NCAA Football: Some of the Most Unique Trophies Presented Each Year

Denise CharlesContributor IIIOctober 11, 2010

ANN ARBOR, MI - OCTOBER 25:  Jesse Johnson #26 of the Michigan State Spartans holds up the Paul Bunyan trophy between David Williams #19 and Brandon Denson #34 after beating the Michigan Wolverines 35-21 on October 25, 2008 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The one thing that stands out about college football over any other sport is the traditions and rivalries.  A lot of these rivalry games award trophies to the winner—some being more unique than others.  

After witnessing Michigan State win the Paul Bunyan trophy this weekend, a realization was made as to how weird some of these trophies are. Here’s several of the oddest trophies given out over the college football season:

The Paul Bunyan

This trophy is awarded to either the Michigan State Spartans and the Michigan Wolverines. The winner retains possession of the trophy until the next year's game.  The naming of the trophy after the mythical giant lumberjack Paul Bunyan, who reflects Michigan's history as a major lumber-producing state. The trophy is a four-foot-high wooden statue on a five-foot-high base.

The Little Brown Jug

This trophy is awarded to Michigan or Minnesota. In the early 1900s, Yost, Michigan head coach, was afraid that Minnesota fans would contaminate his water so he sent the student manager to get a five gallon jug so they could bring their own water.  

After a tied game, the Michigan team quickly left the field leaving the jug of water behind.  The next day the custodian found the jug and gave it to Minnesota’s head of athletics. Yost wanted the jug back and sent a letter to Minnesota’s athletic director asking for it but his response was, “We have your little brown jug, if you want it, you’ll have to win it.” 

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The Old Oaken Bucket

Alumni from Purdue University and Indiana University met to propose the idea of making a trophy for their rivalry game.  Their proposal was an old oaken bucket from some well in Indiana, and that a chain to be made of bronze block “I” and “P” letters should be provided for the bucket.  

The school winning the traditional football game each year should have possession of the ‘Old Oaken Bucket’ until the next game and should attach the block letter representing the winning school to the bail with the score engraved on the latter link.  

The Platypus Trophy
Awarded every year to either Oregon or Oregon State.  After being lost for nearly 40 years, this trophy 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).

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.

Floyd of Rosedale

This trophy is the name of a bronze pig trophy that is awarded to the winner of the annual game between the Universities of Iowa and Minnesota.

Between a pig, turtle, platypus and lumberjack, a decision can't even be made to decide which one holds more history, is most unique, and most prestigious.  One thing is certain: Teams and fans look forward to the games that present these trophies and take much pride in displaying them for a year.

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