Dandy Dozen: Best rivalry trophies.

Dandy Dozen: Best rivalry trophies.

Published Nov. 20, 2010 9:17 a.m. ET

From buckets to jugs, axes to eggs, it's amazing the stuff that makes college kids go wild - as long as it's connected to winning a big football game.

No need to win a championship to win a trophy in college football. All over the country, rivals battle for odd hardware. Some fit comfortably in a glass case. Others, well, you might need to rent a van to take it home.

1) Floyd of Rosedale, Iowa-Minnesota. In 1935, the governors of Minnesota and Iowa, trying to break some of the tension in the rivalry that had gotten overheated, decided to wager a prize hog on the game. Minnesota won and the governor, Floyd Olson, received a pig that was named after him and came from Rosedale farms near Fort Dodge, Iowa. Since exchanging livestock every season is just not convenient, Olson commissioned a bronze sculpture of Floyd and it's been the most coveted piece of fake bacon in college sports ever since.

2) The Stanford Axe, Stanford-California. The 15-inch axe debuted at a Stanford rally in 1899, but a few days later a group of Cal students stole it - and had it for 31 years. Until Stanford students took it back. In 1933 it was decided that the winner of The Big Game would be awarded the axe. Of course, that didn't put an end to the thefts. The best part about the axe: depending on which team holds it, the score of the famous 1982 game is changed. Cal won that game on a last-play kickoff return - ''The band is on the field!'' - which Stanford insists was an illegal play.


3) Fremont Cannon, Nevada-UNLV. It's a real cannon, a replica of the howitzer that explore John C. Fremont had during a 19th-century expedition of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Introduced in 1970, it weighs more than 500 pounds, making it the heaviest trophy in college football. The team in possession used to fire it after a touchdown. But it became inoperable after UNLV beat Nevada in 2000 and fans trying to lift it - did we mention it weighs more than 500 pounds? - dropped it.

4) Commander-in-Chief's Trophy, Army-Navy-Air Force. The service academy with the best record in games played among the three gets the Commander-in-Chief's trophy, a distinguished-looking piece of hardware with three mounted silver footballs. It was the idea of Air Force General George B. Simler and was first awarded by Richard Nixon in 1972.

5) Paul Bunyan's Axe, Minnesota-Wisconsin. The Gophers and Badgers have been playing for the axe since 1948. It has a six-foot handle with the results of each game inscribed. When the team not in possession of the axe wins it back, they get to run over to the other team's sideline and take it after the game. Previously, Wisconsin and Minnesota played for a wooden board with an M - or W depending how it was held - that was called the slab of bacon. Not very inspiring.

6) Golden Egg Trophy, Mississippi-Mississippi State. Another trophy born from strife. After Ole Miss beat then-Mississippi A&M in 1926, Rebels fans rushed the field to tear down the goal posts and a brawl broke out, replete with wooden chairs flying. The next season the trophy was created to give the winner something other than goal posts to take home. The mounted bronze football looked a lot like an egg, hence the Golden Egg.

7) Iron Skillet, SMU-TCU. The campuses are 40 miles apart and the teams have been playing since 1915, but it's unclear exactly when and where the skillet came from. One tale goes that during the 1950s an SMU Mustangs fan was cooking up frogs' legs in a skillet before a game and TCU Horned Frogs fans took offense. A wager was made that the winner of the game would get the skillet and the legs.

8) Telephone Trophy, Missouri-Iowa. An old rotary telephone with the receiver painted half red for Iowa State and half yellow for Missouri. A telephone, huh? Well, back in 1959 during a game in Ames, the telephones coaches used on the sideline weren't working properly. The opposing coaches could hear one another. The problem was fixed before the game and the mix up was commemorated with a trophy the next season.

9) Little Brown Jug, Minnesota-Michigan. In 1903, Michigan coach Fielding H. Yost instructed a student manager to buy something to carry the team's water because the coach didn't want to use water provided by host Minnesota. After the Gophers tied Michigan 6-6, fans stormed the field and the jug got left behind. Yost wanted the jug back but Minnesota coach L.J. Cooke wrote to him that if he wanted it back he'd have to win it.

10) Keg of Nails, Cincinnati-Louisville. The trophy is pretty much self-explanatory - tough as nails - and it doesn't have a particularly interesting history. The schools have been playing football against one another since 1929 and fraternities came up with the trophy. But it's a keg of nails, what more do you want?

11) Old Oaken Bucket, Purdue-Indiana. It's one of the oldest trophies in the Big Ten, which is saying something because hardly a week goes by in the Big Ten without a trophy game. The most notable part of the OOB's history is the civility from which it was born. The alumni chapters of the two schools got together in Chicago in 1925 and decided to come up with a trophy. A member from each group was selected to find an appropriate bucket, which they located a family farm in southern Indiana.

12) Jeweled Shillelagh, USC-Notre Dame. The Trojans and Fighting Irish have been playing since 1926, but the trophy was originally presented in 1952 by the Notre Dame Alumni Club of Los Angeles. For each USC victory a Trojan head with a ruby is attached and for each Irish victory, an emerald-studded shamrock is attached - making it one expensive club.