Of all the weird names for college football games (or for games in any sport), the coveted Battle of the Milk Can has to be possibly the weirdest name out there. In this annual rivalry game between Boise State University (BSU) and Fresno State University, teams of men’s warriors face off in an epic battle to determine who will have the privilege of lifting the Milk Can Trophy.
People unfamiliar with the notion of playing a football game for something called the Milk Can Trophy will probably guess that the origins of the name must be rooted in some ancient terminology native to the area. To the surprise of people who are informed about the limited history of the Battle of the Milk Can is the fact that the original title began in 2005. Perhaps something as absurd as a battle over a milk can shouldn’t come as a complete surprise coming from two universities named after non-existent states. When listing the fifty states of the union, neither the state of Boise nor the state of Fresno appear.
It should come as no surprise that dairy farmers are behind the Milk Can Trophy name. The Fresno State Bulldogs are located in Fresno, California and the Boise State Broncos are located in Boise, Idaho. It just so happens that California and Idaho are two of the top five dairy-producing states in America at numbers one and four respectively. Bronco Dairy Boosters gives money to Boise State and at the same time another dairy organization called the South Valley Dairy Group gives money to Fresno State. The two men responsible for the unforgettable game title Battle of the Milk Can are Roger Fluegel and Dan Van Grouw, who both have ties to the schools and the aforementioned dairy-funded booster programs.
In what might come as a surprise to outsiders, the concept of a Milk Can Trophy game was an instant hit with fans and the football programs themselves. Unfortunately, due to administrative issues, the inaugural trophy was not ready in time to be awarded to the winner of the 2005 contest (Fresno won 27-7). Each year the winner of the big game is privileged to keep the trophy for one year and has the great honor of having their team’s victory engraved on the trophy for posterity. After five seasons, the Boise State Broncos now hold a commanding three-win lead after winning the last four contests since losing the opener.