Rivalries are the basis of competitive sports. One team wins and
the other team wants to win and will count down the days until the
next match and a chance for vindication. Many things contribute to
what makes a rivalry great, including the fans, proximity of the
two teams, great teams against other great teams, and a
long-standing tradition of playing. There are hundreds of rivalries
in the sports world, but here are the top five taken from an
informal survey of CSU students.
No. 1 — Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees
One of the oldest and most storied rivalries in American sports
history. The teams have played since the early 1900s, but the
Yankees have taken the cake and the Red Sox have been left to the
crumbs the last few years. The Yanks have won four World Series
championships in six chances since 1995. The Red Sox have not won a
championship since 1918 and have placed second behind New York the
last seven years.
Why it’s hot: The fans and the ‘Why not us?’ factor.
“More so because the fans,” said Justin Arnoldy, a senior at
CSU. “The fans get involved and make it a rivalry.” The two teams
are playing again this year to decide who goes to the series and
who goes home.
No. 2 Detroit Red Wings and Colorado Avalanche
The hits are harder and more frequent whenever these two teams
play. The Wings and Avalanche are perennial playoff teams and the
fans all crowd around the ice to watch. It’s always a tight race
for the two teams to be No. 1 in the NHL. One team uses the other
as a measuring stick of its season.
Why it’s hot: It’s one great franchise versus another great
franchise, and while the heat on the ice is great, again it’s the
fans that make it better.
“It will feel like a playoff game,” said Avs defenseman Rob
Blake to The Rocky Mountain News before a game last year. “The fans
make that atmosphere when you skate out there.”
No. 3 CSU and the University of Colorado
If you enter a CSU vs. CU game, you can smell the rivalry. The
players want to win, the fans want to win and the state wants to
watch. Black and gold versus green and gold is one of the best
college rivalries. It pits two in-state teams that want the right
to say they are the best in the state. It regularly sold out a pro
football-sized stadium in Denver before it moved back to Boulder
this year. Even after the game, both teams want to see the other
Why it’s hot: Every year it is billed as the top game on both
schedules and in-state rivalries always equal hard-fought
No. 4 Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders
Raider-haters abound in Colorado and it’s not a surprise that
two of the top teams in the West take it personally when they lose.
Denver head coach Mike Shanahan (who was fired after 20 games with
the Raiders) has made no secret of the fact that he wants to beat
the Raiders, and he has made a pretty good job of ruining the
Raiders’ hopes of winning. Shanahan is 14-4 against the Raiders,
and even though the Broncos schooled the Raiders Sunday, the heat
and the hate are still there.
Why it’s hot: Shanahan versus his old team, The Black Hole, and
a long-lived hate-hate relationship.
No. 5 Texas and Oklahoma
They may not play in the same state, but they hate each other
just the same. This rivalry was ranked No. 1 on an ESPN Radio Web
site poll Friday.
“Every year there’s trash talking all week,” said Texas native
and CSU graduate student Lee Ann Perry. “You get exposed to all the
fans so that’s what makes it fun.”
The trash talking was in full force when the two teams played in
Dallas on Oct. 9. The Longhorns had lost to OU four straight times
going into Saturday and the ‘Horns were ready for a victory. Texas
lost again 12-0. Another sore subject for the Longhorns is that the
Sooners heavily recruit Texas prospects, including last year’s top
two: running back Adrian Peterson (who ran for 225 yards against
Texas) and quarterback Rhett Bomar.
Why it’s hot: There are 52 Texans on OU’s roster, so in effect
Texas is the thorn in the Longhorns’ side. It’s an inter-state
rival wannabe and everyone takes a side.
There are many other rivalries out there, but sports fans are
usually guaranteed a good game from any of these five matchups. Win
or lose, the next match is on everyone’s mind.