The first known college football game was played in 1869 and it wasn't long before rivalries began to develop between the earliest football teams. Here are the 15 oldest rivalries in Division I college football, across the FBS and FCS, beginning with Yale vs. Princeton in 1873.
Yale vs. Princeton
The Yale-Princeton rivalry is the oldest in college football, dating back to 1873. Yale and Princeton dominated the college football scene when this rivalry began, with Yale claiming 13 outright national titles and Princeton claiming eight between 1869 and 1894. Since the start, 141 games have been played, leaving Yale with a 77-54-10 lead over Princeton. This season's game ended in a high-scoring final, leaving Princeton the victors at 59-43.
Yale vs. Harvard
One of the more well-known rivalries, simply called "The Game," has been around since 1875. In the 135 times this rivalry has been played, Yale has topped Harvard 67-60-8. Last season, Yale dominated Harvard in a 24-3 victory at home to become Ivy League champions. This year, Yale dropped the matchup 45-27 in the final game of the season..
Princeton vs. Penn
Princeton's third oldest college football rivalry with an Ivy League opponent is the Princeton-Penn series. This one began three seasons after their rivalry with Yale was born, in 1876. In the 110 games played so far, Princeton leads Penn 66-43-1. This season, the Tigers handed the Quakers a 42-12 loss at home. With the win, this Princeton team is the first to complete an unbeaten, untied season with double-digit victories since 1903.
Princeton vs. Harvard
As you can tell, Princeton takes part in a lot of the oldest rivalries. This one, versus Harvard, has been going on since 1877. In the 111 games that have been played, Princeton leads Harvard 56-48-7 in the series. This season, Princeton took a 29-21 win on the road.
Yale vs. Brown
This rivalry between the Bulldogs and the Bears adds another to the list of Ivy League matchups that make up the oldest rivalries in college football. Started in 1880, 123 games have been played between Yale and Brown. Yale has dominated the rivalry since its beginning, owning the series 83-25-5. On November 3 this season, Yale notched a 46-16 win at home.
Harvard vs. Dartmouth
This rivalry, which started in 1882, is played between the Crimson and the Big Green. Dartmouth faced an extremely rocky start to the rivalry, not posting a win until 1903 (21 years into the rivalry). With the series now totaling 123 games, Harvard still has the edge with a 72-45-5 record. But, Dartmouth had the advantage this season, as they took the 24-17 win on the road.
Lafayette vs. Lehigh
The rivalry between Lafayette and Lehigh isn't the oldest one in college football, dating back to 1884. But, the game known as "The Rivalry" is the most played rivalry across both the FCS and the FBS. These two teams have met a total of 154 times since the start. Lafayette currently leads the series by a small margin at 78-71-5. This season, Lehigh traveled to Easton on November 17 for a 34-3 win.
North Carolina vs. Wake Forest
This North Carolina rivalry started in 1888 and has been played 106 times since then. The Tar Heels lead the series 69-35-2. The game was last played in 2015, when the Tar Heels closed the game with a 50-14 win. The in-state rivalry between the Tar Heels and Deacons will not be played this season due to the two teams being in different divisions within the ACC — North Carolina is in the Coastal Division, while Wake Forest is in the Atlantic Division.
Miami (OH) vs. Cincinnati
The rivalry between Miami of Ohio and Cincinnati is known as the "Battle for the Bell." The in-state, non-conference game was originally played in 1888. In the 122 games since the start of the rivalry, Miami leads the series 122 games, 59-57-7. These teams played their rivalry game early in the 2018 season, with Cincinnati shutting out Miami 21-0 at home.
Cornell vs. Columbia
The final Ivy league rivalry in the 15 oldest in college football is the Cornell-Columbia game. The rivalry was born in 1889, and 106 games have been played since then. Cornell has a pretty good lead on the series with a 65-38-3 record. This season, Cornell traveled to New York City for the rivalry game on November 17, leaving with a 24-21 loss.
South Dakota State vs. South Dakota
Known as the "South Dakota Showdown Series," this rivalry got its start in 1889. In the 111 games that have been played so far, South Dakota State has a slight advantage over South Dakota on the series with 54-50-7 record. Both the Coyotes and the Jackrabbits are football-only members of the Missouri Valley Football Conference in the FCS. This season, the two teams met in Brookings for the showdown on November 17 where South Dakota State won 49-27.
Navy vs. Army
Army and Navy have been meeting since 1890, totaling 119 games against each other. Navy leads the series 60-52-7 over Army. This rivalry (in addition to Air Force's performance against these teams) is one factor in who will take home one of the more regal trophies in college football — the Commander-in-Chief's trophy. This season, Army and Navy met in Philadelphia on December 8 with Army taking the 17-10 win.
Wisconsin vs. Minnesota
Every season, the Badgers and the Gophers play for one of the stranger rivalry trophies in college football — Paul Bunyan's Axe. Although it's not the oldest rivalry overall, it has been played more than any other rivalry in the FBS. This season, the Gophers traveled to Camp Randall on November 24 for the 128th game in the rivalry that began in 1890. With Minnesota's first series win in over a decade, the teams are tied at 60-60-8.
Minnesota vs. Iowa
The Gophers and the Hawkeyes have been meeting for this rivalry since 1891. The game where the winner takes away a bronze pig trophy called Floyd of Rosedale has been played 112 times since then. Minnesota leads the rivalry 62-48-2. Last season, Iowa won the trophy with a 17-10 victory at home. This year, the Hawkeyes traveled to Minneapolis on October 6 for a 48-31 win.
Purdue vs. Indiana
This rivalry between the Boilermakers and Hoosiers began in 1891, and also boasts a somewhat strange trophy. Each year, the winner of the rivalry takes home the Old Oaken Bucket. The game has been played 121 times so far, with Purdue leading 74-41-6, 1891. Last season, Purdue won the trophy after a home game. The same was true for Indiana in 2016. In 2018, the Boilermakers closed out the regular season with a 28-21 road win on November 24.