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9 Greatest College Sports Pranks of All Time

by: Howard Cosmell On  Friday, February 18, 2011

On Thursday, Harvey Almorn Updyke Jr. was arrested by the Lee County, AL Sheriffs Department because of his involvement in a “college prank.” The prank in question involved using a powerful herbicide to poison the 130-year-old Toomer’s Oaks at Auburn University. Needlessly killing the historic trees is bad enough, but what makes the crime even more despicable is the fact that it was allegedly carried out by a 62-year-old retiree who worked as a Texas State Trooper. If this had been the work of some drunken college kid, it would at least make sense. But seeing a grown-ass man as the main suspect makes the whole matter even more pathetic.

But not all college pranks are so stupid. And some are actually carried out by college students as opposed to pathetic old men. Here are nine epic college pranks that didn’t suck balls.

9. Grease the Wheels

In 1898, college football teams often traveled to away games via train. Georgia Tech was no exception. But during their annual game against Auburn, the team ran into a slippery situation. Some enterprising Auburn students went onto the tracks the night before and heavily greased the rails. The Georgia Tech train attempted to stop at the station, but it was no use. The train continued on for several miles, and the players were forced to walk back to town. Of course, if you tried that today, you’d probably have Homeland Security at your door in no time. But it was the olden days!

8. The Cannon War

While this prank it isn’t exactly inventive, it does involve historic artifacts, and that gives it some street cred. Actually, that gives it no street cred, but it does make it a lot more interesting. In April of 1875, a group of men from Rutgers snuck onto the Princeton campus and stole a cannon that dated back to the Revolutionary War. The only problem was, they stole the wrong cannon. After months of negotiations, the stolen item was eventually returned.

7. Get to the Chopper

In 1958, students from UCLA rented a helicopter with the intention of using it to fly over USC’s campus and drop manure on the school’s beloved Tommy Trojan statue. Everything went according to plan, until it came time to make the drop. The wind from the chopper’s blades sucked up the manure and blew it back in the faces of the prank’s perpetrators. While this constitutes a clear failure, the scope of the attempt was truly epic.

6. Cal Tech Goes Hollywood

This Cal Tech Prank isn’t really sports related, especially since the school doesn’t even have a football team. But since this school is so well known for it’s pranks (see below), we decided to include it. Using cherry pickers and a lot of duct tape, Cal Tech put their own spin on the iconic Hollywood sign.

5. Payback for “The Play”

You’ve probably heard of “the play,” one of the greatest comeback plays of all time involving five laterals and a marching band. If you haven’t watch the video above. At any rate, what you might not know is that Stanford (the losing team) got their revenge on U.C. Berkeley days later by printing fake newspapers and placing them around the Berkeley campus. The fake papers stated that the NCAA had reversed the decision and that Stanford had been awarded the win. The “news” sent the Berkeley campus into a pandemonium. While the prank was funny, at the end of the day, it probably still felt better to have the win.

4. “We Suck”

During a Harvard/Yale football game, a group of Yale students disguised themselves as the Harvard Pep Squad. The only problem was, there is no Harvard Pep Squad. This went unnoticed by the Harvard fans, who anxiously agreed to participate. While the fans in question thought they we using their placards to spell out slogans supporting their team, they were actually spelling out phrases like “we suck.”

3. Rose Bowl Hoax

Like the “We Suck” prank, but on a much grander scale, the Rose Bowl prank will go down in history as one of the greatest pranks of all time. It’s been over 50 years, but those involved still hold their heads up high. Way to go, Cal Tech.

2. To Catch a Predator

In 2006, students at U.C. Berkeley took college pranks to the next level, using an online dating service to get into the head of an opponent. After setting up a fake profile for a fictitious UCLA coed named Victoria, they managed to catch the attention of USC’s basketball player, Gabe Pruitt. Pruitt fell for the ruse, and agreed to meet up with “Victoria” after his return from Berkley. However, during the game, Brekeley students began taunting Pruitt by chanting his fictitious girl friend’s name and repeating his phone number. The prank seemed to work. Pruitt underperformed, and Berkeley went on to win.

1. The MIT Balloon Prank

The number one prank on our list took place at the annual Harvard/Yale football game back in 1982, but the glory belongs to another school: MIT. In the middle of a game, a balloon began inflating at midfield while the stunned crowd and players looked on in confusion. As it grew larger, the letters MIT became visible at different spots on the balloon before it exploded in a sea of white powder. Keep in mind, this was well before white powder could be equated with anthrax. It seems some MIT students had used their engineering know how to make the balloon appear seemingly out of thin air.




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