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In a conference full of great rivalries, which one is the SEC’s best?

The SEC’s new scheduling policy was designed in part with a goal of keeping traditional rivalries thriving for years to come. The cross-division rivalries in the SEC more important to some than others of course, but Tennessee head coach Butch Jones is happy to see the rivalry with Alabama will continue. Alabama and Tennessee were locked together, keeping the series dating back to 1901 a part of the SEC tradition. Say what you will about the Iron Bowl, because Jones says it is Alabama-Tennessee that is the best rivalry in the SEC.

“I think the Alabama-Tennessee rivalry is one of the best rivalries in the country, and I think it’s the best rivalry in the Southeastern Conference,” Jones said in an interview on 105.1 The Zone in Chattanooga on Monday. “To be able to maintain that rivalry is something that we are very excited about.”

The other cross-division match-ups set by the SEC are Arkansas-Missouri, Auburn-Georgia, LSU-Florida, Ole Miss-Vanderbilt, Mississippi State-Kentucky, and Texas A&M-South Carolina. Of the cross-division match-ups protected by the SEC, the Alabama vs. Tennessee and Auburn vs. Georgia match-ups are certainly ahead of some of the other pairings, specifically Texas A&M vs. South Carolina. But is the Third Saturday in October that far ahead of the rivalry games between Alabama and Auburn or Florida and Georgia? As with most college football issues, this probably depends on your rooting interests.

So, what is the best rivalry in the SEC? Here is my top five to get you started…

1. Iron Bowl: Alabama vs. Auburn

Last year was great, but this rivalry has offered plenty of great moments in college football history and is fueled by some of the strongest rooting interests in the country all within one state’s borders. This really is the biggest game of the year in the state for a reason.

2. Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry: Auburn vs. Georgia

There is something to be said for the deep history in this one. After 117 meetings, Auburn leads the series 55-54-8 dating back to 1892.

3. Florida-Georgia Football Rivalry

The rivalry may have moved away from the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, but no worries here. This game is played on a neutral field and has its own Hall of Fame. The two schools cannot even agree on when the series started. A stake in the SEC East also tends to be on the line more often than not.

4. Third Saturday in October: Alabama vs. Tennessee

The series tends to swing back and forth in chunks but it started with a tie in 1901. Here’s hoping Tennessee can get closer to making this series mean something again soon, and perhaps serve as a preview of a future SEC Championship Game.

5. Egg Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State

The two teams may not be SEC powers, but they play for one of the coolest trophies in college football. The game has become a Thanksgiving tradition over time, and there is just something about it that feels right.

Helmet sticker to Times Free Press for the transcribed quotes. Another helmet sticker to Saturday Down South.

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18 Responses to “In a conference full of great rivalries, which one is the SEC’s best?”
  1. woebegong says: Apr 29, 2014 4:05 PM

    Auburn-UGA is a long and storied rivalry and as indicated by the record, it is a very evenly matched series over the course of it’s history. With the 8 game conference schedule, it is always possible for this game to be played. With a 9 game inter-conference schedule in the SEC, it would be hard to schedule it every year. Some traditions are worth keeping.

  2. 1990tiger says: Apr 29, 2014 4:06 PM

    Iron Bowl is #1 hands down.

  3. auburntigers34 says: Apr 29, 2014 4:07 PM

    Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry

  4. mydixienormus says: Apr 29, 2014 4:13 PM

    What about when the powerhouse teams meet like Vandy and Kentucky?

    Don’t forget about Arkansas and Tennessee? We are on the edges of our seats when these two teams from the best conference in football collide.

  5. dhardy8207 says: Apr 29, 2014 4:20 PM

    Iron Bowl definitely # 1…..

    Roll Tide!

  6. pawloosa says: Apr 29, 2014 4:48 PM

    Yawn!!

  7. davefromwork says: Apr 29, 2014 5:15 PM

    As long as their fans continue to cheer for their “rivals” anytime one of them is in the title game, I can’t personally respect those rivalries as being on par with the greatest in sports.

    I can’t imagine a UNC fan rooting for Duke in a title game ‘becuase they’re in the ACC’, or insert any other notable rivalry.

