The turkey has been eaten, the potatoes have been mashed, and the food comas have taken hold. It’s rivalry week, everyone — get ready to watch some of the most fun college football games of the year after this week’s Thanksgiving festivities wrap up.
We’re taking a look at some of the best rivalry trophies in the sport that teams will play for this weekend, and some trophies that have already been awarded this season. From live hogs to corn statues, here are our picks for the most interesting rivalry trophies, in no particular order.
The Nevada Wolfpack and the UNLV Rebels play for a fully functioning cannon each year, which is painted in the colors of the winning team for the following year. Before 2000, the cannon was fired after touchdowns during the rivalry game, but the 545-lb armament has not been fired in this century.
Floyd of Rosedale
Iowa and Minnesota may not play each other this weekend, but we had to include Floyd. Floyd is one of the best stories — and the most college-football-y stories — in the sport. The trophy dates back to 1934, when the governors of the respective states wagered a live hog (named Floyd) on the results of the game. A bronze replica of Floyd was created after his death, which now changes hands based on the winner of the game.
Paul Bunyan’s Axe
The Wisconsin-Minnesota rivalry game kicks off from Minneapolis this weekend as the Gophers and the Badgers fight for Paul Bunyan’s Axe. This rivalry’s original trophy was the Slab of Bacon, but that was lost in the 1940s. The six-foot axe has been in Wisconsin’s possession for most of the last decade.
USC and Notre Dame only play on rivalry weekend every other year, but they will fight for the Jeweled Shillelagh at the Memorial Coliseum this weekend. The Gaelic war club is adorned with Trojans and Shamrocks representing each team’s wins throughout the history of the rivalry.
The Golden Hat is the trophy for the Red River Rivalry, which happened earlier this season as Oklahoma handed Texas their only loss thus far. The golden cowboy hat, which is actually made of gold, is a great accessory for any Red River winner.
Oh, Midwest, how we love you. The Bronze Stalk is awarded to the winner of the Northern Illinois-Ball State game. The trophy is a corn replica made of bronze, because of course it is. It’s a fairly recent trophy — the two teams met for the first time in 1941, but the trophy was introduced in 2008.
$5 Bits of Broken Chair
Minnesota is part of so many amazing rivalry trophy backstories. The Golden Gophers and the Nebraska Cornhuskers exchange the Bits of Broken Chair Trophy originated in 2014 from a Twitter exchange between the Bo Pelini parody account @FauxPelini and Minnesota’s mascot’s account.
And, in true college football fashion, Minnesota fans created a true Bits of Broken Chair trophy. The original went missing in 2016, but a new one was recreated by fans in 2017 and used as a fundraising tool.
Little Brown Stein
Idaho and Montana already faced off this year for the 120th matchup in the two teams’ rivalry series, and the Grizzlies took home the Brown Stein. The trophy, which is exactly what it sounds like it is, has been around since 1938, when it was created by a Montana student journalist.
While the Michigan State-Penn State rivalry has never really taken off among the fans as a true rivalry game, the trophy is something to behold. The Land Grant is a monstrosity that weighs over 50 pounds and includes Nittany Lion and Spartan figurines as well as several photos of the schools.
Keg of Nails
Louisville and Cincinnati will not play this weekend, and have rarely faced off since the Cardinals moved to the ACC — in fact, their most recent matchup occurred in a 2022 bowl game. However, their trophy can still be included on this list — the Keg of Nails is a replica of a keg used to ship nails. There re no actual nails in the keg.