Last month we highlighted the dozen FBS rivalries represented by a container trophy, this month we shift to the 15 prizes that honor a person. Though it’s a totally different subset of awards, what remains the same are the rich backstories, each of which illustrate what’s so special about college football.
THE JAMES BONHAM TROPHY – Texas A&M vs. South Carolina
The series: first played in 2014, Texas A&M leads 8-1, South Carolina’s only win came last season.
Most recent meeting: 2022, a 30-24 home win for the Gamecocks.
Next meeting: Oct. 28, 2023
James Bonham was a South Carolina native who attended South Carolina College, the predecessor of the University of South Carolina. He came to Texas in 1835, setting up a law practice in Brazoria and striking up a friendship with Sam Houston. Bonham was commissioned into the Texas Cavalry and eventually traveled to the Alamo. After riding out through Mexican lines to find aid for the garrison, he returned and died manning a cannon in the interior chapel of the Alamo on March 6, 1836. Rather than being awarded to the winning football team, the trophy honoring Bonham goes to the winning governor of either Texas or South Carolina.
THE PAUL BUNYAN TROPHY – Michigan vs. Michigan State
The series: first played in 1898, Michigan leads 72-38-5 but the two have split the last four.
Most recent meeting: 2022, a 29-7 home win for Michigan.
Next meeting: Oct. 21, 2023
First presented in 1953, the Paul Bunyan was donated by then Michigan governor Gerhard Mennen Williams to commemorate Michigan State’s inaugural season in the Big Ten. Honoring the fictional lumberjack was also meant to highlight the Wolverine state’s lumber industry. The trophy is a whopping nine-feet tall, featuring Bunyan standing with one foot on each side of the state, each school’s flag claiming its half. The Wolverines have earned 39 Bunyan’s vs. the Spartans’ 29.
THE JAMES E. FOY – ODK SPORTSMANSHIP TROPHY – Alabama vs. Auburn
The series: first played in 1893, Alabama leads 49-37-1 and has won three-straight.
Most recent meeting: 2022, a 49-27 home win for Alabama.
Next meeting: Nov. 25, 2023
Dating to 1948, the prize presented to the winner of the Iron Bowl was the brainchild of the Alabama and Auburn chapters of Omicron Delta Kappa, a national leadership honor society. In January 1978, it was dedicated to Dean James E. Foy as he retired as the Dean of Student Affairs at Auburn. Prior to taking on that role in 1950, Foy had served as the Assistant Dean of Students at Alabama. The Crimson Tide have won 45 ODKs vs. the Tigers’ 30.
THE GANSZ TROPHY – Navy vs. SMU
The series: first played in 1930, Navy leads 13-11 but SMU has won three-straight.
Most recent meeting: 2022, a 40-36 home win for SMU.
Next meeting: Nov. 25, 2023
First awarded in 2009, the Gansz Trophy honors Frank Gansz, a highly regarded, longtime special teams coach in college and the NFL. Gansz played at Navy from 1957-59, was an assistant coach there from 1969-72 and then, after 36-years of crisscrossing the country, coached special teams at SMU from 2008 until he passed away in 2009. Navy won the first six Gansz’s but SMU has won four of the last five.
THE LAMAR HUNT TROPHY – Kansas vs. Missouri
The series: first played in 1891, Missouri leads 57-54-9 and has won the last three.
Most recent meeting: 2011, a 24-10 win for Missouri in Kansas City.
Next meeting: Sept. 6, 2025
After what will be a 14-year hiatus, the 2025 playing of the Border War will renew one of the longest-running rivalries in college football. Kansas and Missouri first played for a War Drum in 1937, a tradition that was paused for WWII and then renewed in 1947 until it was misplaced (and replaced) some 40 years later. The current version of the prize – which is a bass drum – was introduced in 1999. Starting in 2007, the winner of the game was also awarded the Lamar Hunt Trophy (also the name of the NFL’s AFC Championship trophy), in honor of the Kansas City Chief’s former owner’s attempts to have the rivalry game played at his Arrowhead Stadium. The two haven’t clashed since 2011, the Tigers’ final season in the Big 12 before bolting for the SEC.
THE JEFFERSON-EPPES TROPHY – Florida State vs. Virginia
The series: first played in 1992, Florida State leads 14-4 but the two have split the last four.
Most recent meeting: 2019, a 31-24 home win for Virginia.
