Most individuals probably have a slightly different opinion on what exactly an urban legend is, but one thing is certain: Urban legends have been around college football for well over 100 years and there are plenty to speak of.
According to About.com, "an urban legend is an apocryphal, secondhand story, alleged to be true and just plausible enough to be believed, about some horrific, embarrassing, ironic or exasperating series of events that supposedly happened to a real person."
So what are the most memorable urban legends in college football history? Are the legends really true, or have they proven to be false?
Read on to find out just what they might be.
Urban Legend: One of Georgetown's canine mascots was a war hero.
Georgetown is not a university known for its football, but back in the early 1920s, the Hoyas possessed a mascot that was a hero from World War I.
He was smuggled to France by Private Robert Conroy and suffered an injury when he was exposed to German gas. This allowed him to become very sensitive to gas and he alerted American troops one morning when there was a gas smell. He was just ahead of a mustard gas attack and might have saved the entire division.
The pit bull and terrier mix became known as Stubby, as he was injured in a grenade attack.
He eventually came back to the United States and was a mascot for the Georgetown Hoyas from 1921-23.
Quite a story and a very heroic dog as well.
Urban Legend: James Gamble Nippert is buried under his memorial in the south end of Nippert Stadium.
Historic Nippert Stadium on the campus of the University of Cincinnati is named after former player James Nippert, whose grandfather donated the money for the its completion.
Legend has it that upon his death in 1923—a month after suffering an injury in the final game of the season against rival Miami—Nippert passed away from blood poisoning.
Some believe he is buried in the south end of the stadium under his memorial, similar to the legend of Jimmy Hoffa.
That is not the case, however, as he is actually buried in Spring Grove Cemetery a few miles from campus.
Urban Legend: Wide receiver Adam James was locked in a closet.
This is one of the more disturbing stories college football has seen in recent years, and it ended up costing former head coach Mike Leach his job.
There are obviously two sides to this story, as James claims he was locked in a dark room, and Leach says the room was never locked.
It is hard to say for certain whether or not this urban legend is true, but judging by what happened to Leach, it appears this really happened.
Urban Legend: The NFL tried to trademark "The Big Game."
There is no doubt that "The Big Game" between Stanford and California is the most talked-about game in college football history.
In 2006, the NFL tried to register a trademark claim for "The Big Game" prior to the Super Bowl. The slogan was "Come Watch The Big Game This Sunday at 6pm!"
Eventually the NFL decided it was not in its best interest to pursue it and backed off of its registration.
Urban Legend: Head coach Les Miles eats grass during the games.
This is still happening today, so it might be a few decades before this is an official urban legend, but by that time it will be one of the most talked-about in all of college football.
Whether it is a nervous habit or just something out of the ordinary, Miles has been seen eating grass on a few different occasions during LSU games.
This is something that is very hard to believe, but since it has been caught on film, it is 100% true.
Urban Legend: During the 1995 season, quarterback Tommie Frazier was never sacked
Everybody knows Nebraska was an option offense when head coach Tom Osborne was in charge, but this urban legend has two parts to it that many might find unbelievable.
The first of those is that quarterback Tommie Frazier was never sacked during the 1995 season. That is a stat that is almost too good to be true.
Some may think it was because of the rushing attack, but the truth is that Frazier never rushed for 1,000 yards in a season, and in 1995 he dropped back to pass 163 times while completing 93 passes.
He was not sacked even once in those 163 times, and that is a fact.
Urban Legend: Fresno State wears a "V" on its helmets for "Victory."
Since the late 1990s, the Fresno State helmets have featured a letter "V" on the back, right in the center.
An urban legend emerged, saying the "V" stood for "Victory."
This was proved to be false when Pat Hill took over as the head coach in 1997. The "V" actually stands for Central Valley, which is the region where Fresno State is located.
The Bulldogs are the only FBS program in the region, which is the reason for the "V." It also means that this urban legend is false.
Urban Legend: It was required that Kenan Memorial Stadium never rise above the pine trees surrounding the stadium.
Kenan Stadium was built in 1927, and it was said that during that time a deed was produced saying the stadium could never rise above the pine trees found behind the entire stadium.
Over the years, there have been multiple additions to the stadium that have started to cover the pine trees.
That leaves reason to believe that this urban legend is not true and proves that money eventually rules over just about everything.
Urban Legend: Former player Bennie Oosterbaan did not play professionally because of his religious beliefs.
Bennie Oosterbaan starred at Michigan during the 1920s and was one of the best athletes in the history of the school.
