Can u remember back when the Yankees and the Red Sox had pure hatred for each other? When Ohio State and Michigan really didn't like each other at all? What happened to all that passion in the rivalries?
It seems like all the best rivalries aren't as hype and as passionate as they used to be. With Tennessee and Florida set to do battle this week, it seems like there isn't as much buzz. Could it be that the records matter or the fans are interested in other things. It just seems like on the college level, the passion of the rivalries are going away.
In pro baseball, the ultimate sign that rivalries are fading is the rivalry between the Yankees and Red Sox. Back 20 years ago, you would never see a Red Sox player leave and join the hated Evil Empire. Fast forward to today's times and we see where Johnny Damon won the World Series and then left for the hated Yankees for more money.
The examples I used are just a symptom of what is going on in sports. The common denominators that I see in the decline of pro and college rivalries are the passion and the money. Free agency and the disinterest of some collegiate athletes to even put their all into rivalries has killed the rivalries. Hopefully, some of this will change in the next couple of years, but we shall see as time goes on.