Next meeting: 2024
Dating to 1996, the Jefferson-Eppes was established by then FSU President Talbot D’Alemberte after, ironically, the Cavaliers’ first-ever win vs. the Seminoles in 1995. The game – then (24) Virginia edged (2) FSU 33-28 in Charlottesville – snapped FSU’s 29-game ACC winning streak (the Seminoles joined the league in 1992). The Jefferson-Eppes is co-named for Thomas Jefferson (the founder of the University of Virginia and the third president of the United States) and Francis Eppes VII (the mayor of Tallahassee and president of the Board of Education that governed the institution that became Florida State). Its base is constructed of the remains of a tree – the McGuffey Ash – that stood on UVA’s campus from 1826-1990. Atop that is a silver pitcher that was given to Mayor Eppes by Tallahassee residents. FSU has won the prize 12 times vs. Virginia’s three.
THE GEORGE JEWETT TROPHY – Michigan vs. Northwestern
The series: first played in 1892, Michigan leads 59-15-2 and has won seven-straight.
Most recent meeting: 2021, a 33-7 home win for Michigan.
Next meeting: None currently scheduled.
One of the newest traveling awards in the FBS, the George Jewett Trophy was established in 2021 to honor the first Black player in Big Ten history. Jewett played at Michigan in 1890 and 1892 and earned a varsity letter as the team’s leading scorer, rusher, and kicker. From there he attended medical school at Northwestern during which he played two additional seasons for the Wildcats. Dr. Jewett practiced medicine in Chicago, was a businessman in Ann Arbor, and dabbled in coaching before dying suddenly in 1908. He was only 38 years old.
THE KUTER TROPHY – Air Force vs. Hawaii
The series: first played in 1966, Air Force leads 14-7-1 and has won three of the last four.
Most recent meeting: 2019, a 56-26 win for Air Force in Honolulu.
Next meeting: Nov. 11, 2023
Introduced in 1980, the Kuter Trophy is named for General Laurence S. Kuter (1905-74), the first head of the Pacific Air Forces Command in 1957. “It is a striking tribute to the friendship between the schools and to the cooperation between the people of Hawaii and the Air Force.” The two programs shared membership in the WAC from 1980-97 and have both been members of the Mountain West since 2012. The Falcons have won 13 trophies vs. the Rainbow Warriors’ seven.
THE FRANK LEAHY MEMORIAL BOWL – Boston College vs. Notre Dame
The series: first played in 1975, Notre Dame leads 17-9 and has won eight-straight.
Most recent meeting: 2022, a 44-0 home win for Notre Dame.
Next meeting: 2025
One of college football’s two “Holy Wars” (the other is BYU/Utah), the rivalry game between Notre Dame and Boston College is also referred to as “The Vatican Bowl” and the “Jesuit Invitational” as it pits the only two Catholic institutions in the FBS against one another. Frank Leahy (an Irish alum who played tackle for Knute Rockne) served as the head coach at both schools – amassing a 20-2 record at Boston College from 1939-40 (including a share of the 1940 national title) and a 107-13-9 record at Notre Dame from 1941-53 (including national titles in 1943, 1946, 1947 and 1949). The award itself is a large crystal-cut bowl.
THE RIP MILLER TROPHY – Navy vs. Notre Dame
The series: first played in 1927, Notre Dame leads 79-13-1 and has won five-straight.
Most recent meeting: 2022, a 35-32 win for Notre Dame in Baltimore.
Next meeting: Aug. 26, 2023 in Dublin, Ireland
Edgar “Rip” Miller was a member of Notre Dame’s Seven Mules, the line that blocked for the legendary Four Horseman from 1922-24. Miller went on to serve as an assistant at Navy from 1925-30, taking over the head job in 1931. After going 12-15-2 in three seasons, he stepped down and returned to his role as an assistant. In 1947 Miller was named an assistant athletic director in Annapolis, a job he kept until his retirement in 1974. His dual connection with Notre Dame and Navy made him the linchpin in the effort to establish an annual game between the two programs. The trophy bearing his name debuted in 2011 – the Irish have won ten Miller’s vs. the Midshipmen’s one, a 28-27 victory in Jacksonville, Fla. in 2016.
THE O’ROURKE-MCFADDEN TROPHY – Boston College vs. Clemson
The series: first played in 1940, Clemson leads 21-9-2 and has won 12-straight.
Most recent meeting: 2022, a 31-3 road win for Clemson.
