July 19, 2024

SEC football rivalry rankings: Where Texas, Oklahoma feuds stand as Longhorns, Sooners join in 2024 season

Rivalries are a big part of what makes college football so special. Few sports have as many meaningful feuds, many of which span well over a century. Some rivalry games are as entertaining and intriguing as the national championship, if only for the tradition and surrounding fanfare. 

The SEC isn’t short on featured conflicts. Some date back to the formation of the conference. Others have sprung up in recent years to accommodate for expansion.

The latest round of conference shuffling brings Oklahoma and Texas into the fold, giving the SEC claim to one of college football’s most prolific rivalries and allowing others to be renewed. The latter is one of the more positive aspects of the whole realignment fiasco. 

Though the SEC has yet to set in stone which rivalries will be protected as it debates which scheduling model is appropriate for a 16-team super-conference, the 2024 and 2025 slates provide some insight into which conflicts will be preserved or brought back. Some would be impossible to do away with for good. 

With that in mind, here’s how the SEC’s current (and likely future) rivalries stack up against one another. 

1. Oklahoma vs. Texas (Red River Rivalry) 

The pageantry. The tradition. The stakes. The pure dislike for one another. The Red River Rivalry, née Shootout, checks pretty much every box you want in a college football blood feud. It also helps that the games are competitive. Neither team has won more than four consecutive installments since 2004, and eight of the last 10 Red River games have been decided by a single score. Texas leads the all-time series 63-51-5

2. Alabama vs. Auburn (Iron Bowl) 

Though it may not be as ancient as other entries on this list, few rivalries have produced as many memorable moments as the Iron Bowl. From Chris Davis’ kick-six to Isaiah Bond’s miraculous fourth-down catch in Alabama’s most recent win against Auburn, the Iron Bowl has given fans a feast of highlights that will be shown for decades to come. These two in-state foes cannot stand one another, and an Iron Bowl win means a whole lot more than anything else in the regular season. Alabama leads 50-37-1

3. Mississippi State vs. Ole Miss (Egg Bowl) 

Maybe the Egg Bowl doesn’t boast the same national stakes as other SEC rivalries, but that doesn’t really matter here. This game will always feel like the biggest thing on either team’s schedule, regardless of rankings or postseason outlooks. Few games embody the pure chaos of college football like the Egg Bowl. After all, Ole Miss lost a game in this series because one of its players pretended to urinate like a dog. You just can’t get that experience anywhere else. Ole Miss leads 65-46-6

The annual Egg Bowl between the Rebels and Bulldogs is the embodiment of chaos in college football

4. Florida vs. Georgia (Okefenokee Oar Trophy)

A rivalry so intense that there’s a heated debate about which team should be listed first (they’re just in alphabetical order here), Florida-Georgia games and the accompanying tailgates get so rowdy that the event is colloquially known as the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.” On the field, this rivalry has featured college football giants like Vince Dooley and Steve Spurrier, and it often decided the eventual winner of the now-defunct SEC East. Long may its importance last into the new era. Georgia leads 55-44-2

5. Auburn vs. Georgia (Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry) 

As the nickname suggests, there’s considerable history between these two teams. It’s tied with North Carolina-Virginia (the South’s Oldest Rivalry) for the second-most played series in the FBS behind only Wisconsin and Minnesota’s annual battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe. Not only is it old, Auburn vs. Georgia is typically hotly contested; though the Bulldogs have ruled the modern era, one doesn’t have to travel too far back to find two heavyweights trading annual blows. Georgia leads 64-56-8 

6. Texas vs. Texas A&M (Lonestar Showdown)

Time has not diminished the vitriol in this rivalry. Even though Texas and Texas A&M haven’t seen one another on the gridiron in 13 years, only three rivalries in the SEC have more games than the 118 between the Longhorns and Aggies. The cold feelings are so intense that each school mentions the other in its fight song (Texas) and war hymn (Texas A&M). College football’s version of the Kendrick Lamar-Drake beef, if you will. Texas leads 76-37-5

7. Alabama vs. Tennessee (Third Saturday in October) 

Recent results have dimmed this rivalry’s spark a bit. Alabama has won 16 of the last 17 contests dating back to 2007 — Nick Saban’s first season in Tuscaloosa, for those keeping track. But before that modern run, Alabama held a narrow 43-38-7 lead in the all-time series. Tennessee actually ruled the roost for a majority of the 1990s and early 2000s. And no matter what the recent record may suggest, this game still means a whole lot to both sides. Look no further than Tennessee’s win in 2022; it’s a miracle Knoxville was left standing. Alabama leads 59-39-7

8. Alabama vs. LSU (First Saturday in November) 

The SEC West existed for 32 years. Alabama and LSU combined to win that division 22 times. One of those two teams has made it to the SEC Championship Game in each of the past six years. Both teams have been ranked in the AP Top 25 in 16 out of the last 18 installments in this series. When Alabama and LSU face off, there’s always something major on the line, adding prestige to a series that’s relatively young among the SEC’s rivalries. Alabama leads 56-27-5 

9. Florida vs. LSU 

These two teams have only met 70 times, but no one can say they haven’t been eventful. It’s hard not to love a rivalry that features a game in which Florida defensive back Marco Wilson threw a cleat leading to a 15-yard penalty and a 57-yard, game-winning field goal for LSU in soupy fog. This series is also ridiculously competitive and has featured several clashes between national championship-caliber teams. Hopefully, the new schedule structure doesn’t eliminate what was a premier cross-divisional showdown. Florida leads 33-31-3 

