Starting this year, the Dogs and Gators are playing in Jacksonville for more than just bragging rights and a recruiting advantage.
They’re battling over the Okefenokee Oar!
It seems the two schools’ student governments have teamed up to create a traveling trophy for the winner of the annual border war. Victoria Lee of UGA’s Student Government Association dropped me a note about the new Okefenokee Oar, carved in the shape of an oar out of a 1,000-year-old cypress tree from the Okefenokee Swamp.
Some might think a keg would be a better symbol of the game popularly known as the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, but the oar (and, please, no jokes about the Dogs being up the creek without one this year) is intended to be symbolic of the European settlers who first navigated the Okefenokee Swamp, which crosses the borders of Georgia and Florida and which the two states used to fight over in boundary disputes.
The trophy was paid for in part by the UGA and University of Florida student governments as well as a donor who wishes to remain anonymous.
Now, admittedly, at first the name “Okefenokee Oar” sounds a bit silly. But, really, it’s no sillier than other traditional trophies awarded in college football rivalries. Michigan and Minnesota battle over the Little Brown Jug. The Minnesota-Wisconsin winner gets Paul Bunyan’s Axe. Indiana gets the Old Brass Spittoon if it beats Michigan State and the Old Oaken Bucket if it beats Purdue. Arkansas and LSU go for the Golden Boot. Ole Miss and Mississippi State exchange the Golden Egg. TCU and SMU play for the Iron Skillet.
And out in Oregon, where they love ugly uniforms and marching to the beat of a different drummer, the Ducks and Beavers play for the Platypus Trophy.
All of which beat the boring Land Grant Trophy that Michigan State and Penn State play for. Or, for that matter, the generic-sounding Governor’s Cup that the Georgia-Georgia Tech rivalry inherited from the old Bullpups-Baby Jackets Thanksgiving Day freshman game.
So I’m on board. Bring home the Okefenokee Oar!