The USFL has christened its second week as “Rivalry Week” and the rivalries are fascinating in their own right. This is a step further than anything the AAF or XFL did as neither of those leagues made efforts to market any rivalries.
Of course, rivalries are hard in an eight-team league that is geographically dispersed, yet the USFL is doing the best it can. So, I will tackle the burdensome task of ranking all four of the league’s rivalries.
These are lowkey some wild rivalries. Like how are you going to make a Michigan-New Jersey rivalry hype? 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/PfW5dvI3DW
This is arguably the most random “rivalry” since UCF and UConn’s Civil ConFLiCT. The two franchises are far from one another and the only thing in common between them is the fact they are indeed in the Northern United States.
One bright spot is the game does have a Big Ten-flair to it as one can look at it as a Spring football version of Rutgers-Michigan/Michigan State. However, those can hardly be called rivalries as Rutgers has a combined 5-16 record against the Big Ten’s Michigan schools and also gave Eastern Michigan their first Power Five win ever.
Alliteration aside, this rivalry is also very random with visions of horses galloping across the Wild West seemed to inspire this one. New Orleans would have been a better rival for Houston, but New Orleans already found a stellar rival (see below).
The Houston Cougars’ two appearances in the PapaJohns.Com/BBVA Compass/Birmingham Bowl add some history to this, along with Houston and UAB’s coresidence in Conference USA from 1999-2012. Otherwise, this rivalry seems like it was hastily crafted.
The NFC South lives on in the Spring as the league took a page from the Buccaneers-Saints rivalry and made another alliterative rivalry. The two cities have pro football history with one another and the name rocks. This one is a win for the league. This rivalry has a solid chance at success once the teams actually begin to play in their home cities.
The college football fan in me also has to add points for Tulane and USF being Conference USA cohorts in 2003 and 2004 as well.
Of course, the leagues’ only intrastate clash tops this list. Even though Philadelphia and Pittsburgh only reside in the same division in the NHL, battles for state bragging rights are always fun.
The USFL needs to make this game the flagship rivalry of the league, but this comes with a challenge with the game having such a regional flair. With the right amount of marketing and trash talk mixed together, this rivalry can be the USFL’s version of Browns-Bengals or Chargers-Raiders.
Jackie DeShannon be damned, what the world needs now is more rivalries and the USFL has delivered, even if it had to create them out of thin air.
What is your favorite USFL rivalry? Let us know down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.