College Football

Hlas: You call Hawkeyes-Cyclones a rivalry?

Iowa-ISU could use a good goat-napping

Naughty Spartans!
Naughty Spartans!

Iowa-Iowa State. Rivalry game? Uh, really?

Why, because there’s a trophy? Iowa plays for a trophy every other game, it seems. I hear next Saturday’s North Texas-Iowa game is for the Whozit/Whatzit Trophy, sponsored by Question Mark and the Mysterians.

How many of you can even visualize what the Cy-Hawk Trophy looks like? And that’s the name they gave it? Floyd of Rosedale grunts in disapproval.

I count 15, maybe 20, maybe 999 intrastate football rivalries with more juice than Hawkeyes-Cyclones. One features two teams (Texas, Texas A&M) that stopped playing each other.

You know it’s a real rivalry when one school switches conferences just so it no longer has to look at the other.

Hey, if you want to prove you have a great in-state rivalry, give me pranks. No, don’t poison beloved oak trees like Alabama creature Harvey Updyke did at Auburn in 2010. But if you’re willing to do some goat-napping ...

Here are some example of vintage state-rivalry football-related pranks over the years:

Clemson-South Carolina: In 1961, about 50 members of South Carolina’s chapter of Sigma Nu borrowed orange football uniforms from Orangeburg High School and went on the field before warm-ups, posing as Clemson’s players.

Their first pregame “drill” was the “cow-milk,” where one player would put his fingers together and point his thumbs down, and a second player would “milk” the first player’s thumbs. They also punted backward over their heads and did other things that made Clemson look inept.


Three times, the frat boys lined up and snapped the ball to the quarterback, then fell to the ground.

It took a while for Clemson’s fans to realize they’d been duped. They were not amused.

Oregon-Oregon State: In 1953, some Oregon students came by car to Oregon State in the middle of the night, and burned a large “O” on the Memorial Union’s lawn. They were in the process of doing likewise at OSU’s Benton Hall when they were caught by Oregon State students, who weren’t a bit hospitable.

The Oregon intruders were stripped to the waist and painted orange and black, Oregon State’s colors. The Oregon lads’ car got an orange-and-black paint job, too.

Presumably, the car looked better than the people who brought it to Corvallis.

Michigan-Michigan State: Just three years ago, the block ‘M’ on the Michigan diag in the heart of the campus was spray-painted green, with the letters ‘S’ and ‘U’ added to it.

That was sweet revenge for the Spartans. The year before, Michigan State’s cherished Spartan statue was defaced with Michigan colors maize and blue, with a block ‘M’ painted on the Spartan’s chest.

Michigan fraternity Theta Xi has members camped out on couches in the Diag around the clock during the week of the clock during the week of the Michigan State game to protect the Block M. I’m sure their grades are fine.

SMU-TCU: In 1999, SMU’s marching band planted rye grass seeds on the field of TCU’s Amon Carter Stadium. The plan came to fruition, as an ‘M’ similar to the band’s trademark formation showed up on the field.


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Eight years later, SMU fans sneaked onto the same field and used weedkiller to write “PONY” on it. For retaliation, TCU supporters dyed the water Horned Frog purple in a fountain on SMU’s campus.

Cal-Stanford: A California engineering student attended every Stanford home game in 1997 to figure out how to hack the stadium’s sound system used by the game officials.

At the season-ending Cal-Stanford game, Stanford received a penalty and the referee got on the sound system to explain it. The Cal engineer-to-be beat the official to the punch, shouting on the sound system, “Penalty, excessive arrogance; Stanford sucks!”

Coe-Cornell: Their 127th football meeting is Saturday. Usually, the game comes and goes without the schools’ students needing bail money by the end of the day.

But a story on Coe’s website says it is rumored mice that had been dyed Cornell purple were set loose in a building on Coe’s campus in 2001. If true, the mice alone would have been quite a stunt. The purple dye is a nice bonus.

Army-Navy: This isn’t an intrastate game, but it’s the best college football rivalry, so let’s proceed.

Bill the Goat is Navy’s mascot. There have been 33 Bill the Goats over the years. In 1953, two Army cadets got on to the Naval Academy’s grounds, found Bill, chloroformed him, and stuck him in the back seat of the convertible they drove back to West Point.

At a New Jersey gas station on the way home, the goat woke up and shredded the convertible’s soft top. Undeterred, the cadets got the goat to West Point and presented it to the Corps at a pep rally. Army’s young men were giddy about that, to say the least.


No less than President Dwight Eisenhower, a former Army general who played on West Point’s 1912 football team, ordered the return of the goat to the Navy. He probably did so with great misgivings.

When a president has to intervene because of something that happened before an Iowa-Iowa State game, we’ll know we finally have a rivalry game on our hands.

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