Tag:Iowa Nebraska Trophy
Posted on: September 27, 2011 7:58 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2011 12:05 pm

You can vote on Iowa and Nebraska's new trophy

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Iowa and Nebraska are set to kick off a brand new rivalry this year as part of Nebraska's entry into the Big Ten, and the two teams have announced a Heroes Game theme to the annual contest, which is scheduled for the Friday after Thanksgiving.

When the Heroes Game was announced, one of the things that was conspicuously missing was the trophy itself; athletic directors Tom Osborne of Nebraska and Gary Barta of Iowa merely said that the trophy would be announced at a later date. That date is today -- sort of -- as Nebraska and Iowa have released a website where fans can vote on their favorite design for this November's trophy.

UPDATE: Although the NebraskaIowaTrophy.com website is legitimate and does represent a Nebraska-Iowa trophy, this will not be the official Heroes Game trophy; it is a student body trophy in a joint effort by Nebraska's Innocents Society and Iowa's President's Leadership Society. The website of the trophy has since been updated to more accurately reflect that this is a student body trophy, and we are grateful to have heard from the Innocents Society who provided some much-needed clarification.

Two things: on one hand, it appears the two schools' societies learned a valuable lesson from the failed Iowa-Iowa State trophy by putting the final design in the hands of the fans. On the other, it also appears they learned nothing from the failed Iowa-Iowa State trophy because all of these ideas are agriculture-related too. Observe:



Obviously, the pitchfork is the right choice here and it's not even close. There are two acceptable ideas for a corn-related trophy, and neither of them are represented here. If you must use a corn theme, the trophy either has to be A: a giant brass kernel of corn, because trophies are meant to be giant, brass, and hoisted, or B: a football opening up with a giant cob of corn inside it. EMBRACE THE THEME.

At the very least, though, there are no children on any of these trophy ideas, so this is a step up in that respect. But corn, guys? Again? Corn's not worth fighting over -- not in a state like Iowa or Nebraska, anyway.
Posted on: July 27, 2011 6:36 pm

Iowa and Nebraska adding trophy to new rivalry

Posted by Adam Jacobi

There's a new trophy coming to college football, and it'll probably have an old name attached to it. Here's an invitation sent out by Iowa and Nebraska yesterday:

There's no way to know for sure what the trophy's going to be before the unveiling -- the Big Ten's pretty good at keeping secrets, after all -- but with the invocation of a "hero," there's nearly a 100% chance that Nile Kinnick is involved somehow. Kinnick is obviously Iowa's pride and joy, and for obvious reasons: he's a native of Adel, Iowa, he's the Hawkeyes' only Heisman Trophy winner (1939), the stadium's named after him, a statue of Kinnick is out in front of said stadium, an excerpt of his Heisman speech is played in the pregame video montage there, and Kinnick's also on the coin flipped before every Big Ten game. Quite the resume, and all that's without mentioning Kinnick's tragic death in 1943 in an airplane crash while training for World War II. Put it this way -- if this "hero" business is a reference to anybody but Nile Kinnick, Iowa fans may riot.

It's also worth pointing out, however, that Kinnick wasn't an Iowa resident his entire life; while Nile was in high school, his father had to move to Nebraska for work, so Kinnick actually graduated from Benson HS in Omaha. He's a member of the Nebraska Sports Hall of Fame, which is quite the accomplishment for one year of residence in the state. So Kinnick does have a Nebraska connection.

That said, it's a pretty flimsy connection, so unless the Big Ten follows the pattern of dual-naming the trophy like with the conference awards, Nebraska fans are probably going to be a little furious that their Huskers are going to be playing for a trophy that's 99% about the Hawkeyes. And even if it is dual-named, Nebraska doesn't really have a corollary to Nile Kinnick in its history (few programs do, obviously), so whoever gets picked for the Huskers would probably be overshadowed by Kinnick in terms of relevance.

And yet, that should make the trophy even more alluring for the Cornhuskers. Remember, Nile Kinnick is Iowa football. He's practically a saint in Iowa City and the rest of the state. His legend grows by the day there. It may be revealed that he once admitted to chopping down an apple tree, then saying "I cannot tell a lie." So if the trophy means more to Iowa than it does to Nebraska, how great is it going to be the first time Nebraska takes it from the Hawkeyes? It's like the sports equivalent of stealing somebody's wife. That should be enough to kickstart a rivalry, no?

And if that's the case, then welcome to a real conference rivalry, Iowa. For the duration of the Hawkeyes' involvement in the Big Ten (and all its earlier iterations), they've never had a mutual primary rival in the conference. Minnesota and Wisconsin have both been fine rivals over the decades, but the Gophers and Badgers have had each other first and foremost (it's FBS' most-played rivalry ever, at 120 games), and that rivalry was specifically protected by the Big Ten in the switch to divisions while Iowa was handed a protected annual game against Purdue. Iowa and Purdue have as much of a rivalry as the Saskatchewan Roughriders and... well, Purdue.

So clearly Hawkeye fans must have been thrilled to see the annual game with Nebraska given the season-ending spot, effectively replacing Nebraska's rivalry against Colorado with something even more geographically (and culturally) immediate. Nebraska-Colorado may have been a compelling rivalry on the gridiron, but the most passionate rivalries are so closely geographic that they can make fans hate immediate family members. Iowa-Nebraska is that, if for no other reason than Lincoln is 200 miles closer to Iowa City than to Boulder, CO -- and Omaha and Des Moines (the two states' primary population centers) are not only even closer, but on the same direct route between the two campuses. This is a rivalry begging for regional conflict. Involving the venerable Nile Kinnick is going to make things even spicier. 
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