The 8 Most Bizarre College Football Rivalry Trophies, Ranked
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College football rivalries are what the sport is all about. The other 11 games on the schedule are nothing compared to squaring off against the team whose colors make you sick.

Rivalries are nothing without history, and what better way to celebrate history than with a commemorative trophy?

Several heated matchups around the country award trophies to the winner. Most of the them have a historic significance. Others were started on the Internet. Then, there are some that are purely random.

I made it my life’s mission to find the trophies that make you say “WOAH!” The trophies that make you scratch your head. The trophies that make you wonder what the creator was on when they thought of it.

Here are the eight that caught my attention.

The 8 Most Bizarre College Football Rivalry Trophies

8. Jeweled Shillelagh: USC vs. Notre Dame

RELATED: The 25 Best Rivalries in College Football, Ranked

The winner of the USC and Notre Dame annual matchup wanted more than bragging rights when the two powerhouses first faced off in 1926. So, they also played for a jeweled shillelagh, or an Irish club in layman’s terms. The winner of the game adds its own unique jewel to the trophy.

7. The Platypus Trophy: Oregon vs. Oregon State

Oregon and Oregon State played their first football game in 1894. The winner of the 127-year-old rivalry, formerly known as the Civil War, receives the Platypus Trophy. Platypuses have a deep-rooted history in the Pacific Northwest….of Australia. Nonetheless, the animal was chosen because of its duck-like beak and beaver-like tail–paying homage to each school’s mascot.

6. Iron Skillet: TCU vs. SMU

Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Back in 1946, a SMU fan allegedly fried frog legs before the Mustangs’ annual showdown against the TCU Horned Frogs. A TCU fan saw and suggested the pan should be awarded to the winning team. So began a long Dallas-Forth Worth tradition.

5. Illibuck: Illinois vs. Ohio State

You can’t think of Illinois and Ohio without thinking of turtles. In 1925, 22 years after the rivalry began, someone came up with the idea of awarding a live turtle to the Illinois and Ohio State winner to symbolize the rivalry’s longevity. When the turtle died four years later, a carved wooden turtle took the mantle and has been used ever since.

4. $5 Bits of Broken Chair Trophy: Nebraska vs. Minnesota

Minnesota might as well have a rivalry trophy with every team in the Big Ten. The Gophers have five — count them — five rivalry trophies across the conference. The most recent is the $5 Bits of Broken Chair Trophy with Nebraska. Started in 2014 from a Twitter exchange between Goldy the Gopher and Bo Pelini parody account “Faux Pelini,” the trophy has become the people’s hardware of the Big Ten West matchup regardless if the universities acknowledge it or not.


3. Battle of the Bones: Memphis vs. UAB

Memphis and Birmingham have a reputation for delicious barbecue. What better way to show appreciation for the shared culinary history than with a 100-pound bronze slab of ribs?

2. Old Brass Spittoon: Michigan State vs. Indiana

In 1950, the Michigan State Spartans needed a reason to get amped up for Indiana after losing a heartbreaker to Notre Dame. Members of the student body went out and figured a spittoon would be worth playing for the next week against Indiana. It somehow worked and has been a staple of the rivalry ever since.

1. The Troll: Concordia-Moorhead vs. St. Olaf

The most bizarre college football trophy is given to the winner of Concordia Moorhead and St. Olaf. The Troll, introduced by the NCAA Division III schools in 1974, is primarily made of moss and pinecones. For those wondering what Bigfoot would look like if he fused with an elephant, look no further than The Troll.

Honorable Mentions

The Floyd of Rosedale: Iowa vs. Minnesota

Golden Egg: Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State

Keg of Nails: Cincinnati vs. Louisville

Paul Bunyan’s Axe: Minnesota vs. Wisconsin

Golden Hat: Texas vs. Oklahoma

Bronze Boot: Colorado State vs. Wyoming

Stanford Axe: Stanford vs. California

Fremont Cannon: Nevada vs. UNLV

Little Brown Jug: Michigan vs. Minnesota

Wagon Wheel: BYU vs. Utah State

The Belt: South Alabama vs. Troy

Old Oaken Bucket: Purdue vs. Indiana

Victory Bell: Cincinnati vs. Miami (Ohio)

Land of Lincoln Trophy: Illinois vs. Northwestern

Okefenokee Oar: Florida vs. Georgia

Land Grant Trophy: Michigan State vs. Penn State

O’Rourke-McFadden Trophy: Boston College vs. Clemson

Paniolo Trophy: Hawaii vs. Wyoming

Old Oil Can: Fresno State vs. San Diego State

Paul Bunyan Trophy: Michigan vs. Michigan State

Crab Bowl Trophy: Maryland vs. Navy

The Telephone Trophy: Missouri vs. Iowa State

MORE: The 10 Best Marching Bands in College Football, Ranked

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Joe Grobeck About the author:
Joe is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and lives in Austin, Texas. He believes Ndaumkong Suh should've won the 2009 Heisman and is an avid basketball fan.
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