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      The 10 Greatest College Football Rivalries

      [caption id="attachment_914" align="aligncenter" width="474"]Smack Zone - Steve Hill After a newsy (and boozy) offseason, college football is finally back! Illustration: Steve Hill.[/caption] By Bob D’Angelo, Smack Zone Contributor You live and die for your college football team. You savor victories against your hated rival. Losing is unthinkable. “I’d rather have a Pap smear and a root canal, simultaneously, than have Alabama lose to Auburn,” said author and Tide fan Bonnie Bartel Latino. You get the idea. Some rivalries date to the early 1890s, and we LOVE the fact that we are on the verge of starting yet another season. Here’s hoping that this year brings even more fuel to the smack bonfires of history. And now, we present the Smack Zone top 10 college football rivalries of all time:

      1. Ohio State vs. Michigan.
      [caption id="attachment_898" align="alignright" width="296"]College Football Rivalries Ohio State and Michigan is No. 1 on our list. Where did your team's rivalry land? Who did we miss?[/caption] The third Saturday in November usually has Big Ten and national title implications. In fact, Ohio State was No. 1 and Michigan was No. 2 when the teams clashed in 2006. Ohio State won 42-39 in Columbus. Interestingly, the Ohio Lottery Pick 4 drawing that night was 4-2-3-9. Michigan owns a 56-46-6 lead in this border war that began in 1897, but this series has been defined by two coaches. Woody and Bo. Woody Hayes had a genuine hate for “that team up north.” Late in the 1968 game, a 50-14 OSU rout, the Buckeyes went for two. Hayes was asked why. “Because they wouldn’t let me go for three,” he said. Michigan’s Bo Schembechler was a former Hayes assistant who went 5-4-1 against his mentor from 1969 to 1978. We might have a modern-day coaching parallel: Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh against Ohio State’s Urban Meyer. Time will tell. The two fierce rivals have an equally loyal fan base. When 10-year-old Ivan Applin needed heart surgery in Michigan, the Toledo resident was afraid the doctors “were going to make his heart love Michigan instead of Ohio State.” Doctors assured the boy his heart would not be trifled with.
      1. Alabama-Auburn
      College Football RivalriesThe Iron Bowl hosts the country’s best in-state rivalry. The teams began play in 1893 and Alabama owns a 43-35-1 series lead. The two most memorable games were Auburn upsets. In 2013, top-ranked Alabama attempted a 57-yard field goal with one second left in a tie game. Auburn’s Chris Davis fielded it nine yards deep in the end zone, then sprinted past the lumbering Tide field goal unit for a shocking 34-28 victory. Then there was “Punt, ’Bama, Punt” in 1972. Leading 16-0 in the fourth quarter, Alabama lost the game when two of its blocked punts were returned for touchdowns in a 17-16 final.
      1. Army-Navy
      These two teams rarely contend for national honors, but don’t call this game irrelevant. Since 1890, the series has produced five Heisman Trophy winners and a slew of Hall of Famers. The teams have clashed 115 times; Navy leads the series, 59-49-7. For pure national pride, this rivalry is untouchable. Pride, competition and patriotism rule.
      1. Florida-Georgia
      College Football RivalriesAs dawn breaks in Jacksonville, Florida and Georgia fans break out the Bloody Marys to kick off “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.” Then the taunts begin. “Why does the St. Johns River flow north?” a Florida fan asks. “Because Georgia sucks.” Georgia fans counter with “Lindsay Scott.” The Bulldogs dominated this unpredictable series during the Vince Dooley era, but Steve Spurrier brought the Gators some swagger and victories in the 1990s. These rivals rarely agree. Georgia counts a 1904 game it won, while Florida claims its football program didn’t begin until 1906. It creates some lively debate over those Bloody Marys.
      1. Oklahoma-Texas
      For years, it was called the Red River Shootout, but 10 years ago it was renamed and is now called the more politically correct Red River Showdown. College Football RivalriesBy any name, this game has been bitterly contested since 1900 — seven years before Oklahoma was admitted to the Union. Sixty-seven times since The Associated Press poll began in 1936, at least one of the teams has come into the game ranked. The game has been played at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas since 1932. Both teams’ locker rooms spill into a common corridor. Surprisingly, there have been no incidents; both teams prefer to settle their differences on the field.
      1. USC-Notre Dame
      Hands down, the nation’s top intersectional rivalry. It combines tradition, big names and the Jeweled Shillelagh. Each team can claim 11 national titles and seven Heisman Trophy winners. They have met 86 times since 1926; the Irish lead the series 45-36-5. In 1974 “the Comeback” showcased Anthony Davis, when USC overcame a 24-0 deficit late in the first half. Davis caught a touchdown pass with 10 seconds left before intermission, then opened the second half with a 102-yard kickoff return. That sparked a 35-point third quarter for USC and a 55-24 win. “That wasn’t very nice,” Notre Dame president Theodore Martin Hesburgh said afterward to USC coach John McKay, an Irish Catholic. “That’s what you get for hiring a Presbyterian,” McKay cracked, referring to Irish coach Ara Parseghian’s faith.
      1. Harvard-Yale
      It doesn’t have the sizzle of other rivalries, but this series crackles with tradition. The two teams have met 131 times since 1875 and have played annually since 1897. The most memorable game might have been Harvard’s 16-point rally in the game’s final 42 seconds to earn a tie in 1968. Smirked The Harvard Crimson the next day: “Harvard Beats Yale, 29-29.”
      1. Florida-Florida State
      College Football RivalriesIt took an act of the Florida Legislature to sanction this series, which began in 1958. Florida dominated for years, but that changed with the arrival of Bobby Bowden at Florida State in 1976. In the 1994 “Choke at Doak,” the Gators blew a 31-3 fourth-quarter lead and the Seminoles scored four touchdowns in a 31-31 tie. In 1996, FSU beat No. 1 Florida 24-21, but thanks to some timely upsets, the two teams met several weeks later for the national title. Florida won 52-20 in the rematch. In 1993, Warrick Dunn’s momentum-changing 79-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown at Florida Field sent the Noles to the Orange Bowl, where they would win their first national title. After that play, Dunn said, “you could hear a pin drop in that place.”
      1. USC-UCLA
      The two Los Angeles schools met for the first time in 1929 and play for the Victory Bell. Since the Pacific Coast Conference (the ancestor of the Pac-12) was formed in 1916, USC has won or shared 37 conference titles, while UCLA has won or shared 17. “Beating ’SC is not a matter of life and death,” UCLA coach Red Sanders said during the 1950s. “It’s more important than that.”
      1. Georgia-Georgia Tech
      A most underrated rivalry. Author Bill Cromartie’s 2002 book, “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate,” is an appropriate title for this series, which began in 1893. The Bulldogs own a 64-40-5 series advantage against their nearby rival.

