With the leaves starting to change colors, Thanksgiving rivalry games are right around the corner. Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate with family, friends, and food … and without a doubt, enjoy great college football! For many college football fans, it is one of the most exciting weekends of the year with some of the most intense and historic rivalries in the sport on tap. Whether it is for bragging rights, trophies, or conference titles, fire up the tailgates as these games have a special meaning and an atmosphere that make them stand out. Here are some of CollegeWeekend’s best Thanksgiving weekend college football rivalries to look forward to this year:
The Iron Bowl: Alabama vs. Auburn
This is arguably the most heated rivalry in college football, as the two teams from the same state have been battling since 1893 have played 87 times and with Alabama leading the series 49–37–1. The game has had national implications many times, such as in 2013 when Auburn won on a miraculous kick return as time expired, or in 2019 when Auburn spoiled Alabama’s playoff hopes with a 48-45 victory. This year, Alabama remains in the running to secure a spot in the SEC championship game, while Auburn could again play the spoiler role. This year’s Iron Bowl will be on Saturday, November 25th at Auburn.
The Game: Ohio State vs. Michigan
This is another classic rivalry that dates back to 1897 and has often decided the Big Ten champion and the Rose Bowl participant. The game has featured some of the greatest players and coaches in college football history, such as Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, Archie Griffin, Desmond Howard, and Charles Woodson. Michigan flipped the Buckeye’s recent dominance last year by beating Ohio State 45-23 in Columbus which propelled the Wolverines into the BCS semifinals. With both teams currently ranked in the Top 5 this year, expect another highly anticipated matchup with both teams gunning for Big Ten title and a shot at the national championship. This year’s game will be on Saturday, November 25th at the Big House in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The Civil War: Oregon vs. Oregon State
This is the oldest rivalry in the Pac-12 and one of the oldest in college football, as the two teams from Oregon have been playing since 1894. The game is also known for its unpredictable outcomes, as both teams have pulled off upsets and comebacks over the years. Last year, the Beavers won in thrilling fashion beating the Ducks 38-34 in Corvallis. This year, both teams are currently ranked in the Top 25 which could set the stage for another exciting Civil War battle. The game will be on Friday, November 24th in prime time in Eugene.
The Apple Cup: Washington vs. Washington State
This is another Pac-12 rivalry that started in 1900 and has been played every year since 1945. The game is named after the state’s famous apple industry and has a trophy that features an apple-shaped metal bowl. Over the years, the game has often been a close and competitive affair no matter the records, but the Huskies have dominated the series over the last decade including winning last year 51-33 against the Cougars in Pullman. This year, both teams are having strong seasons which could result in a heated rivalry game and the last time the teams will play each other as part of the Pac-12. Get ready for boat tailgating on Lake Washington as the Apple Cup will be on Saturday, November 25th at Husky Stadium in Seattle.
The Egg Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State
This is one of the oldest and most heated rivalries in the South, as the two teams from Mississippi have been playing since 1901. The game is named after the Golden Egg trophy that the winner receives, which was introduced in 1927 to prevent fights between the fans. The game has often been a close and unpredictable affair, with several upsets and comebacks over the years. Last year, Mississippi State snapped a two-game losing streak to Ole Miss with a 24-22 win in a controversial finish that involved a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct on Ole Miss after a touchdown. This year, Ole Miss is currently ranked in the Top 25 while Mississippi State is having an up and down year … which could fire up the home crowd to spoil the Rebels’ season. Fire up the turkey roasters as this year’s Egg Bowl will be on Thanksgiving night on November 24th in Starkville, Mississippi.
These are just some of the best Thanksgiving weekend college football rivalries to watch this year. There are many more games that have their own history and significance, such as Florida vs. Florida State, Georgia vs. Georgia Tech, Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State, Clemson vs. South Carolina, Virginia vs. Virginia Tech and Notre Dame vs. USC. No matter which team you root for or which game you watch, Thanksgiving weekend is loaded once again with exciting rivalry games.