Have College Football Rivalries Become Too Heated?

There were three examples Saturday of in-state rivalry games turning ugly. Two were in unconventional ways I’ve never seen before. Not to mention the fact they were beyond disrespectful.

Michigan at Michigan State

Michigan State is the defending Big Ten champions and are the pride of the conference yet again heading into November at 7-1. Michigan is 3-5 with little hope of making it to a bowl. So when Michigan took the field at East Lansing and planted a stake on the field it did not go over well. While Michigan may have thought it represented unity, the Spartans viewed it as vandalism to its turf.

Michigan’s head coach Brady Hoke apologized after the game but the whole act is tough to excuse. Michigan State fans shouldn’t feel bitter though as the Spartans won 35-11.

Texas Tech at TCU

Over in Fort Worth, TCU showed no mercy to in-state rival Texas Tech. The result was an 82-27 final score in favor of the Horned Frogs. The score was 68-27 at the end of the third quarter but TCU was still trying to tack more on, including putting the ball in the air six times in the quarter. Maybe it was because they were record hunting.

Passing the football late in the game with a huge lead is unacceptable. Just run the clock out and go home. The Horned Frogs had cupcake wins over FCS Samford and SMU and only scored 48 and 56 on those teams. TCU was just trying to embarrass a rival and went to great lengths to do so Saturday. Just because TCU could score 82 doesn’t mean it should.

Georgia Southern at Georgia State

Move over Georgia and Georgia Tech, the Peach State has a new college football rivalry that has more “clean, old fashioned hate” than you. Georgia Southern is tearing through the Sun Belt in its first season as an FBS team and has developed a passionate fan base thanks to decades of success on the FCS level. Georgia State is still an infant in the college football world and is going through the growing pains of just 2 wins in its last 25 games. Despite the contrast this is a heated rivalry. Both programs like to be called GSU, wear blue, and are in the same conference now. Although, the Panthers went into detail as to why they believe GSU is for Georgia State alone.

Georgia Southern wanted to really stick it to the Panther fans by traveling to the game wearing white Eagle’s shirts in a successful white-out in the stadium of its rival. You can see how many Georgia Southern Fans are behind the goal post here.

GA So takeover

Having more fans than the home team is one thing. Bringing a banner to the field after your win is not so innocent. The Eagles posed for a picture with a banner saying “Paulson Stadium North,” claiming the Georgia Dome as an affiliate to its campus venue. This photo is courtesy of Two Cents Radio.

Just think about it, the Eagles had to secretly carry that into the stadium and then take the time to pose for the camera like high school kids at prom. If that’s not enough for you, then what about T-shirts? For almost $17, you can buy a T-shirt of Georgia Southern Eagle holding a Georgia State panther upside down over the Georgia Dome. Oh, and the “GSU” battle comes up again at the bottom.

These types of shirts are common through fan sites, but this shirt is THROUGH THE SCHOOL. This is Georgia Southern merchandise! This rivalry is getting out of hand and it seems to appear that both sides have forgotten it’s just a football game, not a cure to solve trademark dispute. Georgia State does not have the ability to fight back in football today but what will happen if the Panthers become a power five years from now? This could really blow up.

I hope fan bases from all schools who are about to square off in November (looking at you Iron Bowl) don’t turn to blatant disrespect as their weapon of choice. What were once harmless jokes between fan bases got out of hand Saturday, and that’s probably not the last time that will occur this season.

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