Riveting rivalries abound

Oct 202004
Authors: Stephanie Lindberg

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.

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