Conference realignment was terrible. It broke up many of our favorite annual football rivalries, and now the only thing fans from those teams can do is yell at each other over the internet -- or, more passionately, pretend to not yell on the internet while doing exactly that. But more on that in a minute.
Here is a top five.
Other dormant rivalries considered include the Keg of Nails (Louisville fans too happy about escaping the American to care right now; Cincinnati fans too focused on leaving the American to care right now), Nebraska-Oklahoma (not much commotion, and they're scheduled to play again soon anyway), Michigan-Notre Dame (nobody realigned!), Clemson-Maryland (not a rivalry, but should've had a Hardee's Turtle Trophy anyway), and everyone in the ACC vs. Maryland (getting emotional about lawsuits between enormous institutions is the epitome of feelingsball).
Also, RIP to the Battle of the Bones. It's not a power-conference rivalry, but it's the most beautiful thing we lost. Memphis fans possess the Bones forever, something too precious to gamble on another football game. Wager the bones in your body instead, Memphis.
As noted, here is a top five.
5. West Virginia
Everyone wants to see the Backyard Brawl again, and Pitt fans probably care about as much. But rhyming your rival's name with "shit," putting it in a chant, and using that chant at every mention on the internet of your rival's name is the tie-breaker here. Besides, West Virginians just plain care about stuff.
Pitt, you are cared about. West Virginia, you are the best state. Not because of this. Just in general. I mean it.
You can't laugh for hours at something you don't care about. Of course, by that definition, we all care about Kansas.
Try this one out: say something nice about Brigham Young University. Anywhere, in any context.
Whispering, "Provo has pretty nice weather," while showering at a hospital would work. Now wait just a second. AND
BYU'S SCHEDULE IS A FABERGÉ EGG ON FIRE
BYU'S WIND-AIDED STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE COULDN'T FIGHT ITS WAY OUT OF AN EMPTY PARKING LOT
BYU DOESN'T PLAY ANYBODY BUT LAWN CHAIRS AND DAYDREAMS
BYU PLAYS MARIO KART ON 5CC
BYU HASN'T PLAYED A REGULATION FOOTBALL GAME AGAINST A TEAM FROM AN ACCREDITED UNIVERSITY EVER EXCEPT FOR UTAH AND WE ALWAYS WON AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
Talking SCHEDULE TOUGHNESS is a surprising focus for a fan base that was a mid-major until just a couple years ago and has since not impressed many people in the Pac-12, but it's the go-to. And that's great!
2. Texas A&M
Everyone agrees Texas A&M is in the top two here, yes? If Texas A&M is ever to be in the top two of anything, it's the top two of obsessing over stuff.
I don't know a lot about very many things. But I know a lot about the college football internet.
Based on the internet, no one who has ever lived has cared more about anything than Texas fans care about Texas A&M— Jason Kirk (@JasonKirkSBN) July 10, 2014
Texas fans like to tell you that they aren't the ones who care about this rivalry. They could take it or leave it. All the fuss? It's all Aggie being Aggie.
Aggie being Aggie! Here are 100 Aggie memes from my hard drive full of Aggie memes. We're Texas! Kevin Sumlin's players get arrested daily; I don't care about that at all! Don't care if we ever play 'em again! Barely even know anything about them! Have you seen this morning's Johnny Manziel photos? As follows are 17 of my thoughts about why he's destined to fail, which didn't pan out the first dozen times I read them to you:
Call it a perfect storm. The Aggies have been the talk of the sport for two years now, all due to what could end up being a flash-in-the-pan confluence of coach and quarterback and system and Nick Saban Kryptonite, all in an upgraded conference. Meanwhile, Texas has fallen from its accustomed perch atop college football despite being rich and has mostly just goofed around for going on four years.
If all that hadn't happened, A&M would rank No. 1 here. And probably by a lot. A&M fans unabashedly care WAY TOO DAMN MUCH about EVERYTHING, whether it's cool or not. But right now, Texas has the upper caring hand.
It's natural that this has all been upsetting for Longhorns fans. Who wants to be upstaged by their rival in national attention and season success (A&M has ranked No. 5 and No. 18 in the final AP Poll since leaving the Big 12; Texas, just No. 19 once) and recruiting (b l o o d b a t h) and general internet buzziness? Nobody!
So by all means, go ahead and complain about the overrated Aggies and their unsustainable run and Texas lurching to life at some point in the future and Charlie Strong having good rules. While doing this, just don't try to convince anyone that you actually don't care about A&M.
You care about Texas A&M. If you can't see that, that's fine, because everyone else can.
That is not a bad thing. That is a good thing. Acknowledging this is your Pinocchio moment as a college football fan on the internet. You are supposed to hate and know that you hate. Revel in their misery and make laughable excuses about their triumphs. This is what everyone else does. Do this without shame. It is beneath you to obsess over a departed, inferior rival -- so continue to do it anyway.