They are as old as college football itself. On Nov. 6, 1869, two
intrastate rivals, Princeton and Rutgers, met in New Brunswick,
N.J., in the first intercollegiate football game. Rutgers won
6-4. Ten years later the Garden State's Thomas Edison invented
the incandescent lightbulb, leading--some would say indirectly,
but we believe otherwise--to stadium lighting and to such
prime-time battles as the one that took place last Saturday
between No. 3 Florida State and No. 4 Florida.
Be they crosstown (Southern Cal-UCLA), cross-bay (Cal-Stanford)
or just plain cross (which describes the folks at Auburn-Alabama
and Clemson-South Carolina games), in-state rivalry games, of
which there were 13 last weekend and 12 more this week, are a
breed apart. Witness the vitriol that can arise at an
Oregon-Oregon State game. "My parents got threatened in
Corvallis two years ago," Ducks center Ryan Schmid said last
week. "The Oregon State fans were pushing and shoving and pretty
much verbally abusing my mom, poor little thing. But she
probably brought it on."
As if these games needed to ratchet up their intensity ("You
even have grandmothers giving you the finger," says backup
quarterback Dave Meyer of Virginia Tech, which meets Virginia on
Saturday), two of last weekend's backyard brawls involved half
the nation's top eight teams: the aforementioned
Seminoles-Gators matchup plus No. 5 Oregon at No. 8 Oregon
State. A third game, No. 6 Washington at Washington State, had
Rose Bowl and potential Orange Bowl implications. SI attended
all three, plus a few others, in assembling what seems to be an
Old Oaken Bucket--the trophy Purdue took home from its 41-13
defeat of in-state archfoe Indiana--full of material to get to
the bottom of these rivalries.
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPH BY ROBERT BECK Unlucky DuckOregon State's Darnell Robinson and James Allen stood tall as they prevented Oregon's Maurice Morris from getting into the end zone.
COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPH BY AL TIELEMANS Hurtin' HoosierIndiana quarterback Antwaan Randle El bent under pressure of two Boilermakers, Shawn Phillips (53) and Craig Terrill (92).