After writing an article recently that highlighted the most anticipated matchups for next year, I decided to give my list of the best rivalries in the NCDA. I divided this list into two sections: Tradition Rivalries and Emerging/New Rivalries. Which NCDA rivalry is your favorite? Let me know what you all think in the comment section!
(Listed in no particular order)
Battle of the Valleys
What can be said about this matchup that has not already been said? Grand Valley State and Saginaw Valley State combine for 7 of the last 8 NCDA National Titles. The two teams are consistently at the top of the NCDA standings, so it makes sense that this rivalry has had some amazing games over the years. Sure, I am a bit biased since I am the captain for GVSU, but GVSU vs. SVSU is undoubtedly one of the best rivalries in college dodgeball.
Battle of the Bluegrass
Kentucky vs. Western Kentucky as I have stated in the past, is an underrated rivalry. These teams compete several times a year, in a battle for bragging rights in the state of Kentucky. WKU was the better team during the early years of the rivalry, while the past few seasons belonged to UK. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next chapter of this rivalry, starting next season.
Ohio State vs. Kent State
This game has determined bragging rights in the state of Ohio for several years. The top two teams in this region clash several times a year. While this matchup has recently been owned by Kent State, look for a more competitive matchup next season. OSU has a young talented team that may be ready to capitalize on the departure of many of Kent State’s top performers.
Battle of the Brown Line
This matchup between DePaul and Moody Bible Institute is no longer played due to Moody Bible not having a dodgeball team anymore. Yet, this game makes my list for several reasons. Both teams reside in Chicago, making it more interesting considering how close the schools are. In the past this game would be played several times a year, many of the games being fairly close. The “Battle of the Brown Line” has never been a matchup of two of the top teams in the NCDA, but this rivalry still deserves some recognition.
Kent State vs. James Madison
Don’t ask me why I left this game out when I made my list of top ten most anticipated matchups of 2014-15. I honestly don’t know what caused me to forget such a heated rivalry. These two teams play quite often despite being located a good distance from each other. Arguably the most exciting game of the 2013-14 season was when these squads paired up at the BEAST III tournament. Kent State has a huge lead in the overall series between the two (JMU’s first victory over Kent came last season), and has current bragging rights after taking down the Dukes at BEAST III, but don’t think they have complete control of this interesting rivalry.
Maryland vs. Towson
This in-state matchup has seen it’s fair share of close games. Including this past season when UMD eliminated Towson from the national tournament. Both of these teams are un the rise, which should make this matchup even more interesting in years to come.
James Madison vs. Virginia Commonwealth
Sure, this hasn’t been a tightly contested rivalry in the past. But it is another in-state rivalry worth noting. As the East Coast teams continue to improve, expect this rivalry to become more and more interesting.
Michigan State vs. Penn State
This matchup between two Big Ten schools is far from heated right now. PSU has only been an NCDA member team for a little over a year, and did not get to compete at Nationals. While this might not strike you as a “rivalry”, I hope to see this matchup flourish over the next few years and turn into an annual battle between two Big Ten foes.
Northwestern State vs. North Texas
This is another matchup that may seem puzzling at first, but hear me out. NSULA and UNT don’t get the opportunity to play many games throughout the season due to their location. While these squads are not traditional rivals, I think that their ability to play each other more than any other opponent will cause this to become a very competitive matchup. Until the NCDA expands south, these teams will be isolated from the rest of the league in a sense, causing their rivalry to develop.