Throughout the rich history of college sports, there have been countless intense and storied rivalries. Things may change quickly, but some things remain eternal. For Boston University, their biggest matchups have stood the test of time, creating a legacy that will never be forgotten. From the ferocious battles on the ice to the intense clashes on the basketball court, BU’s history is filled with iconic moments, legendary players, and, most importantly, fierce competitors. Let’s take a step back in time and revisit some of Boston University’s most culturally significant rivalries.
When it comes to ice hockey, few rivalries can match the intensity and history of BU’s showdowns with Boston College and Northeastern University. Known as the Beanpot, the annual tournament between the four Boston-area schools (BU, BC, Northeastern, and Harvard) is arguably the most prestigious in all of college hockey. However, the real rivalry lies between BU and BC, two fierce competitors who have been battling it out for bragging rights and Beanpot titles for over 50 years.
Since the inception of the tournament in 1952, BU and BC have combined for a staggering 40 championships, with BU holding the edge with 30. The rivalry reached its peak in the 1990s when the two teams met in the championship game five times in six years. Led by legendary coach Jack Parker, BU emerged victorious in four of those matchups, solidifying their dominance in the Beanpot and cementing their place in Boston sports lore.
But it’s not just the Beanpot that has made BU and BC bitter enemies. The two schools also compete in the highly competitive Hockey East conference, regularly facing off in high-stakes games that have provided fans with countless memorable moments. Whether it’s the BU’s epic comeback win over BC in the 2009 Hockey East championship game or BC’s overtime victory over BU in the 2012 Beanpot, these teams never fail to deliver an intense and thrilling matchup.
On the hardwood, BU’s most intense rivalry is with crosstown foe, Boston College. While not always as competitive as their hockey battles, the two schools have a long-standing rivalry that dates back to the 1912-1913 season when they first met on the basketball court.
The rivalry intensified in the late 1970s and early 1980s when both teams were competing at a high level, with BU winning back-to-back conference titles in 1977 and 1978 and Boston College reaching the NCAA Tournament in 1980 and 1983. Between 1981 and 1986, the two teams met five times in the ECAC North playoffs, with BU holding a slight 3-2 edge.
But perhaps the most memorable moment in this rivalry came in the 1990-1991 season when BU upset #20 Boston College in the first round of the ECAC playoffs, en route to their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance. Led by future NBA player Tunji Awojobi, BU would go on to beat another rival, University of Connecticut, in the first round before falling to #1 seed #1 seed North Carolina in the second round. The win over Boston College was not only a defining moment for BU basketball, but it also solidified their place as a legitimate program and set the stage for future success.
While BU no longer has a football team, their rivalry with Northeastern University is worth revisiting. The annual Green Line Rivalry between the two schools began in 1922 and continued until BU disbanded its football program in 1997. This historic rivalry was known for its competitiveness and wild finishes, with BU holding a 49-33-5 advantage over Northeastern in the series.
But perhaps the most iconic moment in this rivalry came in 1969 when BU defeated Northeastern 40-6 at Fenway Park in front of over 30,000 fans. This was not only a record-setting win for BU, but it was also the largest margin of victory in the rivalry’s history. To this day, fans still talk about the electric atmosphere and the unforgettable victory over their crosstown rival.
In the end, it’s not just the records and championships that make these rivalries so important. It’s the passion, the intensity, and the history that surrounds them. From the gridiron to the ice, BU has created a legacy filled with thrilling games, iconic moments, and storied rivalries that will be remembered for generations to come.