Rivalries will never ignite without regular annual showdowns.


Sports fans love rivalries. Bragging rights are at stake.

It was disappointing to learn last week that Notre Dame and Michigan have ended their football series.

 Rivalries develop when teams or schools face one another frequently. Generally, teams in the same conferences or divisions develop heated rivalries quickly.

 That’s why Cubs-Cardinals and Vikings-Packers are more interesting than Mariners-Tigers and Browns-Chiefs.

 College football is no different. In the new world of college football, however, most major conferences will fail to deliver on the simple idea of annual showdowns.

 Expansion has taken away annual meetings except in the Big 12. In our league, everyone plays everyone else every season. What a simple idea. What a glorious concept.

 In looking at Nebraska’s conference football schedule in the Big Ten from 2011-17, it is interesting that Indiana will not make even one trip to Lincoln over that seven-year period. Penn State visits Memorial Stadium just once.

 Two storied programs (Huskers and Lions) playing just once in a seven-year period despite sharing the same conference address. That will be a slow-developing rivalry.  

 It is sad that conference rivalries will start to fade across the college football landscape – and new ones will struggle to even form – since teams won’t face each other on a consistent basis.

 That is, except in the Big 12.

 Rivalries have been the backbone of conference partnerships for decades. In the Big 12, the reality of round-robin scheduling will serve itself well going forward.