The newest trend in college football is sideline props — coaches across the country have started using lunch pails, sledgehammers, oars, whiteboards and warning signs to motivate their players on the sideline. Usually, the items are only given to players after they’ve accomplished a certain feat or made a certain play.
For example, since 2015, any defensive player at Alabama who forces a turnover receives the “Ball Out” belt, a wrestling-style championship belt. At Ole Miss, wide receivers began competing for a similar belt this season.
At Texas A&M, players who score get to celebrate with a drum major’s baton, called a mace. At Miami, players who record a turnover get to wear a massive golden chain with the school’s iconic “U” logo.
South Carolina fans will get to see another bizarre trophy later this year when they face Georgia, which gives a set of spiked golden shoulder pads to defenders who force takeaways.
But this week, Gamecock fans will see a much more common, if less flashy, item on their opponent’s sideline: Tennessee celebrates turnovers with a trash can.
Tennessee’s plastic garbage can, decorated with the team’s famous white-and-orange checkerboard pattern and the phrase “Team 121,” was reportedly introduced to their sideline last season, but it has only just begun to attract fans’ attention after it was spotted on national TV being held aloft by an assistant coach.
The idea is that any time a Volunteer records a turnover, he takes the ball and dunks it in the can. South Carolina did something similar with a bucket during the preseason in practice.
But for Tennessee, the whole thing became something of a joke on social media, especially after the team struggled and a player missed his dunk.
The can now has at least three parody accounts on Twitter and has inspired a lot of jokes about embattled head coach Butch Jones.
Making matters worse for Tennessee, there have already been two games this year in which their opponent did not turn the ball over. Currently, South Carolina is averaging one turnover per game.