It is one of the oldest rivalries in the country, pitching scholar against scholar and alumni against alumni, whether in the lab, lecture hall or on the river during the Boat Race.
And now it is the turn of Oxford University to crow a bit more loudly over its ancient rival Cambridge, after the world university rankings showed the gap between the two growing ever wider.
While the University of Oxford has been ranked first in the Times Higher Education (THE) world rankings for the fifth year in a row, Cambridge has dropped from third place to sixth.
The THE’s experts say this is due to a fall in the number of PhDs being awarded at Cambridge compared to undergraduate degrees and a fall in the amount of income from industry being generated by the university’s academic and research staff.
Phil Baty, chief knowledge officer at THE told The Telegraph: “The more research intensive a university is, the more PhDs you would see. While Cambridge also saw a decline in research income coming from industry, it did actually improve its overall research funding position, absorbing the drop in industry funding through other income sources.”
He added: “The teaching and research prowess of these institutions is jaw-dropping, and the competition at the top end of the ranking is extremely fierce. A tiny movement in the overall score is enough to cause a drop of multiple places.”
But it’s not only the light blue flag of Cambridge that is flying a bit more limply today.
Imperial College London has fallen out of the top 10 all together, while more than half of the British universities in the top 200 having dropped at least one place in the past 12 months.
Overall, the UK has 29 universities in the top 200, up slightly from 28 last year.
The annual list rates more than 1,500 universities from 93 countries and regions in five areas: teaching, research, citations, international outlook and industry income.
The rankings show Oxford – which has been making headlines recently with its work on a coronavirus vaccine – being once again named the best-performing university globally, ahead of Stanford University in the US, which took second place.
Professor Louise Richardson, vice-chancellor of Oxford University, said: "We are delighted to have consolidated our position at the top of the THE World University Rankings this year.
"The international standing of British higher education is a testament to generations of investment in education as well as to our extraordinarily talented staff and students."
However, US universities dominated the top 10, claiming a record eight places.
Education experts have warned that the coronavirus pandemic heralds "a perfect storm" of challenges for UK universities that now risk losing precious income from international student fees and a quickening of the academic brain drain to institutions overseas.
They say a hard Brexit – combined with the effect of coronavirus – could make British universities "increasingly vulnerable", with the UK running the risk of losing its status as a "higher education superpower".
Mr Baty said: "Before we even see the impact of Covid-19 and Brexit trickle down to our data the UK stands at an all-time low of just two universities in the global top 10.
"These gathering forces could create the perfect storm for British universities. Coronavirus delivers the joint challenges of attracting international students, whose fees many universities are reliant on, and global academic talent, vital to having world-leading teaching and research.
"The Government's response to the pandemic could also be seen to damage attractiveness."
He added: "If a hard Brexit follows the economic pain of Covid-19, our universities could become increasingly vulnerable, as we see ever increasing funding challenges that are unlikely to be able to be covered by the public purse.
"If this happens, Britain runs the very real risk of losing its status as a higher-education superpower."
In the top 50 alongside Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial this year are University College London (16th), the London School of Economics and Political Science (27th), Edinburgh University (30th), and King's College London (35th).