Off-Season Stories – The Platypus Trophy

Platypus Trophy following restoration in 2007

Half Beaver, Half Duck

by Travis Normand

This story came out last November (2012) but didn’t get much attention.  Now that it is mid-summer, it is a great time to revisit the story.  Hopefully this will help you pass the time until kick-off.

Also, this is one of the best rivalry trophies I have ever seen.  What other rivalry can say that characteristics of the mascots for each team involved in the rivalry actually come together somewhere in nature?  Is there an animal that is part Buckeye and part Wolverine? No. What about part ‘Gator and part Seminole? No.  Aggie and Longhorn?  No.  In my opinion, it would be a real shame for Oregon and Oregon State to NOT use the Platypus as their rivalry trophy.

In Oregon, Civil Rivalry but Quirky One
by Greg Bishop
Published: November 22, 2012

CORVALLIS, Ore. — In the broadest, most stereotypical sense, one of the oldest rivalries in college football pits Ducks against Beavers, hippies against farmers, liberals against conservatives. It is defined by proximity and mediocrity, by civility and acrimony, by close games and foul weather and the last 0-0 tie in Division I.

The Civil War, they call it.

The series started in 1894, when Oregon State University, then known as the Oregon Agricultural College, defeated the University of Oregon, 16-0. It will continue Saturday when two top-20 teams meet here for far more than local bragging rights.

For years, the programs seemed to lack a central ingredient to any rivalry: something to win. There was no Golden Egg (Mississippi and Mississippi State), no Keg of Nails (Louisville and Cincinnati) and no Apple Cup (Washington and Washington State).

This brings us to a mystery, to the story of the Platypus Trophy, once missing, stolen and lost — “I’ve heard rumors,” Oregon offensive lineman Nick Cody said — now found.

“I haven’t seen this since 2007,” Warren Spady said as he surveyed his handiwork this week.

Spady drew the platypus assignment in 1959, as an undergraduate at Oregon. He bought two blocks of wood and began to carve, using a stuffed platypus for inspiration. He worked day and night for a month, with four mallets and six chisels, until his forearms ached, until the beak resembled a Duck and the tail looked like that of a Beaver.

While he sanded the trophy smooth, the game approached. He never did finish the feet.

In the early 1960s, the trophy went missing for months, then years, then decades. In 1986, while on sabbatical at Oregon, Spady bumped into the platypus, his platypus, in a water polo trophy case on Oregon’s campus. Then it disappeared again.

Read the rest of this article HERE

You can also check out the Platypus Trophy Wikipedia page for more info.

BCS National Title: The morning after …

2013 BCS National Championship

by Travis Normand

Okay, so today is not really the morning after, as the BCS title game was the night before last.  However, I was going to write this yesterday (on the actual morning after the title game) but I didn’t feel up to it.  Why?  Because the morning after the title game is always a bad one for me.  It’s like a bad hang over multiplied by 10.

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Oklahoma’s Jason White, It takes one to know one, right?

Heisman - 8Kby Travis Normand

Former Oklahoma quarterback, Jason White, won the Heisman trophy in 2003.  As with all former winners of the trophy, White will have a vote in deciding who wins the trophy from now on.

So, in early December 2012, Jason White appeared on [link is now apparently dead] revealing who he placed on his Heisman ballot.  The article/video that was posted on was titled “It takes one to know one,” in reference to the fact that it takes a Heisman winner to know another Heisman winner.

VIDEO: The video was also posted here at

Unfortunately, someone is wrong.  Either is wrong and it doesn’t take one Heisman winner to know another, or Jason White is wrong in that he wouldn’t know what a Heisman winner looked like if he was staring into a mirror.

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Oregon scores one-point safety

one-point safetyby Travis Normand

I feel like a cryptozoologist.  I am constantly searching for a creature that is so rare it is considered mythical.  Most people have never heard of this “monster” and when I tell them about it, they give me a funny look as if they don’t believe me.  Despite the crazy looks I keep getting, I have continued to keep a watchful eye open, hoping to someday catch another glimpse of this strange creature.

A one-point safety — college football’s Loch Ness monster.

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Texas Aggies win 2013 Cotton Bowl

by Travis Normand

Its been a long wait but I finally got to see Texas A&M win another Cotton Bowl.  The last time the Aggies won the Cotton Bowl was at the end of the 1987 season (January 1, 1988).  However, tonight (January 4, 2013) the Aggies defeated the Oklahoma Sooners (Big 12 co-champions) 41-13 and added another Field Scovell Trophy to the trophy case in College Station.

Cotton Bowl - Field Scovell Trophy

Cotton Bowl - Field Scovell Trophy

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The One Point Safety strikes again

one-point safetyby Travis Normand

This post is a work in progress as I am away from my laptop and am having to work via the iPhone.

In what appeared to be another routine and normal extra point attempt, Oregon became one of the newest members of a very small and unique fraternity.

Oregon scored a one-point safety in last night’s Fiesta Bowl (Jan. 3, 2013) against Kansas State. If you missed it, the best you can hope for is to see a replay of the safety because these things don’t happen very often.

Dana Bible is still coaching!?

by Travis Normand
Originally posted on December 28, 2012
Updated December 31, 2012 

Update:  [1] Since making this post, I was able to reach someone in the football department at NC State (via @PackFootball on  They told me that Coach Bible is of no relation to Coach Dana X. Bible, but that he gets asked that question a lot.  [2] While watching the Music City Bowl I was reminded of a tiny connection that I have with Dana Bible.  Bible is coaching the bowl game from the booth and he is being assisted by wide receivers coach Troy Walters on the sideline.  Walters was part of Tom O’Brien’s staff at NC State and apparently will not be at NC State next season (neither will Bible).  I am mentioning this because I went to high school with Troy and we were in the same graduating class.  Small world. 

Okay, so “that” Dana Bible isn’t really still coaching but the other Dana Bible is.

A couple of years ago I was watching a college football game when I heard the TV announcer say something that really caught my attention.  The announcer was talking about Tom O’Brien’s coaching staff at Boston College when he mentioned that the offensive coordinator was Dana Bible.

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2012 Alamo Bowl – “Clothed” Streaker!

by Travis Normand

I completely missed this guy (and his streak) while watching the Alamo Bowl on TV last night.  The TV networks are usually pretty good about not putting these people on camera, as doing so might incentivize more streaking than is necessary (and yes, I am implying that a certain amount is “necessary”).

However, if I hadn’t seen this clip, I would have never known this happened.

I am not sure if sprinting the length of the football field, fully clothed, qualifies as a legitimate “streak.”  However, the runner does strike a nice Heisman pose in the far end zone and then appears to flee the scene without anyone ever trying to stop him.

I really love college football.  Well done sir….well done!