Rivalries lose luster when team teams are down
Let's assume college football's appeal is school pride. If that's the case, it's perfectly understandable why anyone get into a game between a 6-5 and 5-6 team.
In all honesty, it goes beyond that. College football has a universal appeal to those whop enjoy a good time. Nearly all big college football game is associated with a party. The Sugar Bowl — a Mardi Gras atmosphere in New Orleans. The Georgia-Florida game with its ridiculous nickname. It seems like the allure of college football is getting tore up and painting little logos on your face. But not everyone looks at that way.
Take an old rivalry like Michigan-Ohio State, two teams that have traditionally net at the end of the season since 1935. These rivalries run generations deep. There may be some whiskey sipping going on in the stands, but it's more likely to keep warm than anything else.
So many times a rivalry game like the Georgia-Georgia Tech matchup turns out to be the highlight of a school's year. Ask any Michigan fan the past few years and they'd tell you a win over Ohio State would erase all that losing. So when two teams suffering through down years like Georgia and Georgia Tech have, the rivalry game is for bragging rights. It's to ease the pain of a bad year.
So often you can also throw the records out the window when rivals get together. That's why despite an inferior 5-2 record, Alabama almost knocked off undefeated Auburn. It's also why Georgia struggles against Florida (who really isn’t a rival so much as a contest of fans to see which one can party harder). Sometimes the psychological aspect
of the game is worth two touchdowns.
A bad team can save a season with a win over a rival. It only happens in college football. Sure, a Packers win over the Bears is great, but if Green Bay finished the year at 8-8 and missed the playoffs, it wouldn't mean anything. But in college, so many times, it's all about who wins that rivalry game.
Of course, the best scenario is when two rivals meet at the end of the sea- son with something on the line. Conference championship games often deliver this. Because the truth is, a football game is so much better when there's something on the line. One game should not make a season. When rivals are down and the outcome is meaningless, it's not as much fun. It's good to win. It's just not much fun being a loser.