With the addition of Nebraska to the Big Ten, everyone seems to have their opinion as to who should be their "rival". This ranges from Bret B. texting from Wisconsin, trying to get an inside track to playing the last game against the Huskers because of the Alvarez factor. Others are saying Iowa and Nebraska will play "Farmageddon" because of their joint borders. Still others think the 1982 & 1994 seasons are enough to make Nebraska and Penn State boil over as a rival and THEN you have all those other different "rivalries" that define the Big Ten.
But really, what makes a great rivalry?
Despite what everyone seems to be trying to will to be, rivalries are sort of like a weed in your garden. Nobody planted a seed, nobody tried to make it happen, it just sprouted because of the right conditions and suddenly it was there and nearly impossible to stop and just keeps pissing everyone off. No matter how many times you jerk it out of the ground. It just keeps rearing its ugly head and comes back. No one can "will" it to happen. The Penn State / Michigan State game over the Land Grant Trophy is a perfect example of someone trying to will it to happen and it just doesn't.
(I personally think that within the Big Ten, PSU has stronger rivalries with Iowa, Ohio State, Michigan and maybe even Nebraska, though the frequency of games has been sporadic at best. These rivalries just evolved.)
So what makes a great rivalry?
To me, proximity is a significant factor, take Michigan State and Michigan, almost next door to each other, Indiana & Purdue, Penn State & Pitt (currently in slumber, but with fans that keep fanning the flames) and even Michigan & Ohio State are close geographically.
Another serious factor is the history the schools have against each other and how that history has evolved and impacted the seasons of potentially great teams. How many of you can think back on a great team that was an overwhelming favorite to beat another only to have their season dreams ruined in one game. The best examples of this to me are the 2005 Michigan / Penn State game, The 2008 Iowa / Penn State game and maybe even the 2009 Iowa / Penn State game.
The advent of the internet and all the off season news and recruiting activity is great for rivalries by keeping the heat on between fans. On any given night, at any particular team blog site, you can find opposing fans writing commentary that just raises the hackles between each other. Fan interaction, aka arguing, has long been a source of friction between fans, the internet only makes it easier and the anonymity of it all makes fans more vocal and pointed.
So tell me what YOU think makes a great rivalry?
100 votes total
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