Can anyone name UC Riverside’s most despised opponent? It’s not that easy to answer, is it? Truth is, UC Riverside has never really had that one rival that gets fans riled up and passionate whenever the Highlanders play against them.
It’s something that has been missing at UC Riverside since the university’s inception. We don’t have a rival that brings fans together and makes games that much more intriguing. In all honesty, we’ve sometimes had to borrow other schools’ rivals just to make things interesting. Remember that overly-hyped game against USC this year? To be honest, I hated the thought that we had to steal UCLA’s rival just to get our fans excited for a game. It’s not something to be proud of. Seriously, UCR needs an original rival.
Just think of a the benefits that come from a rival school: attendance scores, school passion is increased and our team’s name becomes more relevant in other places. Also, take a look at all the rivalries around the nation. It’s easy to see how much more intriguing competitions become when you look at Harvard versus Yale, Michigan against Ohio State and UCLA against USC. They’re all just so engrossing.
But who’s available? UCI and Fullerton are out since they’re rivals of each other. UC Davis, UCSB, Cal Poly and Northridge are too far away. Pacific is simply irrelevant. So that only leaves Long Beach State. But let’s face it. They’re too good to compete against. They wouldn’t even take it seriously. A rivalry isn’t supposed to be one-sided and that’s what we would get if we made them our rivals.
I hope UCR eventually finds that one team to compete against. Even if it’s not against a conference opponent. A rivalry is a fun part of sports. I would really hate to see our school miss out on that.