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, 142 games have been played, leaving Yale with a 78-54-10 lead over Princeton. The Bulldogs won this year’s meeting 51-14 on Nov. 16.
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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. In 2017, Yale dominated Harvard in a 24-3 victory at home to become Ivy League champions. Last 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. Last season, the Tigers handed the Quakers a 42-12 loss at home. With the win, that Princeton team was 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 112 games that have been played, Princeton leads Harvard 57-48-7 in the series. Last season, the Tigers beat the Crimson 30-24.
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, 124 games have been played between Yale and Brown. Yale has dominated the rivalry since its beginning, owning the series 84-25-5. Last season, Yale notched a 59-35 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 72-46-5 record. But Dartmouth had the advantage last season, winning 9-6 on a last-second Hail Mary.
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. Last year, Lehigh traveled to Easton and came away with a 34-3 win.CFP RANKINGS: LSU, rest of top seven remains unchanged in Week 13
North Carolina vs. Wake Forest
This North Carolina rivalry started in 1888 and has been played 107 times since then. The Tar Heels lead the series 69-36-2. But the Demon Deacons won the most recent meeting last season with a 24-18 victory. This rivalry won’t resume until 2021, 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 123 games since the start of the rivalry, Miami leads the series 59-58-7. These teams played their rivalry game early in the 2019 season, with the Bearcats winning 35-13.
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. Last year, Cornell left New York City with a 24-21 loss to the Lions.
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. Last year, the two teams met in Brookings for the showdown 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. Last year, Army and Navy met in Philadelphia on Dec. 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. The all-time series is tied at 60-60-8, thanks to Minnesota snapping a 14-game losing streak to the Badgers in 2018.
Minnesota vs. Iowa
The Gophers and the Hawkeyes have been meeting in 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 62-49-2. But the Hawkeyes got the last laugh in 2019, ending Minnesota's perfect season with a 23-19 win.
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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. Last year, the Boilermakers closed out the regular season with a 28-21 road win.