College football is approaching, so I made this list to tide me over until the first snap. I have compiled this list based on how interesting and original each trophy is. This is not however a list of the best rivalries. I tried to stay away from that fact and stuck with just the trophies overall. This list is also only Division I trophies. With that in mind, here is the list:
10. The Apple Cup
Washington University and Washington State play for this trophy in the battle for the state of Washington every year. It is named for the well known apple growing throughout the state, but was originally named The Governors Trophy before 1962. It has been awarded to either team every year since the 1962 name change.
Washington leads 32-14
9. Jeweled Shillelagh
Norte Dame and USC play for this trophy each year since 1952 to commemorate the start of the rivalry back in 1926. It is a Gaelic war club from Ireland that is made from oak. A ruby is placed onto it for a USC victory and an Emerald is put on for every Notre Dame win. For ties, a combination medallion is used. The original was retired in 1989 and is on display at Notre Dame.
Notre Dame leads, 42-32-5
8. Commander-in-Chief's Trophy
Awarded in a triangle format between the Army, Navy, and Air Force teams every year. In 1972, Air Force General George B. Simler thought there should be more meaning to the games that Air Force played against Army and Navy, so a trophy that had three silver footballs on top with each mascot situated below each of the footballs was introduced. The president has actually awarded the trophy to the winning team on several occasions.
Air Force leads with 16 wins
7. Old Oaken Bucket
One of the oldest trophies awarded in college football, it is awarded to the winner each year between Indiana and Purdue. It was first awarded in 1925 and was thought that it represented the "The most typical Hoosier form of trophy." The bucket was found in a well somewhere in Indiana and was wrapped with a bronze chain that held the letters "I" and "P" to represent Indiana and Purdue. There is even a poem about it.
Purdue leads, 54-26-3
6. The Platypus Trophy
Awarded every year to either Oregon or Oregon State since 1959 to 1961, but was lost for more than 40 years. It was rediscovered in 2005 and was first re-awarded in 2007 since being found. A platypus carved from maple is atop the trophy to represent a combination of both mascots (duck and beaver).
Oregon State has won the only three times it has been awarded.
5. Illy Illibuck Trophy
A wooden turtle is awarded to the winner of the Illinois and Ohio State game every year. The trophy was actually a live turtle when it was first awarded from 1925 to 1927. Since the turtle passed on, there has been nine replicas made from wood.
Ohio State leads, 56-23-2
4. Indian War Drum
The winner between Missouri and Kansas in the Border Showdown is awarded The Indian War Drum. Both schools went to a pawnshop in Kansas City in 1935 where they bought the drum. After the drum went missing in the 1980's, the Taos Indians from New Mexico made a new one for the schools. The original was found in a basement in Read Hall in Columbia and is now in the College Football Hall of Fame.
Missouri leads 39-30
3. Paul Bunyan's Axe
One of the most heated rivalries, the Paul Bunyan Axe is awarded to the winner between Minnesota and Wisconsin. It was first awarded in 1948 to replace the Slab of Bacon which was a piece of wood with the letter W or M, which ever way you wanted to look at it. The scores are etched into the handle from every game.
Wisconsin leads, 33-24-3
2. Floyd of Rosedale
A bronze pig is awarded to the winner between Minnesota and Iowa every year. It started with a bet between the two governors of the states. The bet was on the 1935 game where Iowa lost resulting in the Iowa Governor giving Minnesota Governor Floyd B. Olsen a state champion hog named Floyd of Rosedale. A bronze figure was modeled after the hog which is now awarded every year.
Minnesota leads, 39-32-2
1. The Stanford Axe
This is number one for not only what the trophy is, but what measures were taken to keep it in the hands of either Cal or Stanford students. A standard axe was introduced before the 1899 game where Stanford fans decapitated the head of a straw man that had blue and gold ribbons on it. Days later, Cal students came up and stole it from Stanford students at a basketball game where the handle was broken off. The head of the axe was then smuggled past police on the Stanford campus back to Berkley.
Twenty one Stanford students known as the Immortal 21 got the axe back in 1930 even though it was kept in a bank vault and armored car when not at a game. The Stanford students picked the spring axe rally at Cal as the time to take it back. The Immortal 21 posed as photographers as they blinded the axe keeper and started a scuffle and shot tear gas while other Stanford students posing as Cal students picked it up and sped off in one of three cars on standby. In, 1933 both schools agreed to designate the axe as the trophy for the winner of the football game played every year.
Stanford leads 38-31-3