College Football: Rivalry Week Recap


An Auburn player celebrates a touchdown during the Iron Bowl. Credit The Athletic

This past weekend was Rivalry Week for college football: the ultimate culmination of sports and college tradition. Here’s a recap on this Saturday’s biggest matchups- from the legendary Iron Bowl to the bitter Ohio State-Michigan rivalry, and everything in between.


The Carolina-State Game: NC State 10, UNC 41

Both teams are known more for their prowess in basketball- but this did nothing to dispel the bitter in-state rivalry. In the beginning, it seemed like an even game as the teams traded scores throughout the first half. Then things began to fall apart. 6-10 would be the closest the Wolfpack would ever get, as UNC ran away with 28 unanswered points. An anticlimactic ending signified NC State’s 8th straight loss, while UNC secured its appearance in a post-season bowl game.

THE VERDICT: The Wolfpack will need more than just a Christmas miracle to get back on track.


“The Game”: Ohio State 56, Michigan 27

College football’s most storied rivalry failed to disappoint this 2019. It’s known for being an ugly split- coaches have been fired for not being able to gain the upper hand in this rivalry. Former Ohio State head coach Woody Hayes refused to even utter the hated “M-word”, and OSU fans honored this tradition this year by banning the use of the letter M on campus the week before (it’s true!). The game itself started with a bang, as Michigan scored on its first possession. However, this would be the last time Michigan took the lead as Ohio State gradually lengthened their lead, making the game into less of a contest and more of a blowout.

Michigan players, for some reason, attempt to pull of J.K. Dobbins’ shoe, in a move Twitter set upon gleefully. Credit

Ohio State now sits at No.1 in the CFP rankings, while Michigan fans, in contrast, have made coach Jim Harbaugh their scapegoat- he has never won against the Buckeyes.

THE VERDICT: Fire Harbaugh- this one was a yawner.


Battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe: Minnesota 17, Wisconsin 38

Yep, you heard that right. The two teams in this rivalry compete for a rather unique trophy: a giant axe. Both teams had solid records this season; in fact, before this game Minnesota was having its best season in decades. Alas, nothing gold can stay, and the resurgent Badgers beat the Golden Gophers into submission, giving Minnesota its second loss this year. Wisconsin will travel to the Big Ten Championship next week to take on Ohio State, with hopes to ruin the Buckeyes’ playoff chances.

THE VERDICT: The Minnesota bandwagon is long gone- or, rather, chopped up into firewood.


The Iron Bowl: Alabama 45, Auburn 48

This football game is known for the foul attitudes of each team’s fans; for example, in 2010 one vindictive Alabama fan poisoned Auburn’s storied oak trees at Toomer’s Corner, a historic part of campus. An act this egregious has yet to be repeated, but the fact remains: these two teams hate each other.

Differences aside, this was decidedly the most exciting match of the weekend. Both teams are very good- Alabama entered the game at No.5 and Auburn at No. 13- and although Alabama was predicted to win, Auburn kept the game close throughout the first three quarters. That’s when things began to heat up. With two minutes left in the game, Alabama lined up for a 30-yd field goal to tie the game- practically a walk in the park for any decent kicker. Yet as the ball went up, it seemed to answer the prayers of thousands of Auburn fans as it glanced off of the post and was no good. The stadium erupted as Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban threw his headset in fury. The score was sealed as Auburn ran out the clock in the final minute, granting them a big win against a team that normally seemed unbeatable.

THE VERDICT: Oh, how the mighty have fallen.


In the end, the weekend was somewhat of an average showing. Sure, the games were exciting, but there was certainly no “Kick Six” moment. Regardless, this weekend represents the best of college tradition- and it certainly isn’t going anywhere.