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Jack Freifelder | | February 9, 2017

Duke-UNC, 12 other college sports rivalries you should know

  Duke guard Grayson Allen (3) made the game-winning free throw in a 74-73 win over UNC on Feb. 17, 2016.

Thursday will mark the 243rd meeting between Duke and North Carolina, a series that UNC leads 134-108. This is college basketball’s version of the Capulets and the Montagues: They may not know why they hate each other. They just know that's what they’re supposed to do.

While the Tar Heels and Blue Devils have given college basketball fans plenty to reminisce about through the years, it’s far from the only well-known feud in college sports.

Here are a few more.


Army - Navy

  Army QB Ahmad Bradshaw (17) helped lead his team to a win in the 117th meeting between Army and Navy.
The animosity and emotion in this series may go all the way back to the first meeting beween the schools in November 1890. There have been 117 total meetings since. Navy owns the edge in the all-time record (60-50-7), but Army holds the bragging rights after a 21-17 win on Dec. 10. This year’s win snapped a 14-game winning streak (2002-2015) for the Midshipmen. The Black Knights defend their win on Dec. 9.

Michigan - Ohio State

  RB Curtis Samuel (4) scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime of OSU's 30-27 win over Michigan.
One of the most storied rivalries in sports comes to fans courtesy of the Big Ten Conference. And if you mention the words “Big Ten” and “rivalry” in the same sentence, you’re likely talking about the Buckeyes and Wolverines. The two schools have lined up against one another a whopping 113 times, annually since 1918. Though Michigan leads the all-time series (58-48-6), Ohio State has five straight wins. This year’s game may have been the best of all, with the teams battling to a 30-27 finish in double overtime. It was the first time any meeting between OSU and Michigan went to overtime.


Kentucky - Louisville

No professional sports teams? That’s no problem for the Kentucky and Louisville faithful. The two schools, 80 or so miles apart, have been going at it for decades.

  Kentucky Wildcats guard Malik Monk (5) drives against Louisville's defense in the Wildcats' 73-70 loss.
The history of this rivalry goes back to the early 20th century, but things didn't really get going until a meeting in the 1983 NCAA tournament. As noted by’s Joseph Boozell in a February 2016 post, that game “generated so much interest that former governor John Y. Brown and the state legislature mandated that the schools play each other every year.” The rest is history, one that Kentucky leads 34-16. Louisville had the last laugh with a 73-70 win on Dec. 21. There’s always next year, though ... or the NCAA tournament, of course.

Women’s Basketball

UConn - Notre Dame

  Connecticut guard Katie Lou Samuelson (33) is part of the new crop that has dominated Notre Dame.
When it comes to rivalries in women’s basketball, it’s safe to assume that one side of the equation belongs to the Connecticut Huskies. The team is vying for its fifth straight NCAA tournament title and has made the majority of its wins during its current 98-game winning streak look easy.

To be fair, anyone running with Connecticut recently hasn't had much luck, but Notre Dame has had as good a chance as any. The two teams have met 46 times, a span that includes six NCAA tournament matchups and two NCAA title games. UConn holds a 35-11 advantage, but from April 2011 to March 2013 this rivalry was all Notre Dame. The Irish won seven of eight matchups in that span, including wins against UConn on three occasions during the 2012-13 season, before falling to the Huskies in the 2013 Final Four. The kicker: Notre Dame hasn’t beaten UConn since. Though the two schools linked up in the 2014 and 2015 title games, UConn proved to be too much to handle.

RELATEDThe Huskies' record 98-game win streak (and counting) by the numbers

Ice Hockey

Boston College - Boston University

  BU defeated No. 7 Boston College 3-1 to advance to the 2017 Beanpot Tournament Title Game.
Hockey fans in Boston likely tuned in to see this duel on Monday in the 65th annual Beanpot Tournament, a 3-1 win for the No. 3 ranked Terriers. The win pushed BU’s current win streak in the series to three games and bolstered the Terriers' lead in the Green Line Rivalry to 133-122-18. (The Green Line is a branch of the city's public transportation system that links the two schools.) Monday’s matchup runs the number of meetings in this love-hate relationship to 273. Since the two schools met in 1918 (the year BU began playing hockey) no other team has appeared more often on the other’s schedule.