10. Kentucky vs. Tennessee

This series may lack in overall stakes — Tennessee hasn’t made it to the SEC Championship Game since 2007, while Kentucky hasn’t competed for a title since the divisional split — but at the heart of every rivalry is a profound dislike of the opposition. Tennessee and Kentucky have that in droves. Even though the Vols have comfortably dominated things since the turn of the century, fans still circle this game on the calendar. Any Kentucky win is a momentous occasion, and the Wildcats have made things closer in recent years. The animosity has steadily grown over the century-plus that these two have been playing one another. Tennessee leads 83-26-9 

11. Arkansas vs. Texas

Another long-dormant feud given new life by conference realignment, Arkansas and Texas are old Southwest Conference foes that haven’t met on a consistent basis since 1991. A good portion of college football viewers probably aren’t old enough to remember the SWC in its heyday, which takes a lot of luster off this showdown. But there is a rich history between these two teams, including 10 top-10 matchups from 1961-80. Maybe a consistent SEC schedule can rekindle some of the passion. Texas leads 56-23

Old SWC rivals Texas and Arkansas will meet on a more consistent basis with the Longhorns in the SEC. 

12. LSU vs. Ole Miss (Magnolia Bowl)

As a self-confessed lover of offensive football, this rivalry is often a joy to watch. No matter what either team looks like for the rest of the year, the Magnolia Bowl can always guarantee points. The Rebels and Tigers have combined to score at least 48 in every matchup since 2014. It’s also fairly competitive (in a contemporary sense) with each team alternating wins since 2020. Still, both programs have at least one or two teams that sit higher on their personal list of rivals. LSU leads 63-42-4 

13. Arkansas vs. LSU (Battle for the Boot) 

LSU and Arkansas played sparingly through the years until 1992 when the Razorbacks’ move to the SEC and the subsequent creation of divisions allowed the border states to become frequent opponents. The SEC even introduced a shiny, golden, boot-shaped trophy (formed by the outline of Arkansas and Louisiana) in 1996 to bring some prestige into this rivalry. Razorback fans have plenty of animosity towards LSU, though the feeling may not be entirely reciprocated with the Tigers’ already full ledger of sworn enemies. LSU leads 42-23-2

14. Arkansas vs. Texas A&M (Southwest Classic) 

This series has gone through various ebbs and flows. Both programs were charter members of the Southwest Conference in 1915 but did not play for the first time until 1927. They didn’t establish a consistent routine until 1934 and played annually until Arkansas left for the SEC in 1991. The rivalry was put on ice until 2009 when it was brought back as the Southwest Classic. The name stuck following Texas A&M’s move to the SEC in 2012, and the two have jockeyed for position in the SEC West ever since. The future of the Southwest Classic is in question, and 2024 may be the last game we see between these two in Arlington — for a while, at least. Arkansas leads 42-35-3 

15. Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt 

Is there history between these two in-state universities? Yes, in the sense that they’ve been playing one another for a while. In fact, at 118 games (and counting), there are only four SEC series that have been played more. But it’s rarely been consistently competitive. Vanderbilt dominated the early goings — by early, think 100 years ago — and has done well to secure five wins since 2012, but Tennessee’s considerable resources have created a gap between the two schools that might steadily grow in the NIL era. Tennessee leads 78-33-5

16. Georgia vs. South Carolina

South Carolina’s biggest foe, Clemson, resides in the ACC, so that doesn’t count for this list. There is a natural distaste for Georgia among Gamecocks faithful, though. The two programs share a recruiting footprint and South Carolina’s hiring of Steve Spurrier, whom Georgia fans were already familiar with from his stint at Florida, really got the ball rolling in this one. It isn’t the SEC’s hottest rivalry, but there’s no love lost here. Georgia leads 55-19-2

17. Missouri vs. Oklahoma 

Most fans could be forgiven for forgetting that Missouri and Oklahoma were once fixtures on each other’s schedules. They haven’t played since 2011, the annual series ended in 1995 and the rivalry trophy (the Tiger-Sooner Peace Pipe) went missing in 1975. Still, most of Missouri’s natural rivals reside in other conferences, and this one at least deserves a revisit with the Sooners’ move to the SEC. Oklahoma leads 67-24-5 

18. Arkansas vs. Missouri (Battle Line Rivalry) 

Missouri desperately needed a rivalry to cling to when it left its geographical roots to join the SEC in 2012, so the conference conceived a Battle Line Trophy between the Tigers and Arkansas a couple of years later. Missouri has won eight out of 10 games since the two first played as conference foes in 2014. They shared a handful of contests before that. At least there’s a border to fight for between Arkansas and Missouri? Missouri leads 10-4 

19. Missouri vs. South Carolina (Mayors’ Cup) 

Also known as the Battle for Columbia. I’ll give you two guesses as to why that may be. Other than coincidentally named university locations, there isn’t a ton of reason for this rivalry to exist outside the fact that, as with its annual game against Arkansas, Missouri needed some manufactured bad blood when it left the Big 12 behind. Maybe it’ll grow some roots as the SEC transitions into a new age. Missouri leads 9-5