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      Did we miss any? Tell us who and why you think they deserve to be among the top 10 college football rivalries of all time. And be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram this season for a steady stream of sports rivalry news and smack talk!

      Sports Smack, Ready to Wear: How We Do It

      Smack Apparel is, and always has been, about creativity. There's a reason we do it the way we do -- because we know passionate sports fans want to be as creative and funny as possible when it comes to talking smack about their sports rivals. But how do we actually do what we do? It starts with a passion for sports. We're fans, so we know what fans love. With that in mind, we are constantly surveying the sports and pop culture landscape for new t-shirt ideas. Founder Wayne Curtiss channeled his inner FSU Seminole when he and Smack Apparel vice president Rosemary Curtiss (a proud Nittany Lion) teamed to create our first Smack Apparel shirt 17 years ago. Will Rogers might have never met a man he didn't like, Wayne and Rosemary figured, but Rogers never met Steve Spurrier, either. Wearable smack was born. Since then, we have created hundreds of designs for fans who not only love to talk smack, but want to wear it, too. In this video, Wayne takes you behind the scenes for a glimpse at the Smack Apparel process, from that first creative spark to finished product. We hope you enjoy it! [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPrHhfLi3KQ] Enjoy the video? Ready for more? Join us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for a steady stream of sports news and sports smack dedicated to passionate sports fans all over the country. And be sure to check back daily at Smack Zone, the home of college and pro sports rivalries.  