Minnesota - North Dakota

Minnesota and North Dakota have linked up close to 300 times. Both meetings earlier this year -- the first regular-season meetings since 2013 -- ended in a tie. The last time the two schools met before that came in the semifinals of the 2014 Frozen Four, when a last-second goal from Minnesota lifted the Gophers into the championship game. (Minnesota would ultimately lose to Union in the title game.) The two teams link up again this week with a pair of games in Minnesota.

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RELATEDStoried rivalry returns for North Dakota, Minnesota


Texas - Nebraska

Each of these schools has won a national championship in the last five years. Nebraska has four (1995, 2000, 2006, 2015), while Texas has three (1981, 1988, 2012). They met in the final in 2015. The Cornhuskers won that year, but Texas took revenge by knocking out their rivals in the National Semifinal this year. The rivalry between the two schools goes back to October 1981 and has seen the two teams link up more than 50 times.

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RELATEDTexas shocks Nebraska to reach National Championship match 

Men’s Soccer

UCSB - Cal Poly

  UCSB and Cal Poly have played 71 times since 1967, with UCSB leading the all-time series 45-18-8.
If the Gauchos of UC Santa Barbara and Mustangs of California Polytechnic State meet on the pitch, there’s a lot more than just California pride on the line. The two schools have played 71 times since 1967, with UCSB leading the all-time series 45-18-8. The game has drawn upward of 11,000 fans for every match since October 2011. The Blue-Green Rivalry — as it is now colloquially known, since a rebranding effort in 2009 — has evolved from a meeting between the schools’ football teams in 1921 to include nearly all head-to-head competitions between the schools’ athletes. Men’s soccer has definitely been at the forefront. This year’s match ended in a scoreless stalemate.


Alabama - Oklahoma

  Alabama has seen its budding rivalry with the Oklahoma Sooners grow in the postseason.
When it comes to rivalries in softball, fans don’t need to look much further than Alabama and Oklahoma. The Sooners are the defending national champions, which always pumps a little life into the conversation. But Oklahoma and Alabama have been on a pseudo-collision course since making their Women’s College World Series debuts in 2000. Since then, the teams have met nearly a dozen times in the postseason. With three of the five national titles since 2012 going to these two schools (Alabama: 2012; Oklahoma: 2013, 2016), this could be a testy relationship for years to come.


South Carolina - Clemson

  Clemson leads the overall series, 174-136-2, and took two out of three from the Gamecocks in March.
Like most well-known rivalries in college sports, South Carolina and Clemson have a little added oomph due to the in-state nature of the affair. Clemson leads the series, 174-136-2, and took two out of three from the Gamecocks in March. Still, these schools are almost always among the top programs in the country. That’s part of what makes the action so compelling. Things have turned testy since the turn of the century, with South Carolina twice knocking Clemson out of the College World Series in the semifinal round (2002, 2010). South Carolina has two NCAA titles (’10, ’11) to lord over their in-state rivals, too.

DII football

Henderson State - Ouachita Baptist (Battle of the Ravine)

  Henderson State teammates walk to their “road game” at Ouachita Baptist.
Henderson State and Ouachita Baptist University. Doesn’t ring a bell? Well, it should. One of the oldest rivalries in NCAA DII athletics belongs to these schools in Arkadelphia, Ark. Two lanes of U.S. Highway 67 are the only thing that separates them. The game was traditionally held on Thanksgiving but has moved to the final game on each team’s schedule. One of the more novel traditions of the rivalry sees the visiting team walk from their own locker room across the street to the opposing stadium. It's aptly dubbed the shortest road trip in college football. The Reddies of Henderson State lead the all-time series over the Tigers, 43-41-6. But the Tigers drew last blood with a 30-27 win on Nov. 12, 2016.

RELATEDBattle of the Ravine — Henderson State and Ouachita Baptist

DIII football

Wisconsin-Whitewater - Mount Union

  Wisconsin-Whitewater has a 6-3 edge in head-to-head title matches with Mount Union.
This is a rivalry between two DIII powerhouses. These two schools met in the Stagg Bowl, aka the DIII Football Championship Game, in nine of the 10 years between 2005-2014. UW-Whitewater has a 6-3 edge in those head-to-head championship showdowns, but both programs have proven capable year-in and year-out. Mary-Hardin Baylor took home the DIII crown this year, but the Purple Raiders of Mount Union and the Warhawks of UW-Whitewater are always threats to take over the DIII throne.

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