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
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
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.
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