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.
FIVE WORST TROPHIES IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL
No. 4 – The old Magnolia Bowl Trophy (LSU vs. Ole Miss, 2008-2013)
While Ole Miss and LSU first played each other since 1894 and the Tigers have a 58-40-4 lead in the series, the Magnolia Bowl trophy hasn't been around nearly as long.
The rivalry was simply known as a rivalry until 2008, when the student bodies of both schools elected to start calling it the Magnolia Bowl. It's an incredibly appropriate name, the magnolia is the state flower of both schools. But the trophy was flat-out bland. Before we talk about it though, let's recap perhaps the greatest season in the rivalry's history.
In 1959, the two teams met in the regular season when LSU was No. 1 and Ole Miss was No. 3. The Rebels had a 3-0 lead when LSU's Billy Cannon had a tackle-breaking punt return for a touchdown that gave the Tigers the late lead. Ole Miss responded, but LSU stopped the Rebels on the goal line. The Tigers won 7-3 and would have taken home the trophy if it had existed.
But they met again in the Sugar Bowl, and Ole Miss would have taken it right back. In New Orleans, Ole Miss won 21-0 and were declared the National Champions of 1959. (Oh, and we'd be remiss to mention the 1972 game and the day that time stood still.)
When the original trophy was first created, It looked like it was born out of late 2000s political correctness. The Telephone Trophy and even the Iron Skillet have character to them. With the simple wood block and the placement of the plated magnolia flower of the Magnolia Bowl Trophy, it resembled a plaque you'd give to a principal retiring from a school after 35 years, not to a team that just won a rivalry football game.
And in addition to the trophy's looks, it had durability issues too. You'd think a giant block of wood wouldn't be too fragile, but after Ole Miss upset LSU in 2013, the magnolia fell off the base. Boring and injury-prone? Sounds like Sam Bowie.
Ole Miss's win was the school's first since 2009, and with the direction many feel the program is going under coach Hugh Freeze, the trophy could be switching hands more often. Thankfully, both schools realized this and after Ole Miss ruined the trophy in November, a new one was created from scratch.
And it looks so much better.
That's a trophy with character. The carvings of the names look so much better than a gold plate, and the magnolia is a better representation. Heck, the trophy even stands out so much more simply because of its shape. It's an upgrade of epic proportions. And it fits the spicy-at-times rivalry much more appropriately than the previous trophy did.
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