The Denver Downs corn maze in Anderson, South Carolina, has taken upon itself the task of encapsulating the Clemson–South Carolina football rivalry in cornfield form. It is not the first college football corn maze, but it is one of the more elaborate designs you'll see this fall, and its attention to detail is admirable. The maze's creators have tactfully given Steve Spurrier and Dabo Swinney's faces equal amounts of lining, requiring the presence of a visor to tell one apart from the other.
UTEP vs. New Mexico State
The Battle of I-10, recommencing this weekend, features the second-greatest set of traveling trophies in all of sportsdom that we will never, ever shut up about, because one is a replica of a silver spade found in an abandoned mine in the 1940s and the other one is a spittoon:
1. Silver spade. Or maybe a hobbit. I'm not an artist.
2. Lake of fire
3. Brass spittoon
Oregon vs. Oregon State
The mighty platypus makes a fine middle-ground trophy for a pool of competitors consisting of both Ducks and Beavers.
2. Extra tail detail for heightened maze difficulty
4. Bowler hat that all animals should wear
Tennessee vs. Alabama
The Third Saturday in October, played on whichever Saturday in October they damn please.
2. Days of week
3. Game day!
BYU vs. Utah vs. Utah State
Three coaches' faces would be hard to fit in one cornfield, and there is legitimate concern that Matt Wells is not yet well-known enough to have an outline of his face drawn with a tractor be recognizable. Smart corn-maze proprietors will go with the Beehive Boot, which we have never proven is not filled with live bees.
UAB vs. Memphis
The Battle for the Bones is the most important rivalry in athletic history, despite involving watching Memphis and UAB play football, because the trophy is a bronzed rack of ribs.
Michigan vs. Notre Dame
1. Get it?
The lesson is this: Endorsement deals dry up. Statues are pelted with tomatoes in lean times. Celebratory billboards weather away to nothing. Corn mazes are different. They are where icons can be trampled upon by hordes of youth groups and horny teens, pockmarked at Halloween by overenthusiastic volunteers in dollar-store face paint wielding chain saws, before themselves weathering away to nothing. But it’s the thought that counts. The thought and the scalding watery paper cup of apple cider at the end of the trail.