My opinion on what makes a game a "rivalry"
I don't include this in the FAQ because I'm not asked this question in this fashion, but rather am asked why I don't have certain games on these pages. To me (and mind you, I don't know everything about every team), a rivalry has to at least consist of three things:
Many games don't meet these criteria. For instance, even though Penn State and Minnesota to play for the Governor's Victory Bell, they've only played around ten times. They aren't even included automatically on each other's schedules, which is another good test of a rivalry. You know that Texas and Oklahoma are meeting in October. Auburn and Georgia are going to play every year even though they're in opposite divisions of the SEC.
Balance is very important to a rivalry game. There can't be any stretches of dominance by one team over the other to the point where it just becomes a big game for one team. This is why games like Navy-Notre Dame (which have a great past but are foregone conclusions now) aren't included. Games like Tennessee-Vanderbilt and Nebraska-Missouri stands a good chance of falling from the ranks if the dominant side continues their run for another couple of years. One could make the argument that these are too one-sided already.
The third, and hardest-to-judge criteria, is the good old fashioned dislike between the two teams. It's the only subjective category, and so for the most part I have to go by the e-mails that I get from others. I know that Florida and Florida State don't like each other, but I have no idea what goes through a North Carolina fan's mind when one talks about, say, Virginia. I do my best, but I'm going to miss some of these, and make judgment calls on others. On close calls, I err towards the side of inclusion because it obviously was important enough to the people who wrote in.
I also realize that there are a lot of games out there that have been rivalries in the past, but aren't being played (at least yearly) anymore. I'm trying to limit this page to rivalries that are current, but maybe one of these days I'll put up a page detailing now-defunct rivalries.
I realize that this steps on some fans' toes. And I know that I'm not going to please everyone who thinks that every game his or her team plays is a big one. The fact is, a team can only have one, two, or at the very most, three big rivals. The rest of the games are important, but they're just not true rivalries. These are the games that are supposed to be special; if your team's season consists of eleven such games, you don't really have any true rivalries, now do you?