He starred not only in football, but also in basketball and baseball as well.
After graduation, he chose not to play any sports professionally because of his religious convictions.
Instead, he returned to Michigan and became an assistant coach for both basketball and football. He eventually became a head coach for both teams and led the football squad to a national championship in 1948.
Urban Legend: Sun Devil Stadium went through a major makeover preparing for the visit of Pope John Paul II in the 1980s.
When the Pope came to visit Arizona in 1987, the most logical place to have him was Sun Devil Stadium. It held enough people and was the obvious choice—except for its name.
Stadium personnel went around the stadium and covered up every sight of the word "Devil." They even considered changing the wording to read "Sun Angel Stadium," though that did not quite happen.
The Pope showed up and mass was held with no evidence of the Arizona State mascot anywhere.
Urban Legend: The 2003 Florida Gators media guide featured a crocodile by mistake.
It is not that hard to mix up an alligator and a crocodile, but when the mascot of the school is one of the two, messing that up can be a monumental mistake.
That was exactly the case for the Florida Gators on the 2003 football media guide.
The school apparently asked for an alligator on the front but had to settle for a crocodile when the programs were incorrectly shipped.
This was a mistake that was certainly not easy to live down.
Certainly worthy of a laugh if nothing else.
Urban Legend: Bronko Nagurski was discovered by Minnesota head coach Clarence Spears while he was plowing a farm by the road.
Bronko Nagurski is one of the greatest players in NFL history, and his family moved to Minnesota from Canada when he was a young kid.
It was alleged that Spears saw him plowing a field without a horse when he stopped to ask for directions. Nagurski pointed out the right way, all while holding onto the plow.
This was never actually proven to be true and seems a little far-fetched.
Urban Legend: The original mascot name for Stanford was voted to be the "Robber Barrons."
The first "Big Game" took place in 1891 and the headline from that game read, "Cardinal Triumphs O'er Blue and Gold."
This was the first mention of the name Cardinal; even though the name Stanford Indians had come to prominence in 1930, students had voted on a new name by 1972.
"Robber Barrons" was their pick, after wealthy industrialist Leland Stanford, who had made millions in the railroad industry. Stanford was also the founder of the university.
The school did not officially accept this selection, but the fact that it happened is still very true.
Urban Legend: Ohio State once gave up a touchdown to its own player.
This urban legend dates all the way back to October 22, 1898. The Buckeyes were playing host to Marietta College and trailing 3-0 in the second half.
Marietta traveled to the game with only one backup player and once two of its players were injured, the team was down to just 10 healthy players.
Ohio State halfback Bob Hager switched teams so Marietta would not have to forfeit.
He then proceeded to score on a 67-yard touchdown, giving Marietta a 10-0 victory and allowing Ohio State to give up a touchdown to its own player.
Ohio State head coach Frederick "Jack" Ryder was fired at the end of the season.
No doubt that this legend is 100% true.
Urban Legend: George Gipp underwent a paternity test more than 85 years after he passed away.
George Gipp was an All-American at Notre Dame almost 100 years ago in 1920, and he tragically passed away in December of his senior year from strep throat.
"Win one for the Gipper" eventually became a saying not only at Notre Dame, but also one of the most popular sayings in all of sports. It is still widely used today.
Back in 2007, a paternity test took place on Gipp to see if he was the father of a baby that was born right around the time he died.
Gipp was not a match, but this urban legend still happened.
Urban Legend: Ole Miss changed the speed limit around campus in honor of Archie Manning.
There is no question that former quarterback Archie Manning is a legend as far as Ole Miss is concerned.
He set various records during his three seasons with the Rebels and wore No. 18.
The speed limit on the Ole Miss campus was changed to 18 miles per hour to honor Manning.
Urban Legend: Two U.S. Presidents helped restore the Army-Navy football game.
Army and Navy will forever be connected, and a lot of that began in 1894 when President Grover Cleveland called a Cabinet meeting to discuss the Army-Navy game.
There was talk about the game being canceled because both teams could only play games on their home field.
So the game stopped for three years.
Then when Theodore Roosevelt became president he called the presidents of Army, Navy, Harvard, Yale and Princeton to the White House and helped them form the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States.
This helped restore the game that is one of the greatest rivalries in football.
Urban Legend: A panty raid helped Auburn win the 1957 national championship.
The 1957 Auburn national championship was split with Ohio State, as the Buckeyes claimed the coach's championship and the Tigers were AP national champions.
One reason for the success of the team was the play of quarterback Lloyd Nix.
