Doc 5: Top five trophies in college football -- No. 1 Fremont Cannon

Nick Bromberg
UNLV celebrates around the Fremont Cannon in the locker room following an NCAA football game against Nevada in Reno, Nev., on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013. UNLV defeated Nevada 27-22
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UNLV celebrates around the Fremont Cannon in the locker room following an NCAA football game against Nevada in Reno, Nev., on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013. UNLV defeated Nevada 27-22. (AP Photo/Cathleen Allison)

This offseason we will count down various topics from Monday through Friday, bringing you the top five of the important and definitely some not so important issues in college football. It's the Doc Five, every week until we will thankfully have actual games to discuss.

With the Stanley Cup getting underway last week, we were thinking about some of the best trophies in sports. Of course, we were specifically thinking of the many trophies that are awarded to teams in rivalry games across the country. Instead of showcasing the best ones, we decided to look at the worst ones, culminating with the Milk Can from that is awarded to the winner of the Boise State-Fresno State game.

With those wacky trophies out of the way, we felt like it was only right to keep the trophy theme going with the best trophies in college football.

There are dozens and dozens to choose from, but we managed to narrow it down to a top five after careful consideration.

Let’s get started.


No. 1: Fremont Cannon

The Fremont Cannon is a life-size cannon. This was a no-brainer.

The cannon is given to the winner of the Battle of Nevada, the rivalry game between UNLV and Nevada. It's named for John C. Fremont, the first presidential candidate of the anti-slavery Republican Party. A U.S. Army major in the Mexican-American war, Fremont was in the first class of senators from California and lost the 1856 presidential election to James Buchanan. After losing the election, he was named the leader of the Department of the West in 1861 in the Civil War.

The trophy is a replica of the howitzer cannon that accompanied Fremont on an 1840s expedition throughout the west and, according to legend was abandoned in a snowdrift. And there's a debate as to where the cannon trophy's inspiration actually is. Is it in a river, or is it in a museum?

The rivalry between UNLV and Nevada started in 1969 but the cannon arrived a year later. According to Nevada's website, the trophy was built from engineering and technical drawings from the Army's military archives.

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It was first fired in 1973 by John Hill, the son of a Nevada professer and alumnus of the school himself.

"I always assumed I was the first one to fire the Fremont Cannon in 1973 because when we got it back from Vegas, it didn't come back with any of the necessary tools to fire it. I distinctly remember being invited to lunch by Mr. Wilson at the Pioneer Club so he could give me the Field Manual," Hill said to Nevada's site. "I read the manual, cut off a broomstick to make a ram rod, bought black powder from The Sportsman and "touched it off.'"

After winning a game in 1978 against UNLV, Nevada had no way of geting the cannon on the plane for the ride back home. Instead of taking it in one piece, it had to be broken down into multiple pieces to get back to Reno.

The winner of the game paints the cannon afterwards; if Nevada wins, it's blue. If UNLV wins, it's red. According to the Las Vegas Sun, it is 550 pounds and cost $10,000 to assemble.

Currently, the cannon is red. Before UNLV's 27-22 win in 2013, Nevada had won the previous eight matchups and has a 23-16 lead in the series.

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Nick Bromberg is the assistant editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!