    So when I hear Florida fans, who for me are the local SEC team, rooting for supposed rivals to win national titles, I just can’t bring myself to respect any such “rivalry”

  8. auburntigers34 says: Apr 29, 2014 5:41 PM

    davefromwork says:
    Apr 29, 2014 5:15 PM

    Yeah, heaven forbid that other conferences pull for whoever might be playing an SEC team any given week. Surely, that never happens……especially in bowl games.

    The people that act like this only happens with the SEC are morons, hypocrits, and liars.

  9. irishdodger says: Apr 29, 2014 6:06 PM

    @auburntigers34:

    No they’re not. Ask an Ohio St fan if he roots for that team up North b/c of conference allegiance. Same goes w/ Duke vs UNC or USC vs UCLA or OU vs TX or WSU vs UW. Do Red Sox fans root for the Yankees if they play in the WS b/c they’re both members of the AL East? Hell, no. If Bama wins a NC, the other SEC teams don’t get a NC banner or ring despite their 4-8 record. The reason other fans look down on rooting for a conference it it reeks of an inferiority complex for SEC teams who had a crappy year and need something to live for. Had Auburn won the NC last season, Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee, Vandy, Kentucky, Ole Miss, & MSU still had crappy years (Sorry Vancy…start beating teams w/ a winning record & we’ll talk).

  10. thefiesty1 says: Apr 29, 2014 6:21 PM

    I attended a game at LSU against Georgia a number of years ago. Pretty intense. Would be good to see that rivalry renewed.

  11. auburntigers34 says: Apr 29, 2014 6:56 PM

    There’s always exceptions. I wouldn’t have been pulling for bama(and never pull for UGA) in their bowl game, if it wasn’t for the comments made by Stoops in the preseason. But all credit goes to Stoops for backing it up on the field. It wasn’t even a game.

    On a side note, nothing would make me happier than to see Miss State and Arkansas lose every single game while Mullen and Bielema are their HCs.

    Everyone wants their conference to represent itself well when bowl season rolls around, but that doesn’t mean that there can’t be exceptions included.

  12. be4bama says: Apr 29, 2014 8:21 PM

    IRON BOWL
    ROLL TIDE ROLL

  13. jman2020 says: Apr 29, 2014 8:55 PM

    I kinda enjoyed watchin Bama and Ga goin at it a few yrs ago just sayin

  14. amosalanzostagg says: Apr 29, 2014 10:52 PM

    Any SEC football game is a great rivalry.

    RTR

  15. davefromwork says: Apr 30, 2014 9:25 AM

    Auburntigers34, I don’t disagree with you. I see it from time to time in other conferences, but nowhere near as frequently as in the SEC. For example, I can’t think of another conference, not just recently but ever, that has fans who chant the conference name at games. That type of fan exists in the SEC far more than any other conference/league in all of sports.

    I can tell you, as for myself, I’m a fan of Miami. As much as I’ve been annoyed by SEC fans, as much as I knew I’d be hearing about it from UF fans for the next 12 months, I rooted for your boys like you wouldn’t believe in that game against FSU.

    I will absolutely never root for FSU to win a single football game from now until the end of time. In 2000, when an FSU win over OU was going to give Miami a legit shot at a split national title, I couldn’t do it. There’s no scenario where I can root for them, there just isn’t.

  16. outlaw53 says: Apr 30, 2014 9:34 AM

    Wow….LSU-Florida is not even mentioned in the top five….and Mike Slive is convinced that it is the strongest rivalry in the SEC ( a “vintage” rivalry…he is quoted as saying ). All that proves is that in the SEC the Western Division opponents should focus on their own and the Eastern Division should play theirs…and the best of each division should meet each other in the SEC Championship game.

  17. auburntigers34 says: Apr 30, 2014 10:29 AM

    davefromwork says:
    Apr 30, 2014 9:25 AM

    I couldn’t agree more that the SEC chant is really lame. Thanks for pulling for Auburn against FSU.

  18. Deb says: Apr 30, 2014 12:27 PM

    Iron Bowl, hands down.

    But that’s me as an Alabama/SEC fan. However, I also enjoy the USC/Notre Dame rivalry, the Florida/Florida State rivalry, and several others that aren’t SEC-centric. For SEC fans, it’s an SEC World. But that’s only for SEC fans.

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