Welcome to a new week here on the MTB College Sports Bucket List and it's going to be a week full of great games as we continue the countdown. Today, it's one of the smallest states in the Union that's also home to one of the most contentious, bitter, and newest rivalries in college sports - Delaware vs. Delaware State, which comes in 65th on our list.
Prior to 2009 the Blue Hens of Delaware hadn't played their intra-state rivals, the Hornets of Delaware State, ever in a regular season game. In fact if it weren't for a 2007 NCAA 1-AA Playoff game that saw a record crowd of nearly 20,000 at Delaware Stadium these teams would've never have met.
The controversy really got going thanks to a 2007 E!SPN Page 2 article claiming some of the reason had to do with DSU being a Historically Black University, but many other MEAC programs (the conference the Hornets belong to) have played UD in the past and it was taken as an affront by many in the Blue Hens community. They also pointed out that the two programs weren't on the same level in terms of competitiveness and that other sports play games between the two schools.
That all changed thanks to an opponent canceling on the Blue Hens in 2009 and this series, known as the Route 1 Rivalry, and played for the First State Cup, began in earnest. Because of the capacity at Delaware Stadium being quite a bit larger the games are all scheduled to be played there.
While this game has only been played twice with Delaware winning 27-17 and 45-0 in those games anytime you have intrastate public schools going at it on the football field it's must see stuff. Over 20,000 people saw the first edition of the Route 1 Rivalry and over 18,000 attended last years game. The game is scheduled to happen again in 2012, 2013, and 2014 and I'd expect it to be extended as it's a good thing for the state as a whole.
The game isn't quite as bitter on the field as it is off the field for the obvious reasons of one side feeling like the other ducked them. However, the final score in 2011 may serve as an impetious for this one to start getting nasty on the field of play as no one likes to be embarrassed, let alone shutout by a rival.
While this game is young and not as competitive as some of the others, the feelings surrounding the game and what it means to the Union's First State make this a must see event and why it lands so high on our College Sports Bucket List.