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Doc 5: Worst trophies in college football -- No. 4 - The Iron Skillet

TCU SMU Skillet

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Texas Christian University players hold the Iron Skillet that is the prize for winning the Metroplex rivalry game against Southern Methodist University. TCU defeated SMU, 24-16, in Dallas, Texas, Saturday, September 29, 2012. (Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images)

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.

When the Los Angeles Kings knocked off the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals of the NHL Playoffs Sunday night, it set up the matchup for the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals between the Kings and the New York Rangers.

The Stanley Cup Playoffs are packed with excitement and features what many consider to be the coolest trophy in sports – the Stanley Cup. With the best of seven series beginning Wednesday, it got us thinking about some of the trophies that are awarded to teams in rivalry games across the country.

Instead of showcasing the best ones, we’ll look at the worst ones -- past and present -- instead.

You know, the ones where excited winning players look ridiculous with the trophy proudly held above their heads while you can’t even believe someone thought it would be a good idea to give to a winning team. Those are the trophies we’ll be highlighting here.

Let’s get started.


No. 4 – The Iron Skillet (TCU vs. SMU)

Our next trophy comes from another long-time rivalry game. This one is a yearly dual from the state of Texas that goes back to 1915: Southern Methodist vs. Texas Christian.

The Mustangs and Horned Frogs have faced off 94 times in the series history, with TCU holding a 46-40-7 overall lead. Until 1946, there was no trophy attached to the rivalry until the Iron Skillet was introduced.

As the story goes, an SMU fan was cooking frog legs on a skillet in a pregame tailgate and a TCU fan said that the winner of the game should take the pan home. That makes for a good historical myth, but according to a piece on SMU’s website from 2010, the “Battle of the Iron Skillet” began in 1946 in order to prevent “mutilation of school property” by fans because more than $1,000 in damage had been done on both campuses.

SMU archivist Joan Gosnell says minutes from fall 1946 student council meetings provide more clues. On October 1, the agenda includes: “Further set up idea of Little Brown Jug Trophy,” referring to the Michigan-Minnesota football rivalry. On November 12, the committee arranging an SMU-TCU banquet and trophy “was reminded of their job.” And on November 19, a student reported that he had purchased the trophy – “an aluminum skillet.” A motion was made that SMU and TCU would share the expense of the trophy.

TCU Magazine has a similar story on the history of the rivalry that says as decades went on, interest in the skillet decreased and the “artifact was lost.” Then, in 1993, a new Iron Skillet was introduced, so now the winner of the game gets to bring home this lovely piece of hardware:

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Texas Christian celebrates with the Iron Skillet after beating Southern Methodist 39-14, Saturday, October 3, 2009, in Fort Worth, Texas. (Brandon Wad...

Texas Christian celebrates with the Iron Skillet after beating Southern Methodist 39-14, Saturday, October 3, 2009, …

So yeah, this skillet is pretty lame. It’s so lame that it actually was lost for several years because no one was interested in the rivalry.

In the 20 games since the skillet was reintroduced, TCU has won 15 of them, so the rivalry has been pretty one-sided in recent memory. The Mustangs did pull out a 40-33 overtime win in 2011, but the Horned Frogs took the skillet back to Fort Worth the past two seasons.

Even though the two schools play in different conferences these days, the two schools have agreed to continue the series through 2017.

If you were wondering, there are only 109 more days until the two teams meet again on Sept. 20 in Dallas.

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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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