#5 - North Carolina and Duke
Fierce is perhaps the best word to describe the rivalry between North Carolina and Duke. Passionate also describes how interested parties approach this one.
The dislike that these two Atlantic Coast Conference programs have for each other is not limited to their legendary and highly publicized rivalry in basketball. All the factors that make the basketball rivalry so intense pretty much apply to the soccer match-up as well.
Both programs are considered to be among the best in the country and both recruit some of the same highly regarded players. The fact that the schools are only eight miles apart adds to the intensity and ensures that a good and equally representative fan base will always be present.
There is never a shortage of excitement when the Tar Heels and the Blue Devils face each other whether at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill or Koskinen Stadium in Durham. Somehow the rivalry that exists when these two teams get together seems to take on a meaning that goes beyond a mere sporting event. A crowd of 4,675 was present in 2010 at Koskinen Stadium to see the Tar Heels top Duke 1-0.
#3 - Maryland and Virginia
This one is a long standing rivalry born out of the tremendous success that both programs have enjoyed over the years and the fact that they often stand in each others way when it comes to achieving goals that both programs have their sights set on.
The Terps and Cavaliers have probably faced each other more often in big game situations than any other two teams in the country. This is a rivalry match at its best with a spirited crowd of biased soccer fans always on hand. Consider this, since 1996 Maryland and Virginia have faced each other in the championship match of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament six times.
Both teams play an exciting attack oriented brand of soccer that is enjoyable to watch and that contributes to the electric atmosphere that surrounds this contest whether it is hosted by Virginia at Klockner Stadium or Maryland at Ludwig Field.
The fact that both programs very often compete for the same players on the recruiting trail adds additional fuel to the fire of this contest. The players change but year in and year out this one is a top notch match with plenty on the line. Only a couple of rivalries produce a more fired up fan base than this one.
#4 - Louisville and Kentucky
The people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky take their college sports seriously. Louisville and Kentucky are the two largest universities in the state of Kentucky. There are no professional sports teams in Kentucky so the focus is on the college game and the line is clearly drawn between Louisville and Kentucky. They call this contest the Battle of the Bluegrass. Battle is a good choice of words for there is no lack of intensity and no prisoners are taken so to speak in this one.
This match-up is likely to get even hotter in the future due to the rapid resurgence of the program at Louisville. The Cardinals have topped the Wildcats the last three times the teams have tangled. It is true that there is no love lost between these two programs since bragging rights are on the line. The two schools play each other yearly even though they are in different conferences.
Louisville and the University of Kentucky are only seventy miles apart which fuels the rivalry and ensures that a very healthy and rowdy crowd is on hand when the two tangle. This contest is always well attended as reflected in the fact that over two thousands fans, the sixth largest crowd in program history, was on hand in 2010 at the UK Soccer Complex in Lexington to witness the battle.