Ranking every current Big 12 rivalry: Is the Sunflower Showdown the biggest rivalry?

The Sunflower Showdown is a heated rivalry, but how does it rank against other Big 12 rivalries?
Kansas State freshman wide receiver Jayce Brown (1) runs the ball during the fourth quarter of Saturday's Sunflower Showdown against Kansas inside David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.
Kansas State freshman wide receiver Jayce Brown (1) runs the ball during the fourth quarter of Saturday's Sunflower Showdown against Kansas inside David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. / Evert Nelson/The Capital-Journal / USA

Rivalries are getting turned upside down with the departure of Texas and Oklahoma from the Big 12. There will no longer be the classic Bedlam showdown as Oklahoma moves to the SEC and Oklahoma State stays in the Big 12.

The Big 12 also misses out on the classic Oklahoma and Texas showdown as it takes center stage in the SEC.

Rivalries are what everyone looks forward to every season. They are the games that fanbases can't wait to watch hoping that their team will take down their rival yet again so they can have bragging rights for the next year.

So with the departure of Oklahoma and Texas and the Big 12 welcoming Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah, there will be new rivalries. So how does each Big 12 current rival rank?

5. Holy War: BYU vs. Utah

The Holy War rivalry between BYU and Utah will be rekindled as a conference rivalry with both schools now in the Big 12. These are the two largest schools in Utah with students who are both a part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The rivalry started back in the 1890s and the two programs have played each other every season since 1922 minus the years 1943 through 1945. Both schools were once in the Mountain West Conference till 2011 when both left. With BYU joining the Big 12 in 2023 and Utah joining in 2024, this will now be a conference rivalry yet again.

4. Cincinnati-UCF football rivalry

This is definitely a younger rivalry with the two teams meeting for the first time in 2015, but it is a fierce one already. With UCF leaving USF behind in the American Athletic Conference, it allows this rivalry to grow.

This rivalry is one that has grown the most on the football field with UCF running so that Cincinnati could fly. Without the 2017 undefeated UCF football team, Group of Five schools would not have had the exposure they did so that Cincinnati was able to make the College Football Playoff.

Now that both teams are in the Big 12 and looking for true rivals, the Knights and the Bearcats have a hatred growing, and a beloved rivalry between the fanbases.

3. The Bluebonnet Battle: Baylor vs. TCU

The Bluebonnet Battle is also informally known as the Revivalry. The Bluebonnet Battle gets its name from the state of Texas and the bluebonnets that line I-35 in the prairies that the two schools are located in.

This is a natural rivalry with both schools being in the same state. The first game was played in 1899 and the 119-game series is one of the oldest and most played in college football. TCU leads the series 59-53-7, making it a close series that could turn in the next couple of years.

2. Duel of the Desert: Arizona vs. Arizona State

This rivalry has many names, including the Duel of the Desert, the Battle of Arizona, the Grand Canyon Rivalry, the Desert Wars, and the Cactus War. All great names, but the Duel of the Desert is a natural rivalry between Arizona and Arizona State.

This is another long-standing rivalry that started back in 1899 when Arizona State won the first matchup. The two schools have played every year since and the all-time record is a close one with Arizona leading it 51-46-1.

1. Sunflower Showdown: Kansas State vs. Kansas

The Sunflower Showdown between Kansas State and Kansas is anything but flowers and rainbows. This is an intense rivalry between two schools that are territorial over their state and their teams. The rivalry is most popular in football and men's basketball, but it is still heated in all other sports.

Kansas does hold the lead in both the football and men's basketball all-time records. However, Kansas State has been dominating on the football since 2000 with the Wildcats currently on a 15-game win streak. Kansas does dominate on the basketball court, but, Kansas State has been able to to pull off some wins in the past few years.

This is a heated rivalry that decides who owns the state and bragging rights for the year.