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Doc 5: Top five trophies in college football - No. 3 - Paul Bunyan's Axe/Stanford Axe (tie)

Sam Cooper
Dr. Saturday
No. 16 Wisconsin wins 10th in a row vs Minnesota

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Wisconsin linebacker Conor O'Neill, center, carries Paul Bunyan's Axe after Wisconsin beat Minnesota 20-7 in an NCAA college football game in Minneapolis Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

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. 3 – Paul Bunyan’s Axe/Stanford Axe

What is more badass than the idea of receiving an enormous axe after knocking off one of your biggest rivals?

There are two prominent college football rivalries whose winner receives an axe: the Minnesota-Wisconsin game and the Stanford-Cal game. While Paul Bunyan’s axe is far superior to the Stanford Axe, both are cool enough to land at No. 3 in this week’s Doc Five.

We’ll start with the better of the two. This thing is majestic.

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Conor O'Neill of the Wisconsin Badgers celebrates a win of the game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers with Paul Bunyan's Axe on November 23, 2013 at TCF Bank Stadium. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Conor O'Neill of the Wisconsin Badgers celebrates a win of the game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers with Paul …

The two teams, whose rivalry began way back in 1890, originally played for the equally awesome “Slab of Bacon” between 1930 and 1943. The Slab of Bacon is a piece of black walnut wood that has a football in the center. In the middle of the football is either a letter W or an M, depending on how the slab was held.

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The slab of bacon was lost in the 40’s (it was eventually found and now hangs in the Wisconsin football office) and the 6-foot long axe was introduced in 1948 by the Wisconsin letterwinner’s organization. Since then, the winner of the annual match up will take the axe and display it on campus after a win.

Additionally, the score of every matchup is carefully painted onto the axe’s handle. Due to its condition and running out of room for the yearly scores, the original axe was retired in 2003 after 56 games. A new axe was subsequently introduced in 2004

The coolest part of the game is the celebration. If the team who won the previous and is holding the axe wins again, they will run to their own sideline, grab the axe, and then take the axe, run to the end zone and “chop down” the goal post. If the team who was not holding the axe wins, they are allowed to run to their opponent’s sideline to retrieve the axe.

Though the rivalry has tilted heavily in Wisconsin’s favor in recent years (the Badgers have won 10 years in a row), Minnesota still holds a 59-56-8 overall series edge.

On the West Coast, the winner of the 122-year-old rivalry between Cal and Stanford is awarded with the Stanford Axe. The original 15-inch axe debuted at a game in 1899 and has a crazy backstory which includes students from both schools stealing it from one another on multiple occasions until, in 1933, the two schools decided to make the axe the trophy for the annual “Big Game” on the gridiron.

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Stanford players celebrate with The Stanford Axe after a win over California in an NCAA college football game in Stanford, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013. Stanford won 65-13. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Stanford players celebrate with The Stanford Axe after a win over California in an NCAA college football game in …

As you can see, the axe is now mounted on a plaque, but the history of it makes it worthy of inclusion on our list.

Stanford holds an overall edge in the series 42-33-3 and have held onto the axe since 2010 with four straight wins.

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Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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