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Rating the SEC's most bitter rivalries

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Picking the five most bitter rivalries in the SEC is like picking the five worst criminals at San Quentin. Everybody hates everybody in the SEC. Just about every game that's played is a rivalry of some magnitude. There are bitter intrastate affairs, nasty feuds, coaches who don't like each other, fans who detest certain coaches and players that boil the blood of everybody else in the league but their own fans. It's called the SEC, where football season never ends. So here goes:

1. Alabama vs. Auburn: It's hard to imagine that any other game in college football has the kind of hold on an entire state the way the Iron Bowl does. Families are divided. Friends on opposite sides don't speak the week of the game. Some coaches become icons. Others become ogres. Just ask Tommy Tuberville, whose Tigers have won six in a row.

2. Alabama vs. Tennessee: This is a feud that has transcended football. In fact, the hatred between the fans probably has more to do with what's happened off the field. Tide fans hate Phillip Fulmer for his role in landing Alabama on NCAA probation. Vol fans hate Alabama for not letting it go. Attorneys are serving Fulmer subpoenas or threatening to every time he steps foot in the state of Alabama. Welcome to the circus that is Alabama vs. Tennessee.

3. Florida vs. Georgia: Always one of the more colorful games around the country, the scrap formerly known as the "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party" has added some serious spice thanks to Georgia's dance party in the end zone last season. You get the feeling that Urban Meyer would like to dance on Mark Richt's head. The added bonus is that the Bulldogs and Gators should be two of the best teams in the country this season.

4. Alabama vs. LSU: The LSU fans obviously have short memories. Nick Saban brought a national title to Baton Rouge in 2003 and left a cadre of talent for Les Miles to win another one last season. But Saban is Public Enemy No. 1 now that he's at Alabama, and he goes back to Tiger Stadium this season. His coaches have already told him that they're riding separate buses from the hotel to the stadium.

5. Florida vs. Tennessee: The truth is that Tennessee hasn't done a good job of making this a rivalry since the divisional split, and Phillip Fulmer has yet to beat Urban Meyer. Still, there's some pretty rocky history in this series from former Florida coach Steve Spurrier's frequent jabs at the Vols, to Florida fans allegedly going after Fulmer's wife, Vicky, in the stands back in the 1990s, to the controversial ending of the 2004 game won by Tennessee on a last-second field goal.