Rivalries are part of what makes college football so special. In no other sport, or at any level of football do rivalries mean so much to so many people across the country.
In the long history of college football rivalries, there have been a few centered around old items, such as the Little Brown Jug. Others simply have a more traditional trophy.
Of course, there are some great rivalries that don't have a trophy at all.
This past summer, the Cy-Hawk Trophy was redesigned, and the new trophy was met with almost universal ridicule. The powers that be quickly withdrew the new trophy and created a temporary trophy while a new design was being made.
That got us thinking. What are the worst trophies in college football?
Here's our pick of the top, or should we say bottom, 10 trophies in college football.
Thankfully this trophy never actually made it on to the field following an Iowa-Iowa State game.
The original trophy was simple enough. A running back carrying the ball with the familiar stiff-arm, and the depiction of the two mascots.
The Iowa Corn Growers' Association donated a new trophy to the rivalry, and it's design—a not-at-all-subtle worshiping of almighty corn—was met with blank stares, tilted heads and scowls.
Despite the ICGA's assertion that it was “a work of art that represents Iowans,” a football trophy of a family and bushel of corn didn't really capture the imagination of football fans in the state of Iowa.
Even the governor ridiculed the trophy, and legendary former coach Hayden Fry said he didn't “really get the relationship to a football game.”
In August, the ICGA announced that it was redesigning the trophy, and this time there would be some public input.
This bad trophy can't really be blamed on anyone but the overreaching NCAA.
After the 2008 Illinois/Northwestern game, the old Sweet Sioux Tomahawk was forcibly retired at the behest of the NCAA's policy of political over-correctness. Since it was a trophy that involved American Indian imagery, in was to be forever banished by the NCAA.
Since Northwestern and Illinois played for the Tomahawk since 1945, it seemed like a good idea to have some other trophy to play for.
The result? A bronze top hat. Just doesn't quite carry the same appeal, does it?
Today, local alumni clubs of the two schools around the nation have their own tomahawks that pass back and forth between the various chapters. At least the tradition lives on in the hearts of true college football fans.
There's nothing inherently wrong with relatively new rivalry trophies, except when—like in this case—they just don't make good trophies.
The Paddlewheel Trophy goes to the winner of the River City Rivalry between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. The trophy itself is nearly four feet tall and weighs a whopping 95 pounds.
While it's kind of cool that the trophy lights up and the engine telegraph's bells actually work, the picture clearly illustrates the difficulty in hoisting the trophy in celebration and carrying it off the field in triumph.
This one ranks right up there with the redesigned Cy-Hawk Trophy.
Apparently, dairy groups from California and Idaho got together and decided to sponsor a trophy in the annual Boise State-Fresno State football game.
But even though California and Idaho are the No. 1 and No. 4 dairy producing states, respectively, dairy really doesn't pop into ones mind when either state is mentioned.
After all, Wisconsin has done a much better job of promoting their cheesy-ness. When one thinks of Idaho, the first agricultural product that comes to mind is likely potatoes.
In addition, the milk can itself doesn't really have much to do with the rivalry. The trophy began in 2005, so there's no real history behind it.
One of the newest rivalry trophies in the FBS, the Bronze Stalk Trophy was introduced in 2008 and is awarded to winner of the Ball State-Northern Illinois game each season.
While the design—a bronze stalk of corn—isn't artistically bad, it does make for a awkward-looking trophy.
First, there's the likelihood that one of the stalks could eventually be snapped off. On top of that, it looks like it could seriously put someone's eye out.
While it may be true that these two schools are in the middle of the proverbial corn field, it's probably best if we leave the corn references to Iowa and Nebraska.
When you think of college football in Florida, you think of great teams, powerful teams, national championship teams.
The big three Florida schools—Florida, Florida State and Miami—all have national titles to their names, and have each won the Florida Cup at least once.
But there are two huge flaws with this trophy.
The major flaw with this trophy is that it doesn't evoke any feelings of Florida's football power. Its dainty, flowing design looks as if it could be easily broken. If it was designed to represent Florida's football strength, it woefully missed the mark.
The other glaring flaw is the simple fact that South Florida, Florida Atlantic, and Florida International are all left out of the competition.
Okay, we can understand FIU and FAU. What are the chances either of those teams beats up on the “big three?”
But USF is a young program that has made quantum leaps in the past decade, and can legitimately be considered amongst the best programs in the state in any given year as they compete for their own BCS berth in the Big East.
This creatively-named trophy is another new one to the landscape of college football. This trophy, curiously enough, is awarded to the winner of the Central Michigan-Western Michigan football game each year. Imagine that.
The trophy was introduced in 2008 for a reason that remains a mystery. The two teams have been playing each other almost yearly since 1907. So why not introduce a trophy after 100 years?
On top of this rather plain looking trophy is a cannon, which is supposedly there to represent the cannons at both CMU and WMU that are fired after every score.
A bland trophy added to a heated in-state rivalry after a century had already gone by? What's the point?
Here's a trophy that meets the definition of irrelevant.
It was created in 2010—that's right, last year—and Maryland holds a whopping 1-0 record over Navy for a trophy that looks as if it was purchased out of a mail-order catalog.
Seriously. Do a quick Google search for trophies, and you're going to quickly find some company that makes these things.
In under two minutes, we found this little gem. Look familiar? The only thing that makes this trophy unique is the fact that they filled it with silver crab.
Navy already competes for one of the coolest trophies in college football—the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy—so why they felt the need to add something far less prestigious is a little baffling.
First off, it depends on which school you're talking about to determine the actual name of the thing. At LSU, it's called the Tiger Rag, obviously in reference to the song. At Tulane, it's called the Victory Flag, although it hasn't “flown” at Tulane since 1982.
The Flag Rag whatever, was created in 1940 to try and foster good sportsmanship. The rivalry apparently needs it. After Tulane's 1938 victory over LSU, the two fan bases got a little mixed up and a riot ensued.
Interestingly enough, the flag was destroyed in a fire at Tulane in 1982. It took the two schools two decades to replace the “trophy”—probably because the series was so one-sided, no one saw the need.
LSU leads the all-time series 69-22-7 and Tulane has never won the replacement version of this trophy.
It doesn't matter what rivalry we're talking about here, the bell is way too overused as a trophy to be worth anything more than closet space at the winning school.
In a cursory check, no fewer than 18 teams compete for a “Victory Bell” or “Governor's Bell” or “The Bell” or some incarnation of a bell—and that's just the FBS. There are countless other FCS, Division II and Division III rivalries that incorporate a bell of some sort.
While some of these bells may have some decent history behind them, the bell as a trophy is so incredibly overused these days. It doesn't really stand for much of anything any more.
In the end, an old, unique tradition makes the best rivalry trophy. And bells, as old as they may be, are certainly not unique.