Research says the Arizona Wildcats and Arizona State Sun Devils have the most intense rivalry. At the very least, they have the rivalry that's most focused on one another.
The website KnowRivalry.com, created by Dr. Joe Cobbs of Northern Kentucky and Dr. David Tyler of Western Carolina, has used survey to find the nation's most intense rivalries across all sports, and the Wildcats and Sun Devils score atop the list, ahead of Michigan and Ohio State, ahead of Oklahoma and Texas, and ahead of Kentucky and Louisville.
Here's how it works.
Rivalry Points: The survey asked respondents to allocate 100 "rivalry points" across opponents of his or her favorite team. For instance, if John's favorite team is the Springfield Isotopes, he may choose to allocate 60 points to the Jackals, whom he considers to be the Isotopes's strongest rival, 30 points to the Pandas, another opposing team he considers to be a rival of the Isotopes, and 10 points to the Woodchucks, a third opponent. Maria is another Isoptopes fan, and she chooses to allocate all 100 points to the Pandas, the only team she considers to be a rival.
The rivalry score is calculated by taking the average point total toward a rival from all a team's respondents. The maximum rivalry score is 100, which would mean all respondents listed that team as the lone rival. In our example above, the rivalry score for the Pandas would be 65, which is the average of John's 30 points and Maria's 100 points (Jackals = 30 points, Woodchucks = 5 points).
The Arizona-ASU rivalry score, the combination of points allocated by both teams' fans, is 171.76. Arizona accounted for 89.25 of those while ASU added another 82.51, as the Sun Devils gave a decent amount (10.07) of rivalry points to USC.
Of course, it helps this year that the Wildcats and Sun Devils are both ranked and have a potential bid to the Pac-12 Championship on the line if UCLA falls to Stanford during their Friday game.
The Arizona Republic caught up with Cobbs and Tyler about the survey, and provided the following list, which slightly differs from the researchers' website (Kentucky and Louisville were bounced from the 10th spot with UNLV-Nevada jumping to No. 7 in the Republic's rankings).
Most intense FBS college football rivalries
1. ASU vs. UA
2. Ohio State vs. Michigan
3. Toledo vs. Bowling Green
4. BYU vs. Utah
5. Western Michigan vs. Central Michigan
6. Clemson vs. South Carolina
7. UNLV vs. Nevada
8. Missouri vs. Kansas
9. Oklahoma vs. Texas
10. Indiana vs. Purdue