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Doc 5: Worst trophies in college football -- No. 5 - Telephone Trophy

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. 5 – Telephone Trophy (Iowa State vs. Missouri)

Many college football rivalries are over 100 years old, and that is the case with the Missouri-Iowa State rivalry. The two teams first played way back in 1896. After not playing again until 1908, the two schools squared off on pretty much a yearly basis throughout the first half of the twentieth century.

When the game rolled around in Ames in 1959, something peculiar happened to give us the No. 5 worst trophy in college football.

I’ll let the Missouri football website explain:

The strangest of circumstances got this rivalry underway. Prior to the 1959 game in Ames, a Missouri assistant coach put on his headset in the press box and got a big surprise - he could hear the Iowa State coaches chatting, since the wires were crossed and each side could hear the other.

The Iowa State website says the problem with the phones was fixed prior to game time, but it caused “considerable worry” for the coaching staffs during the game.

To commemorate the mishap, the Northwestern Bell Telephone Co. of Ames made this thing:

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From then on, the winner of each year’s game was awarded with the telephone trophy with Mizzou coming out on the winning side most of the time. Since the first year of the trophy, Missouri leads the series 32-18-3. Overall, the Tigers lead 61-34-9.

The Tigers were especially dominant late in the series’ history, winning eight of the last nine games. Unfortunately for telephone trophy enthusiasts, the series came to an end when Missouri left the Big 12 to join the SEC. The last matchup between the teams took place on October 15, 2011 in Columbia where the Tigers were once again victorious, 52-17.

The story behind the trophy is definitely interesting, but I think a little more effort could have made the trophy cooler. There had to be someone creative enough at the phone company to think beyond just mounting a phone on top of an otherwise simple looking plaque.

Maybe if the rivalry is ever renewed, the phone company can come through with some updated hardware. How about an iPhone? Or maybe just a nice cordless phone, assuming they have those in Iowa.

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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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