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College football’s greatest sideline motivational props, from trash cans to title belts

Hammers, lunch pails, chains, and so on. They all have a purpose on a team’s sideline.

Georgia Tech v Tennessee Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

During Tennessee’s 2017 opener against Georgia Tech, one image dominated college football social media: a trash can.

You’re likely not really looking for a garbage receptacle on a college football sideline, but this is the world we live in.

Its purpose: a sideline prop that defensive players can literally dunk the ball into when they get a takeaway.

Weird college football sideline props are nothing new.

Virginia Tech might be the originator of the sideline prop tradition, at least in the modern era. The Hokies have rocked a lunch pail on their sideline since 1995.

Each week, the team comes up with a list of goals that puts in the pail. The defensive player of the game is responsible for the lunch pail the following week. Carrying the pail is an honor. It is the player's responsibility to take it to practice each day and to all of the defensive meetings.

NCAA Football: Boston College at Virginia Tech Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

College kids respond to this sort of thing. Visuals and props are positive reinforcement, and tangible motivational things that players can strive toward.

One of the more clever ones has to be Kennesaw State, which has a turnover...wait for it...PLANK!

Austin Peay has a turnover trashcan of their own, too.

The Georgia Bulldogs have some spiked shoulder pads that say “savage” on them.

While Temple coach Geoff Collins was at Florida, the Gators had a white board on the sideline that players would sign their names on after they got a takeaway.

Speaking of signage, here’s Maryland’s:

You are aware of P.J. Fleck’s “Row the Boat” slogan. He brought it to Minnesota, and you can see the oars here, when the Golden Gophers ran out of the tunnel during the first game of his tenure.

NCAA Football: Buffalo at Minnesota Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

When Fleck was still at Western Michigan, the Broncos beat Akron, which had defiled a version of the oar.

Miami ushered in a new sideline prop wave with a gold Cuban Links chain in 2017. A player who gets a takeaway gets to wear it. Anything that even slightly harkens back to the 1980s-era Canes is OK with me. Combined with the throwback-ish uniforms, the gold chain is perhaps the perfect Miami aesthetic.

From there, Tulane turned things up a notch with turnover Mardi Gras beads.

Memphis channeled its wrestling roots with a turnover robe a la Ric Flair.

And Boise State showed off a damn throne for the players who get takeaways.

SMU also has a turnover, crown and chalice!

The wrestling championship belt is a trendy one.

Alabama’s had the Ball Out Belt, given to the defender who caused the last takeaway, since 2015.

CFP National Championship Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Ole Miss’ wide receiver corps has a bad-guy version.

Colorado State’s joined the belt club.

Boise State has one too, pre-throne.

As does Memphis pre-robe.

Signifying the workmanlike nature of a blue-collar team, some squads bring out hardware.

Boise State:

San Jose State v Boise State Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images

West Virginia:

In 2018, the Mountaineers unveiled a turnover coal miner’s hat for the defense:

They’ve used this before games, too:

BYU v West Virginia Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

ArDarius Stewart, a former Bama player, once strolled around with an axe.

Eastern Michigan has, err, a wrench?

EMU is also infamous for an entrance involving a sledgehammer.

Even the turnover trash can thing wasn’t new or unique to Tennessee.

Texas A&M had used one in practice under Kevin Sumlin.

SMU used one as well under Chad Morris.

And Tennessee’s isn’t even new, despite taking over the 2017 broadcast and sprouting its own parody Twitter accounts.