Call of the wild: 8 FBS college football rivalry trophies that honor animals

By Amy Daughters -

After highlighting container trophies in April and then prizes which honor individuals in May, this month we switch gears to FBS rivalries that play for a wildlife themed award. Included among the football fauna are creatures of the sea, fowls of the air, and mighty beasts that roam the earth.


The series: first played in 1905, Navy leads 14-7 but Maryland has won the last two.

Most recent meeting: 2010, a 17-14 win for Maryland in Baltimore.

Next meeting: None currently scheduled.

Awarded to the winner of “The Crab Bowl Classic” the Crab Bowl Trophy wasn’t introduced to the state of Maryland’s FBS “rivalry” until 2010, also the last time the two teams met. The prize – courtesy of the Touchdown Club of Annapolis – features a pewter bowl (set atop a wooden base) with pewter crabs appearing to be fighting their way out of the trophy. The two schools met seven times from 1905-17, consecutively from 1930-34 and then on eight occasions from 1950-65 before taking a 40-year hiatus.

THE CY-HAWK TROPHYIowa vs. Iowa State

The series: first played in 1894, Iowa leads 46-23.

Most recent meeting: 2022, a 10-7 road win for Iowa State that broke a six-game losing skid.

Next meeting: Sept. 9, 2023 in Ames.

After meeting 24 times between 1894 and 1934 the Hawkeyes and Cyclones took a 43-year break from their football relationship, finally reuniting in 1977. The original version of the Cy-Hawk trophy was first awarded in 1978, revamped to not-so glowing reviews in 2011 and then debuted in its current form in 2012. Iowa has won the Cy-Hawk 29 times vs. Iowa State’s 15.

THE FLOYD OF ROSEDALE – Iowa vs. Minnesota

The series: first played in 1891, Minnesota leads 62-52-2 but Iowa has won eight-straight.

Most recent meeting: 2022, a 13-10 road win for Iowa.

Next meeting: Oct. 21, 2023 in Iowa City.

The Floyd of Rosedale is a bronze statue of a pig that pays tribute to an actual pig. The original animal was the wager of a bet on the 1935 edition of the game between Minnesota Governor Floyd Olson and Iowa Governor Clyde Herring. The pig, a prize hog, hailed from Rosedale, Iowa. The Golden Gophers were awarded the real pig in a 13-6 decision, ultimately finishing the season 8-0 and capturing the second of three consecutive national titles. Since then, the Hawkeyes have brought home the bacon – the bronze edition of Floyd – 44 times vs. the Gophers’ 41.

THE ILLIBUCK TROPHYIllinois vs. Ohio State

The series: first played in 1902, Ohio State leads 68-30-4 and has won eight-straight.

Most recent meeting: 2017, a 52-14 home win for Ohio State.

Next meeting: None currently scheduled.

The result of a collaboration between honor societies at the two schools, the tradition of the Illibuck dates to 1925. The first two winners – Illinois in 1925 and then Ohio State in 1926 – received a live turtle, the animal chosen because of its longevity, mirroring the rivalry between the two programs. Ironically, the live turtle died in 1927 and from that season onward the winner has been awarded a 32-pound wooden turtle – affectionately known as Illy Illibuck. The Buckeyes have captured the replica tortoise 64 times vs. the Illini’s 22.

THE MAKALA TROPHY – Florida vs. Florida State

The series: first played in 1958, Florida leads 37-27-2.

Most recent meeting: 2022, a 45-38 home win for Florida State that snapped a three-game losing streak.

Next meeting: Nov. 25, 2023 in Gainesville.

One of the least known rivalry trophies – especially given its association with a powerhouse matchup – the Makala Trophy is the prize awarded to the winner of the Sunshine Showdown. Dating to 1958, legend has it that “the wooden trophy was carved out in Big Cypress Swamp somewhere in…Florida, by an unnamed Native American leader…in the 1700s. The carving…showcase(s) a Native American leader with superhuman strength about to square off with a hungry alligator in a fight to the death, perhaps as a glimpse into the daily lives of the indigenous people who dwelled in the Swamps of Florida.”

Rather than being awarded on the field after the actual contest, the Makala is presented to the winning team at “a bipartisan banquet in St. Pete on the weekend of the winning school’s spring football game.” And that’s likely why no one has ever heard of it.

THE PLATYPUS TROPHY – Oregon vs. Oregon State

The series: first played in 1894, Oregon leads 67-49-10 but the two have split the last four, the home team winning on each occasion.

Most recent meeting: 2022, a 38-34 home win for Oregon State.

Next meeting: Nov. 24, 2023 in Eugene.

Awarded to the winner of the Civil War, the Platypus Trophy was sculpted (but never officially finished, it’s missing its feet) by an Oregon art student in 1959. Oregon State won the first-ever Trophy game and then retained the prize until 1961 when it disappeared. The Platypus didn’t resurface until 2006 and was reintroduced to the rivalry game in 2007. Since then, the Ducks have won the duck-billed mammal 12 times vs. the Beavers’ four.

THE RAM-FALCON TROPHY – Air Force vs. Colorado State

The series: first played in 1957, Air Force leads 38-21-1 and has won six-straight.

Most recent meeting: 2022, a 24-12 home win for Air Force.

Next meeting: Oct. 28, 2023 in Fort Collins.

Awarded to the winner of the annual game between the two Mountain West members hailing from Colorado, the Ram-Falcon was the brainchild of the Air Force ROTC unit at Colorado State. First awarded in 1980, the trophy is a depiction of, what else, a Ram and a Falcon – a rare combo in the animal kingdom – battling atop a wooden base. Air Force has captured the prize 27 times vs. CSU’s 15.


The series: first played in 1893, LSU leads 69-23-7 and has won 18-straight.

Most recent meeting:  2009, a 42-0 home win for LSU.

Next meeting: Nothing currently scheduled.

Awarded to the winner of the “Battle for the Rag” (LSU calls it the “Tiger Rag” while Tulane refers to it as the “Victory Rag”) The Rag dates to 1939.  Rather than a useless piece of old cloth, The Rag is a satin flag, divided diagonally, with Tulane’s emblem and colors on one side and LSU’s emblem and colors on the other. The seal of Louisiana separates the two sides. The two programs shared membership in the Southern Conference from 1922-32 and the SEC from 1933-65, when Tulane began its three-decade run as an Independent. It joined C-USA in 1996 and landed in the American in 2013. The Tigers and Green Wave played consecutively from 1919-94 but have only met six times since then. LSU has won The Rag 63 times vs. Tulane’s 20.

Historical data courtesy of Sports Reference/College Football.

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