SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports’ Paul Myerberg breaks down the hottest college football headlines for Week 13.
USA TODAY Sports
Each week during the season, the USA TODAY Sports college staff (Paul Myerberg, Lindsay Schnell, George Schroeder, Erick Smith, Eddie Timanus and Dan Wolken) will provide their answers to an intriguing question from college football. This week:
What is college football’s best rivarly?
For some reason, there really is no single greatest rivalry in college football. There’s no Duke-North Carolina. A lot of it is about what happens within the context of a season or era. The last few years, Florida State-Clemson has been the most impactful rivalry. Before that, it was Alabama-LSU. And obviously the Florida-Tennessee days have come and gone. But none of those important rivalries are steeped in history.
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So for that reason, I’ll take Army-Navy as the greatest rivalry for all the obvious reasons. It’s a game everybody watches and everybody enjoys for the unique pageantry and what it means for the armed services. The athletes in that game are unique in their commitment to country, their sacrifice and their potential beyond football. It’s just a special thing that has endured, even as the service academies no longer compete for national championships like they did in the 1940s and 50s. In a day and age where we all bemoan the commercialization of college sports and roll our eyes at the notion of amateurism, Army-Navy is as close to purity as we can get.
It has to be the Iron Bowl, partially because the Kick Six is so iconic. There’s no job more pressure-backed than Auburn, and it’s because of the large shadow cast by Nick Saban. This dynamic makes it interesting every year. Also, if you beat Alabama, you’re thought to be on an upward trajectory, and that’s an interesting story line to follow into bowl season, the offseason and ultimately, the next season. What other rivalry has that many implications?
There’s no more heated rivalry and no better venue in…