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Tag:Rivalries
Posted on: August 19, 2011 3:31 pm
Edited on: August 19, 2011 3:42 pm
 

The new Iowa-ISU trophy is the absolute worst

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The Iowa-Iowa State rivalry is not one of college football's greatest. Despite being intrastate rivals, the two teams have met on the gridiron just 55 times, including a scant 36 games in the last 90 years. Still, the rivalry's been going strong with annual games since the late '70s, and despite rarely having national significance, it's a point of great pride and contention in the state of Iowa.

The one thing the rivalry didn't have was a cool trophy; here's a look at the previous iteration, called the Cy-Hawk Trophy. Not that great. Little artistic merit. It doesn't show, it tells. It looks like a reclamation project from a high school shop class.

So wisely, the trophy was shelved permanently during the offseason when the sponsor was ceded from grocery chain Hy-Vee to the Iowa Corn lobby. On Friday, the new trophy commissioned by Iowa Corn was unveiled, and via Hawkeye Nation, it's... oh no.



Yes, that's a guy with a basket of corn that he's showing to his wife and two kids. It's a corn farmer and his family. And their corn. That's the football trophy. This is a literal thing that is happening.

I would say that this is the inherent danger of letting a local agriculture lobby have free reign to brand a football game -- the whole "look at how wonderful and wholesome we are" schtick -- but that's hardly an industry-wide problem. Aside from Iowa and corn, the only other state with an identity so closely tied to a local farm product is Idaho and potatoes, and look at what unfettered genius the Idaho Potato Bowl brought to the proverbial table last month:



That is not only a baked potato football, it is a baked potato football decorated with sour cream and chives! And lest you think that kind of brilliance can't make its way to the confluence of corn and football, as one Iowa writer's wife pointed out, why not have the football peeled open at the top with a corn cob under it? That would be thousands of times better than holding up a trophy of a family and their basket of corn (which, frankly, is less than you can grow in a typical Iowan front yard). Footballs need to be made of food more often! This is a perfect opportunity and they just blew it! Argh argh argh argh argh

Between the Legends, Leaders, Heroes Game, and now the Iowa Corn Trophy, it seems an awful lot like the Big Ten is distancing itself from what football is all about -- namely football players, football teams, and the football itself. Let's see a little more of that and a lot less of this effort to turn the conference into a bad Norman Rockwell painting.
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. 
Posted on: September 14, 2010 1:11 pm
Edited on: September 14, 2010 1:23 pm
 

Dear Miami, we want our trophy, thanks, Florida

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Since 1950, whenever the Miami Hurricanes and Florida Gators have battled on the gridiron there has been more than state supremacy and bragging rights on the line.  There's also the majesty that is the War Canoe Trophy, which was traditionally given to the winner of each game.  Well, it used to be.

The teams have only met five times since the rivalry stopped being an annual affair in 1987, with the Canes winning the first four of those meetings and the Gators winning their last meeting in 2008.  So the War Canoe Trophy belongs to the Gators, but there's one problem. 

The trophy is currently on permanent display in the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame.

Which hasn't really been a problem for anybody, but the Gators would like it back now, and even sent a letter to Miami to let them know it.  Don't believe me?  I have digital internet proof!



That photo comes courtesy of The Road to Tampa Bay's Twitter feed, and there is no word on whether or not Miami will be sending the trophy north to Gainesville.  Though considering all the Senators whose names appear on that letter, I'd assume it's only a matter of time before it happens.  Or at least until a bunch of people start arguing about it.

The Canes and Gators aren't scheduled to meet again until 2013.


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