College Football Rivalry Trophies are Mostly Trash


Can you see how excited I am?

In all seriousness, college football has always been one of my favorite joys (and most hated sorrows) and this season is shaping up to be a rowdy one full of great upsets, flowing pageantry, and hard-nosed action on the gridiron. 

However, while watching Iowa-Iowa State (CyHawk for the uninitiated), I came to the stunning realization that I have been in denial all of these years about college football rivalry trophies.

In college football, due to the geographic locations of certain schools or great series of games that have taken place, rivalries are one of the most integral parts of what keeps the billion dollar non-profit NCAA machine churning. Michigan-Ohio State, Alabama-Auburn, Baylor-Respect for Women; built up tension between two institutions with the design of proving who comes out on top athletically.

Certain rivalries have a unique history of having a type of trophy for the winner, a physical object that one school can lord over the other in a show of superiority. Some of these (like Paul Bunyan's Axe) are fun, unique, and have an interesting history of how they came into being.

I'm finding that more and more of these trophies have no history, and are usually trash.

Some are ESPECIALLY trash.

One thing I'm curious about is why there has to be a trophy for every rivalry game nowadays. CyHawk is a lazy name for a rivalry so they do need a trophy to make it interesting. The original trophy looks like something you'd find in your grandpa's basement from a bowling league. Both the University of Iowa and Iowa State University decided to do away with their 1920s family heirloom and create a new symbol of victory. This is what they came up with:

CyHawk trash 1.jpg


Who wants to play for this?

They changed the trophy again after a tsunami of negative reception, and turned it into a really basic "it's this team vs. this team" trophy that isn't necessarily ugly but there's nothing special about it.

I realize not every trophy can be as interesting as The Little Brown Jug, but it feels like schools are trying too hard to attach a rivalry so they can sell memorabilia. Maybe I'm being a little bit too cynical about the whole thing, but there just feels like there is too many basic, boring, and downright ugly rivalry trophies in college football. A rivalry game can be interesting without a piece of hardware (see the Iron Bowl and the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party). If you don't have a trophy for your rivalry by now, please don't create one.


Ah screw it, I'm gonna blame Notre Dame for this one too.