College Rivalry Pranks to Remember on April Fool’s Day - NerdWallet
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College Rivalry Pranks to Remember on April Fool’s Day


College rivalries give pranks so much more meaning. Students display their ingenuity and creativity as they represent their schools–from stealing cannons to fooling the fans of a rival team to say they suck. On this April Fool’s Day we remember some of the best college rivalry pranks. Enjoy.

Cal Tech vs. Washington and Minnesota: Crashing the game

This prank is famously called the Rose Bowl Hoax of 1961. Angered over their exclusion of Rose Bowl proceedings, Cal Tech students sent a strong dissatisfied message during the Minnesota vs. Washington championship game that was highly televised. They choreographed a 2,232 flip card show during half time that concluded with Washington students displaying “Cal Tech.” Nothing like crashing a game you were not invited to.

Georgia Tech vs. Auburn: No train stop here  

Ahead of their first home game against Georgia Tech in 1986, students at Auburn greased the train tracks with pig grease, lard, and soap so that Georgia’s train glided right through the town and couldn’t stop. The train sure didn’t stop and Georgia Tech students had to walk 5 miles back to Auburn to play the game.

Yale vs. Harvard: Harvard fans say “We Suck”

In 2004, a group of Yale students plotted a plan for Harvard fans to say they suck. They posed as a fictitious Harvard pep squad, handed out cards, and told the Harvard fans that it would say “Go Harvard.” Once Harvard fans raised their cards, it read “We Suck.” Harvard fans took about 30 seconds to realize that they were made fools and quickly took down the cards.

Stanford vs. Cal: Rewriting History 

After one of the most controversial finishes in college football, Stanford was furious to lose to Cal. In response, newspaper editors at Stanford created a fake edition of Cal’s newspaper, which they named “The Daily Cal” writing that the NCAA awarded Stanford the win. Copies of the paper were distributed all over Berkeley and Cal students bought the hoax reacting with outrage at the news headline.

A&M vs. University of Texas: Bevo gets branded

In 1916, UT Austin’s famous mascot, Bevo, was branded by four A&M students who broke into Bevo’s stockyard and branded him with “13-0,” the score of the 1915 game they played against each other.  Years later in 1920, that Bevo had to be slaughtered due to the high cost of cattle maintenance during wartime. Texas proceeded to serve the BBQ at a football banquet with A&M where they presented them with the branded hide.

UNC vs. Duke: The Stolen Blue Devil

UNC and Duke have a huge running history of pranks on each other. This year, UNC students acquired the head of Duke’s mascot and placed it on a pole above UNC’s university store (Game of Thrones style) right before they played a basketball game.  Good thing Duke had a spare blue devil head.

MIT vs. Cal Tech: The Fleming House Cannon Heist

MIT students flew across the country to visit their rivals, Cal Tech. While there, they posed as a moving company and abducted the 130 year old, 1.7 ton, Fleming House Cannon and moved it to their campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Cal Tech had to travel to MIT to acquire their cannon and MIT students offered them a BBQ farewell. Before they left, Cal Tech gave MIT a smaller cannon that they deemed more appropriately sized for MIT.