TSU vs. Jax State dates back to 1924

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 15, 2000

At every level of football, there are historic rivalry games that elicit emotion and entice tremendous response. On every fan’s calendar, there is a certain game circled in red each fall. The bragging rights fans carry throughout the year seem to flame the already growing passions of rivalry games – wars like Auburn-Alabama, Army-Navy, UCLA-Southern Cal, Texas-Texas A&M and Harvard-Yale. For many, especially in the Deep South, rivalries and bragging rights have become a way of life, with every day pointing toward the date of the game’s renewal.

In those instances, the week leading up to the event is filled with "bowl-like" excitement. The host community is usually in a frenzy, preparing for "The Game" in its own unique way.

Many of the games take on added significance with the awarding of a trophy to the winner. The Little Brown Jug goes to the Michigan-Minnesota winner, the Apple Cup to the victor of Washington-Washington State game. Kentucky and Indiana play for the Bourbon Barrel and Kentucky and Tennessee for the Beer Barrel. Cincinnati and Louisville play for the Keg of Nails. Those games are just a few.

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Division l-AA football is no stranger to the same tradition. In the Southland Football league, Northwestern (La.) State and Stephen F. Austin play for the Chief Caddo trophy each season. Others include the Governor’s Cup (Dartmouth-Princeton) and Silver Shako (The Citadel-VMI).

Rivalries even transcend divisions. There’s the Backyard Bowl (Cheyney-West Chester), Bronze Derby (Newberry-Presbyterian), Heritage Bell (Delta State-Mississippi College) and the Academic Bowl (Carnegie Mellon-Case Reserve) on the NCAA Division II and III 1evels.

Sometimes the games are so big there’s no need to refer to it by name. Examples include Auburn-Alabama (Iron Bowl), California-Stanford (Axe Game), Oklahoma-Texas (Golden Hat), Southern Cal-UCLA (Battle For The Victory Bell) and Florida-Florida State (Governor’s Cup). These games are like Georgia-Florida, or Florida-Georgia – it all depends on to whom you pose the question.

In Alabama, there is another special rivalry other than the Iron Bowl – each season.

It is called the "Battle for the Ol’School Bell." The game pits Troy State against Jacksonville State in a rivalry that dates back to 1924.

The two teams have met 61 times over the past 76 years, including a span of 45 years (1946-90) in which the teams met on an annual basis. In fact, the two schools met twice during the 1948 season.

When Troy State announced its plans to move to Division l-AA from Division II in 1990, the series was interrupted for a span of four years. Jacksonville State moved to l-AA as well in 1995, helping to renew the rivalry. The game is the final conference contest of the season for both teams, which often makes for exciting possibilities.

Since the rivalry’s renewal, the Trojans have won all five meetings by scores of 35-7, 31-21, 49-0, 31-7 and 35-16. That’s a combined score of 181-51, for anyone counting.

The Gamecocks lead the all-time series, 33-26-2. A majority of those wins came during a 13-game win streak from 1954-66. Troy State has made up for lost time, however, winning 10 of the last 13.