This weekend, the college football schedule will have a little bit more luster than usual. The calendar is deep into October now, meaning that college campuses all over the country will be covered in beautifully colored leaves and excited students and alumni. It's the perfect weekend for some of college football's most storied rivalries to take place. Rivalries between two schools exist for a number of reasons. Usually, the campuses are located close together and have a long history of athletic competition.

Notre Dame vs. USC: Although Notre Dame and USC are located thousands of miles apart, their game ranks among the most anticipated rivalries in the sport. Over the last 80 years, the Fighting Irish and the Trojans have been two of the most successful college football programs, combining for 22 national championships. The teams have played 80 times since 1926, with Notre Dame holding a 42-33 advantage - there have also been five ties. Each year, the game's winner takes home a prestigious trophy called the Jeweled Shillelagh.

Texas vs. Oklahoma: One of the greatest rivalries in all of sports, the Red River Rivalry is named after the border river between the states of Texas and Oklahoma. It is often played at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas to accommodate the extremely large crowds. The game has been played 103 times since 1900, with Texas holding a 58-50 advantage. There have been five ties. Not only are these schools relatively close to one another, they are both usually competing for Big 12 Conference and National Championships.

Virginia vs. Maryland: The Virginia Cavaliers and the Maryland Terrapins have been meeting on the football field since 1919. They have played 73 times, with the Terps holding a 41-30-2 advantage. Both schools play in the Atlantic Coast Conference and are only a few hours away from each other, meaning that fans can travel to away games to create some added hype to the rivalry.

Why It's Important: Rivalries are one of the reasons why college football is so special. Students, fans and alumni take pride in their schools and their teams, and the players represent that pride. Playing for your school, your town or your state is an honor. It's a thrill to have your friends, classmates and neighbors cheering for you. Rivalry games mean a lot to fans and it's during these historical matchups that athletes play their hardest.

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