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Why do we love the SEC? Aside from winning championships, rivalries help fuel the tradition and passion of the game we love the most. They’re colorful, they’re rich, and all of them are fierce.

Some intriguing rivalries are falling, though, but from a historical perspective, they’re still relevant and beautiful. They come in different shapes and sizes. Some are new hate, while some are entirely old-fashioned hate. Ranking the 10 best is a monumental task.

Let’s roll:

Heated feuds

1. LSU vs. Alabama
2. Florida vs. Georgia

The LSU-Alabama game is always the most physical game of the season. Two powerhouse rivals hitting each other in the mouth is also – in normal years – the most important game of the year. Although Texas A&M-Alabama overshadows this SEC West bout for 2013, it’s still the game every year with the most national championship implications. The Tide lead 47-25-5 overall, but the Tigers have won seven of the last 10 regular season games…Oh hello, Georgia. The Bulldogs have won two straight against the Gators for the first time since the late ‘80s, throwing some gasoline on what has been a dormant fire. From the Gator Stomp in ‘07 and Urban Meyer’s ‘08 timeouts to the eye gouge in ‘09 and Jarvis Jones’ forced fumble at the goal line in ‘12, this rivalry has been entertaining. It’s the East’s biggest rivalry game. Let’s just hope this game isn’t as ugly as last year’s.

Best all-time rivalry

3. Alabama vs. Auburn

Iron Bowl: Although Bama has won the last two and four of the last five, Auburn has won seven of the last 11, including the 2010 national championship. The state of Alabama owns the last four national titles. It doesn’t get any nastier than that. Oh, but there was that one guy who poisoned the trees.

Two underrated rivalries

4. South Carolina vs. Georgia
5. Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State

South Carolina-Georgia has become the SEC’s most underrated rivalry. I funneled all thoughts on this early-season developing rivalry here…The Egg Bowl isn’t underrated within the state of Mississippi, but outside the state, few tend to soak up and recognize the passion and hatred between the two. Now that Hugh Freeze has arrived on the scene, MSU’s three-game winning streak ended last season. This is a very interesting storyline as both teams struggle for supremacy within The Magnolia State. The Rebels lead the series 61-42-6.

All-time greats

6. Alabama vs. Tennessee
7. Auburn vs. Georgia
8. Arkansas vs. LSU

The Third Saturday in October is a historical rivalry between the two winningest teams in the SEC. The Tide have won the last six games and lead 49-38-7 overall. Can Butch Jones add any spice to the rivalry?…The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry has seen Georgia win the last seven of 10 games, bringing the series to a 54-54-8 overall tie. Who wins the tiebreaker in 2013? It should be a better than expected game…2013 will be the last season – for the foreseeable future – the Battle of the Boot will happen the last week of the season. It shifts to another week in the 2014 schedule, but this one is usually close. The Tigers lead the series 36-20-2.

Rising rivalries

9. Alabama vs. Texas A&M
10. Florida vs. LSU

Alabama-Texas A&M is a new, developing rivalry fueled by the only blemish on Alabama’s 2012 schedule and Johnny Manziel. It’s the biggest revenge game of 2013, and with the brand Texas A&M is developing, this will be a heated divisional rivalry for the foreseeable future. This is college football’s biggest game of 2013…Taking only a backseat to LSU-Alabama, Florida-LSU is the second most physical matchup of the season. Les Miles has voiced his frustration, and Will Muschamp welcomes it. The teams are evenly split 5-5 in the last 10 games.

Just missed the cut:

  • Tennessee vs. Florida
  • LSU vs. Ole Miss
  • Arkansas vs. Texas A&M
  • Vanderbilt vs. Tennessee

Photo Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE