Duke vs. North Carolina, the Yankees vs. the Red Sox and Real Madrid vs. Barcelona are among the great sports rivalries in the world. But the Missouri Valley Conference has its own intense rivalry: Drake vs. Creighton.
Drake University in Des Moines and Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., are approximately 130 miles apart, which is about a two-hour drive. Close proximity may cause the tension felt between their sports teams.
Paul Morrison, also known as Mr. Drake, is Drake’s well-known sports historian. Even though Morrison could not pinpoint the source of the rivalry, he admitted that the schools have been clashing for a while.
“When I was a student at Drake back in the late ‘30s, Creighton was a respected opponent of ours in football and basketball as well,” Morrison said. “They were one of the first Jesuit schools to give up football back in the early ‘40s.”
Morrison said that even though the schools clash in many sports, there is a layer of respect between opponents.
“We played them pretty consistently, but I wouldn’t say hate,” Morrison said. “I always thought we had a good rivalry with their sports teams and their student body.”
The dismissal of Creighton’s football program did little to falter the heated rivalry. Every year since the Bluejays joined the MVC in 1977, they have faced the Bulldogs twice a year in basketball. The two schools have played each other 150 times in men’s basketball.
“Everyone knows when we play Creighton. That’s why the Knapp Center is always packed when they come here,” said first-year student Cat Hill. “My night was ruined when we lost to them this year.”
The rivalry also extends to the Office of Admissions. Since the two schools are so close, they often find themselves competing for the same students.
Bobby Griffith is a first-year student at Drake, but he attended Creighton Preparatory School, which was founded the same year as Creighton University in 1878.
“I almost went to Creighton, but I liked Drake better,” Griffith said.
When Drake and Creighton are compared, the similarities are alarming. Both are private institutions with about 3,500 undergraduate students. Drake’s tuition costs about $29,400 a year while Creighton’s tuition costs about $31,800 a year. They were also founded within three years of each other: Creighton in 1878 and Drake in 1881.
This heated rivalry has over 100 years of history, and the characteristics that spark the rivalry are the same that will forever link the universities together.