tremendous promise heading into this season, as Mississippi State and Ole Miss are sure to be at their best. Only 95.6 miles and under two hours away from one another, (closer than Bama and Auburn), the state of Mississippi will be licking its chops this Thanksgiving on Thursday November 22nd.
#4 - Florida — Tennessee
Another SEC East battle. Aside from the fact that both have produced sensational talent at the next level, (Emmitt Smith, Peyton Manning), Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and Neyland Stadium are at their finest. From Vol orange vs Gator blue to Rocky Top vs the Gator Chomp, Florida and Tennessee are two environments that are must see. The Vols and Gators have been at it for years, and the rivalry is only getting better.
History is king and the fans are there no matter what. Both programs have struggled as of late, but are always up for a date with one another. The two are on their way back, as it is great for the game when the Vols and Gators are relevant.
While these arch-rivals may not like one another, they know deep in their hearts that this rivalry must be rivived. “It’s great to be a...” take your pick, but that is what you will hear over and over and over again. By the way... remember last year’s finish?
#5 - Alabama — LSU
Don’t you worry Tiger fans, you’re on the list. There’s really not a whole lot to say about this other than the talent brought it. These programs recruit the cream of the crop, hence the rivalry exceeding expectations. While the Tide continue to rule the West, LSU is not afraid will always accept the challenge.
That said, comparable to Ole Miss’ tailgates, nobody should turn anything down in Baton Rouge. Furthermore, Tiger Stadium is the best place on earth to watch a football game on the college or pro level, as it is scary for opposing teams and and absolute madhouse. But Bama has hoisted more trophies and remain a powerhouse. They know who they are and take it to the Tigers.
But we are not talking about winning, we are talking about rivalries, as LSU and Bama welcome each other with open arms. You can talk about Nick Saban, the recruiting battles, and a whole lot more. The Tigers and the Tide love themselves a bright Saturday night, only to go head to head on the primetime stage.
The SEC is a special conference and a gem. A college football rivalry is one of a kind and Saturdays of this caliber are ones every fan should take note of. As it pertains to Mississippi State, the Egg Bowl is second for a reason. While it may not be the Iron Bowl, the Bulldogs and Rebels are always ready, willing, and able.
Get ready and buckle up for the Fall, as the maroon and white will be in full effect. Look for a statement to be made by the Bulldogs, as this rivalry on Thanksgiving will take a whole new turn for the better. Buckle up because this year’s Egg Bowl will have you on the edge of your seat.