      The 4 Greatest Legends of Sports Smack Talk

      Smack ApparekThey are the legends of smack. Sports figures who talked as good a game as they played or coached. Greats who told you what they were going to do; did it; then told you all about it. If there were a Sports Smack Hall of Fame, these guys would be elected on the first ballot. Their mugs would adorn the Mount Rushmore of Smack: Muhammad Ali. Dizzy Dean. Michael Jordan. Steve Spurrier. Oh, we know. There are many others who have raised trash talk to an art form over the years. You might prefer four completely different smack talkers, and who are we to argue? Well … We are Smack Apparel, the nation’s leading sports parody apparel company. We’ve been around since 1998. We make t-shirts for fans who love their teams -- and love to hate their rivals. And this? This is Smack Zone, our new blog dedicated to all things smack talk and sports passion. Check in daily for stories, videos, fan contests and a few surprises along the way. We wanted to kick things off today with a tip of the cap to the smack masters. After all, what would modern-day smack talk be without the breakthrough moments of trash talk engineered by pioneers like Ali, who gave us this all-time epic piece of smack moments after he defeated Sonny Liston in 1964: [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BY6_3Y7OOo8] Come on, who’s better than Ali? No one. He was correct: He is the greatest. But he shares the stage with many. For instance, where would we be today if Hall of Fame pitcher Dizzy Dean hadn’t vowed that he and his brother, Paul, would combine for at least 45 pitching victories for the 1934 St. Louis Cardinals? That was a big promise, and sure enough: They won 49 together that year. Dizzy remains the most recent National League pitcher to win 30 games in a season. It was Dizzy Dean, during his later career as a broadcaster, who gave us one of the all-time truisms of smack talk: “It ain’t bragging if you can back it up.” And who could dish it out better than His Airness? The greatest basketball player of all time also might have been the cockiest. Pity poor Craig Ehlo. The Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star drew the unenviable task of trying to guard Jordan late during a memorable game on March 28, 1990. All Jordan did that day was drop a career-best 69 points – including a sequence of plays when he informed Ehlo exactly what moves he would make and where he would shoot from, then did it. According to Ehlo, Jordan didn’t even sound a bit malicious when he said, matter-of-factly:  “You know you can’t stop this.” Then there’s the Ole Ball Coach. Steve Spurrier loves what he calls “Talkin’ Season,” and few have used the slow summer months to better verbal advantage. Remember, you still can’t spell Citrus Bowl without UT. Spur Dog has a special place in our hearts here at Smack Apparel. You see, our founder and Smack Talker in Chief, Wayne Curtiss, went to Florida State. Our very first shirt was conceived when Wayne thought about that old saying by cowboy performer Will Rogers: “I never met a man I didn’t like.” [caption id="attachment_862" align="alignleft" width="300"]Smack Apparel The very first Smack Apparel t-shirt: an homage to one of the masters of smack, the Old Ball Coach himself.[/caption] Well, thought Wayne. Will Rogers never met Steve Spurrier. And there we had it: our first article of Ready-to-Wear Smack Talk. It was, and remains, a Smack Apparel classic. Who else deserves a spot alongside our four greatest smack talkers of all time? A few potential candidates come to mind: Joe Namath, Deion Sanders, Richard Sherman, Deacon Jones, Warren Sapp, Sean Avery, John Randle, Shannon Sharpe, Chad Johnson, Gary Payton, Floyd Mayweather, Satchel Paige, Terrell Owens, Reggie Miller, Ray Lewis, Mike Tyson, Larry Bird, Steve Smith, A.J. Pierzynski. And so many other legends. We’ll get to them all soon enough. Meanwhile, welcome to Smack Zone. We’re glad you could make it. Hang on … it’s going to be a great ride.

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      Coming tomorrow: As we continue to celebrate the launch of Smack Zone and the kickoff of football season, come with us behind the scenes as founder Wayne Curtiss shows you how we do what we do at Smack Apparel. And be sure to follow us Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for a constant stream of smack throughout the day! [caption id="attachment_864" align="aligncenter" width="266"]Smack Apparel Rosemary and Wayne Curtiss welcome you to Smack Zone. We hope you enjoy wearing our t-shirts as much as we love making them for you![/caption]