Next meeting: 2024
First awarded in 2008, the O’Rourke-McFadden (aka “The Leather Helmet”) honors the two All-American quarterbacks who played in the 1940 Cotton Bowl, also the first-ever clash between the Tigers and Eagles. Clemson’s Banks “The Great” McFadden led his No. 12 ranked team to a 6-3 win over No. 11 BC’s “Chuckin’” Charlie O’Rourke capping off a 9-1 season for the Tigers. The loss was the last-ever in O’Rourke’s collegiate career, the next year he led BC to an 11-0 record and the only national championship in program history. The Eagles have only won the trophy once, in 2010.
THE BEN SCHWARTZWALDER TROPHY – Syracuse vs. West Virginia
The series: first played in 1945, Syracuse leads 34-27 and has won four-straight.
Most recent meeting: the 2018 Camping World Bowl, a 34-18 win for Syracuse.
Next meeting: None currently scheduled.
West Virginia native Ben Schwartzwalder played center for the Mountaineers from 1930-32. His coaching career began at the high school level, an endeavor that was put on hold by World War II. Schwartzwalder served as a captain in the 82nd Airborne earning a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart, and a Presidential Unit Citation during the invasion of Normandy. He returned to football in 1946 as the head coach of Muhlenberg College (Pennsylvania), leading the Mules to a 25-5 mark in three seasons. It was enough to earn him the head job at Syracuse where he posted a 153-91-3 mark from 1949-73, a run that included a perfect 11-0 season, and the program’s only national title, in 1959. The trophy bearing his name, and honoring his association with both schools, was introduced in 1993.
THE DON SHULA TROPHY – Florida Atlantic vs. Florida International
The series: first played in 2002, FAU leads 16-5 and has won six-straight.
Most recent meeting: 2022, a 52-7 win for FAU in Miami.
Next meeting: Sept. 14, 2024
The Shula Bowl and Trophy kicked off in 2002, the first year the two schools (located only 60-miles apart in South Florida) met on the gridiron. FAU first fielded a football team in 2001, FIU followed in 2002. The game and trophy are named in honor of legendary Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula who mentored each program’s first-ever head football coach. Howard Schnellenberger – FAU’s head coach from 2001-11 – served as Shula’s offensive coordinator at Miami during the 1970s, including the Dolphins’ perfect season in 1972. Don Strock – FIU’s head coach from 2002-06 – was a quarterback for Shula’s Dolphins from 1973-87.
THE DICK TOMEY LEGACY TROPHY – Hawaii vs. San Jose State
The series: first played in 1936, is deadlocked at 22-22-1 but San Jose State has won three-straight.
Most recent meeting: 2022, a 27-14 home win for San Jose State.
Next meeting: Oct. 28, 2023
Established in 2019, this newer rivalry trophy honors Dick Tomey, who passed away from lung cancer at the age of 80 in May of that same year. After playing catcher at DePauw University (Indiana), Tomey bounced around college football as a defensive assistant before landing the head job at Hawaii from 1977-86 (63-46-3) and then San Jose State from 2005-09 (25-35). Between the two stints he was also the head man at Arizona from 1987-2000 (95-64-4), a run that included capturing the 1993 Pac-10 title.
THE THOMPSON CUP – Army vs. Navy
The series: first played in 1890, Navy leads 62-54-7, but the two have split the last four.
Most recent meeting: 2022, a 20-17 win for Army in Philadelphia.
Next meeting: Dec. 9, 2023 in Foxborough, Mass.
Along with the Commander in Chief’s and Secretary’s Trophies, the Thompson Cup is awarded to the winner of the annual Army/Navy game. The Cup honors its donor, Robert Means Thompson, who graduated from the Naval Academy in 1868, served as a Navy officer, organized the Naval Athletic Association, graduated from Harvard Law School in 1874 and made a fortune in the mining business. He also served as president of the American Olympic Association for the 1912 and 1924 Olympic Games.
Historical data courtesy of Sports Reference/College Football.
Ben Schwartzwalder coached two high school teams in West Virginia, Sistersville HIgh and Parkersburg High, before coaching Muhlenberg College.
Just curious – how does a rivalry like Navy/SMU start (beginning in 1930’s). Did they travel by plane back then? Train? If so, that must been quite an expense/toll on the visiting team at the time.
The Paul Bunyan Trophy is not 9 feet tall.
It’s nine feet when the base is included.
Amy always comes up with some interesting tidbits.
I want more trophies for more games named after Mythical Individual! Paul Bunyan is awesome.
I nominate the Johnny Appleseed trophy for the winner of the Cincinnatti vs West Virginia game each.
Paul Bunyan Axe?
I think this article is referring to trophies named after a specific individual. But I get where you’re coming from as it is the axe of Paul Bunyan, but maybe not Paul Bunyan itself?