Necessary roughness

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Joe Davis

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The Army-Navy football battle is the biggest rivalry in college sports.

The clash between the Naval Academy and West Point cadets has been ongoing for 122 years.

The Midshipmen have seven more wins in the series which stands at 56-49-7.

The reasons for the intensity behind the rivalry are more than longevity.

For senior Midshipmen and Cadets, the game is played like it will be their last because most likely it will be. These men will be leading troops in combat rather than heading into a professional football career.

A core characteristic of a military service member is pride. These men take pride in the branch they represent, how they perform and – most of all – victory.

Most of the players participating in the Army-Navy rivalry do not end up going to the NFL. The future heroes are playing for the respect of their country and their branch.

Even in times of war in a combat zone troops find time to gather around the TV to watch this game. I have seen fights nearly breakout between service members as games get tight.

History has been made in this intense clash.

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The Army-Navy game featured the first football helmet. In 1893, Joseph Mason Reeves wore a leather cap created by a shoemaker after Reeves was warned by a doctor another blow to the head would make the seaman Reeves crazy.

There is no doubt the much tougher Army cadet would knock a Navy midshipman loopy with ease.

Go Army, beat Navy.

Joe Davis can be reached at josephdavis@saclink.csus.edu. 

Ryan Kuhn

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Some teams just despise each other whether it is because they live in the same city, state, or just want revenge from hard fought loss that changed the direction of their season.

There are many great rivalries all over the country, ranging from the oldest on the East Coast with Harvard and Yale to the Bay Area’s favorite “Big Game” between Cal and Stanford, but one rivalry has been overlooked.

The Civil War football game between the Oregon Ducks and the Oregon State Beavers has been played for 118 years with Oregon leading the series, 49-36-10.

Although the Ducks have won the last four meetings, the rivalry has been competitive. Both teams have denied the opposing school a trip to the Rose Bowl.

This season, the Civil War will not only have Rose Bowl implications, but national championship implications as well. Right now the No. 2 Ducks are undefeated, but a loss could easily crush their hopes of a second national title game in three seasons.

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The Beavers are not a whole lot worse. They stand at 7-1 and rank at No. 13. Both teams are a part of the best in the nation and the matchup will be a close one.

 

 Ryan Kuhn can be reached at ryankuhn@saclink.csus.edu.

Clifton Jones

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USC-UCLA has to be my vote because as a kid who grew up in Southern California, my family was split on the teams. One side would be for UCLA and the other side would be for USC. My personal choice was to root for UCLA.

Imagine two marching bands fighting in a game of flag football. One of the pre-game activities before the big game was the “Band Bowl” lasting 50 years from 1950-2000. The Band Bowl was disbanded after 2000 because of a fight that broke out during the game between the two teams of bands and the stealing of instruments. The trophy for the event was also stolen and remains at large to this day.

This year, UCLA is redefined under the new head coach Jim Mora. But USC has dominated the all time series, 46-28-7. But USC had to forfeit games in the 2004-2005 seasons – especially in the national championship games – because of Reggie Bush being ruled ineligible after the NCAA ruled the recruiting of Bush a violation.

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The “Game of the Century” is the 1967 conference championship game between the 4th ranked Trojans with O.J. Simpson and the 1st ranked Bruins with Gary Beban. Beban and Simpson at the time were Heisman candidates; USC pulled off the win by one point 21-20.

Overall, I think the So-Cal rivalry between these two teams are the best in college.

Clifton Jones can be reached at cwj37@saclink.csus.edu.

David Somers 

In the United States collegiate sports culture historically has been dominated by American football. This should not surprise anyone considering we invented the game.

Although, because of our national partiality toward the sport, it is difficult to win any argument that contends a non-gridiron contest enough to deserve the title of greatest college sports rivalry. Believe me, as a Michigan Wolverines fan, I understand this as well as anyone.

The Battle of Commonwealth Avenue is worthy of a seat at the table of discussion.

The sports rivalry between Boston College and Boston University within its various programs dates back as far as 1893 – the same year the first Iron Bowl was played. It is the annual contests between the schools’ ice hockey teams that have evolved into one of the greatest matchups in all of sports.

BC and BU sit less than 5 miles apart and first faced-off in 1918. BC won the inaugural contest 3-1. Since then the two schools have battled an additional 257 times with BU currently leading the series 127-114-17.

The two teams also have a combined 18 NCAA championship game appearances between them, and each school has won five of those championships. The Terriers even beat the Eagles in the 1978 final.

In a 2005 article for Sports Illustrated, writer Steve Rushin went as far as to name it the greatest rivalry in all of sports:

“Of the many longstanding rivalries in sports – Yankees versus Red Sox, ‘Noles versus ‘Canes, the People versus Mike Tyson – none is quite as big as Boston University versus Boston College in hockey, two adversaries that end all other rivalry-related arguments: BU, BC, be seated.”

Still, it is hard to convince pigskin people this hard-nosed hockey rivalry should not be relegated to the kiddy table.

David Somers can be reached at dps79@saclink.csus.edu.

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