He had lost the starting job, but was thrown back into the role after a panty raid in the dorm involving starting quarterback Jimmy Cooke, who was kicked off the team.
This proved to be the right decision for head coach Ralph Jordan, as Nix led the team to a 10-0 mark.
Urban Legend: Former Notre Dame head coach Knute Rockne was killed by the mob.
Even though he was one of the greatest coaches in college football history, Knute Rockne only lived to the age of 43 before he was killed in a bizarre plane crash.
Years later, stories began to surface concerning the circumstances surrounding the death of one of the most famous people in the entire country.
Rockne was still coaching Notre Dame at the time of his death and had already amassed a record of 105-12-5 during his time with the Fighting Irish.
No doubt this could be a conspiracy, but there is not enough proof here to think this is anything but an urban legend.
Urban Legend: The state of Texas won Pike's Peak from Colorado on a football bet.
During 1938, the governor of Colorado bet the governor of Texas on a football game.
Governor Teller Ammons of Colorado offered up Pike's Peak. These mountains are some of the most famous in the nation. Texas governor James Allred bet Texas' Big Bend Country.
Rice won the game 28-14 and effectively took Pike's Peak.
Allred went to Colorado and climbed to the top of Pike's Peak, where he placed the Texas state flag.
The two even wrestled it out in the snow for fun.
Urban Legend: The Sooners were poisoned before playing Northwestern in 1959.
Most people know that when Bud Wilkinson was the head coach at Oklahoma the team rarely lost, much less be dominated 45-13 by a team like Northwestern.
The entire team with the exception of two players who stayed back dined at Chez Paree nightclub in Chicago. The spot had been picked out months ago and the food was already prepared.
Six players went home sick right after dinner, and the rest stayed for the show. Instead of going home, those six players were taken to the hospital to have their stomachs pumped.
More players came up sick, and it certainly showed on the field.
While it has not been proven completely true, it is hard to disagree with the violent illness of the players.
Urban Legend: "Win one for the Gipper" was coined on the game-winning touchdown against Army.
With Notre Dame trailing 6-0 at halftime against Army in 1928, Knute Rockne made one of the most famous halftime speeches in sports history and seemingly motivated Jack Chevigny to score the winning touchdown. The speech made references to former standout George Gipp, who had suddenly passed away in 1920.
The truth is not exactly what the legend suggests.
Legend has it that Chevigny scored with 2:30 remaining to give Notre Dame a 12-6 victory. It was at this point that he yelled the famous quote that Gipp, while on his deathbed, had asked Rockne to tell his players to say, "That's one for the Gipper."
However, Chevigny's touchdown and what he shouted out came in the third quarter to tie the game at six.
Johnny O'Brien scored the winning touchdown near the end of the game, but did not shout anything to that extent.
This, my friends, is nothing more than an urban legend.
Urban Legend: The blue turf causes ducks to think it is water, dive into the turf and die.
Bronco Stadium was built in 1970 and underwent a change in 1986, when blue AstroTurf was installed. It was the only stadium with that color turf then, and it remains true today.
While it might not seem out of the question for a duck to fly straight into the turf thinking it is water, the fact is this has never been proven.
Maybe the ducks are slightly smarter than we give them credit for.
Urban Legend: Bear Bryant earned his nickname by wrestling a bear.
Bear Bryant is not only one of the best coaches in college football history, but he also has an interesting story for how his nickname "Bear" came to be.
Legend has it that Bryant was 6'1" and 180 pounds at the age of 13. He accepted a challenge to wrestle a bear for $1 at a carnival.
He apparently had his ear bitten and never received the money.
It is difficult to say definitively whether or not this is true, but it is hard to argue with any feat like this from Bryant.
Urban Legend: Woody Hayes once let a turtle chomp on his private parts to help motivate his former team.
This seems to be the most absurd of all the urban legends.
Former Ohio State head coach Woody Hayes was upset about how the Buckeyes fared during the 1985 season. He wanted to display some toughness: Even though he was retired, the 73-year-old Hayes was still a figure at the university.
Earl Bruce was the head coach at the time, and he had invited Hayes to speak just before the season began. Hayes began talking to the team and then allegedly pulled out a snapping turtle from a box he had brought.
He then unzipped his pants and allowed the turtle to bite him in the most sensitive of spots.
That, he said, was a display of toughness. It must have helped, as Ohio State went 10-3 in 1986, including a Cotton Bowl victory over Texas A&M.
Urban Meyer told the story from a first-hand perspective, but it was later proven to be just that: a story.
Still, this tops the list as the best urban legend in college football history.
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