November 20, 2021
As Rivalry Week approaches, look inside some of the most beloved traditions between rival schools.
Few things match the excitement of a college football rivalry. The on-field action is great, but the pageantry extends to the stands, from chants to outfits to quirky rituals. Though deep-seated rivalries can cause strong division, many rival schools have made efforts to come together off the field through joint fundraising drives or volunteering in their state. Watch how two rival high schools showed their community the power of connection at the halftime show of their biggest game of the year as Cox presents Band Together.
With NCAA Rivalry Week kicking off just after Thanksgiving, here's a look at five of college football's most impressive rivalries — and the time-honored traditions that go along with them. To watch any of these games or catch up with your favorite team, just say the team name into your Contour Voice Remote.
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Michigan Wolverines: The Game
Saturday, Nov. 27 at 12:00 PM ET
All-Time: Michigan leads 58-51-6
On Ohio State's campus, the letter M is forbidden throughout Rivalry Week. The Buckeyes' marching band shines on TV with its cursive “Ohio" formation, while winning teams receive a pair of gold pants for defeating the Wolverines.
However, Michigan leads the all-time series and has a winning record in another showdown: the Ohio State-Michigan Blood Battle, in which the schools compete to see who can donate the most blood.
University of Florida Gators vs. Florida State Seminoles: The Sunshine Showdown
Saturday, Nov. 27 at 12:00 PM ET
All-Time: Florida leads 36-26-2
These two Florida schools first met in 1958, with the first six games taking place in Gainesville until Florida State expanded the size of its stadium. Although the Gators dominated the rivalry early, the Seminoles are 24-21-1 since the Bobby Bowden era began in 1976. No matter who's winning, you'll witness plenty of Tomahawk Chops and Gator Chomps — both sincere and mocking.
While Florida State's Chief Osceola riding in on Renegade has been a game day staple for over 40 years, one of the Florida Gators' best traditions started before this rivalry even existed. Mr. 2 Bits was created as a way to support the team even when they struggled: “Two bits. Four bits. Six bits. A dollar. All for the Gators, stand up and holler!"
Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Auburn Tigers: The Iron Bowl
Saturday, Nov. 27 at 3:30 PM ET
All-Time: Alabama leads 47-37-1
Going way back to 1893, this rivalry more recently played host to one of the most memorable plays in college football history: the Kick Six in 2013, when Auburn's Chris Davis returned a game-winning missed field goal with no time left.
Bragging rights extend into basketball season — the losing school presents the Foy-ODK Sportsmanship Trophy to the winner at halftime of the their men's basketball game that's held in the winning team's arena. The loser also must sing the winning school's fight song.
Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Virginia Cavaliers: The Commonwealth Clash
Saturday, Nov. 27 at 3:45 PM ET
All-Time: Virginia Tech leads 59-38-5
The Hokies have won 19 of 21 rivalry games this century, which is enough to make any Virginia fan sad. But that doesn't sway the Cavalier faithful — they continue to lock arms and rock back and forth while belting out “Wah-hoo-wa" during “The Good Ol' Song." After impressive milestones, the Cavaliers break a rock to signify smashing through their goal.
In return, you'll hear Virginia Tech fans “give a Hokie, Hokie, Hokie, Hy!" as part of their “Tech Triumph" fight song.
You may even spot the team's lunch pail, symbolizing its "blue-collar" approach to defense crafted by assistant head coach and defensive coordinator Bud Foster. (The latter's Lunch Pail Defense Foundation also offers scholarships for high school students from the New River and Roanoke valleys and provides assistance to families of patients awaiting organ transplants.)
Just don't try to guess the identity of the mascot until graduation — anyone playing the role of HokieBird keeps hush until commencement, then wears the iconic mascot's feet while walking across the stage.
Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Iowa Hawkeyes: The Heroes Game
Friday, Nov. 26 at 1:30 PM ET
All-Time: Nebraska leads 29-19-3
Nebraska leads its chief rival all-time, but Iowa is on a tear recently, winning six in a row and seven of the last eight. This game is traditionally played on Black Friday, but you won't find anyone too tired from a Thanksgiving feast — there's plenty of energy in the stands.
Who doesn't feel their heart pounding with excitement as “Sirius" plays during the Nebraska Tunnel Walk? Or maybe you prefer the impressive sight of the balloon release after the first Cornhusker touchdown.
On the other sideline, the Hawkeyes lock arms and “swarm" onto the field. At the end of the first quarter, fans turn and wave to patients watching from the nearby UI Stead Family Children's Hospital.