Behind the Mic: Nasty Sports Rivalries

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You may have missed it, but at the Big Ten media day this past week, Jim Harbaugh, the coach of Michigan football, threw a little dirt at former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer.  He acknowledged Meyer’s excellent coaching record, but added that “controversy follows everywhere he’s been.”  He was given a chance to back away from what he said but he did not.  “It was me saying what I think.”

Well, that led to a response from Meyer’s daughter – “Wait guys, maybe this is a deflection strategy!  Throw a little mud to avoid answering why you always lost.”

This led me to think about the nastiest rivalries in college sports.  I was not surprised to find that the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry was listed as #1.  They have met 100 times with Michigan winning 58 of them.  However, Ohio State has won the last seven and 14 of the last 15!  Ohio State won last year 62-39.

According to Brad Crawford of 24-7 Sports, the top ten college rivalries are:

10. MichiganMichigan State basketball

9. Michigan-Notre Dame football

8. Notre Dame-USC football

7. Florida StateMiami football

6. KentuckyLouisville basketball

5. OklahomaTexas football

4. ArmyNavy football

3. AlabamaAuburn football

2. North CarolinaDuke basketball

1. Ohio State-Michigan football

Obviously, rabid fans of all these schools disagreed with the list. I found it interesting when I read the comments from fans across the country that their argument that they have the greatest rivalry was based on the fact that their hatred for the other team was greater than the hatred of other fans.  Yes, it was all based on hate!

And then I realized that this is the way our country is today – hatred for the other side.  There is a rivalry going on every day in this country and the vitriol when groups get together en masse is not much different than sitting on opposite sides of the stadium for an Ohio State-Michigan.  In football, there is always next year for the loser.

In politics, it’s a four-year wait.  So the hate grows more and more.



  1. I guess it was only appropriate that the greatest “closer” in major league baseball was the closer on Sunday at Cooperstown, NY for the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Mariano Rivera of the Yankees gave the final speech.  After all, he was the greatest closer in baseball history.  Brandy Halladay handled her moment and her emotions beautifully as the Hall inducted her husband, Roy.
  2. Did you see where Carl Yastrzemski’s grandson, Mike, homered for the Giants on Sunday to give them a walk-off win in the 12th inning? He was called up for the first time to the majors on May 25.  He spent six years in the minors.  He is 28 years old.
  3. Fate can be very interesting sometimes. Ireland’s Shane Lowry winning The Open on Sunday in Ireland, just a couple of hours from his home was storybook.  He was never challenged to relinquish the lead and his walk up the 18th hole was very emotional.  If you are going to win your first major, why not do it at home?
  4. The South Parkland American Legion baseball team is having an unbelievable season. As I write this, they are 23-0 and two wins away from a Region 2 championship.  The Bethlehem Wanderers are still in the tournament, also, with a 22-4 record.  Amazing seasons for both and not quite finished.  It would be nice if they met in the championship final.
  5. Our BML Game of the Week series concludes this Tuesday. Thanks to everybody who helped with the telecasts and special thanks to the managers and players for once again showing how much they love the game.  Good luck in the playoffs to everyone.