Blog Entry

Iowa and Nebraska adding trophy to new rivalry

Posted on: July 27, 2011 6:36 pm
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. 

Since: Feb 7, 2008
Posted on: September 28, 2011 11:07 am

How Many Trophy Games do Teams Need?

I think they should play for a pair of Golden Overalls that the mascot and/or coach will get to wear untill the next season.

Since: Sep 1, 2007
Posted on: August 22, 2011 2:02 pm

Iowa and Nebraska adding trophy to new rivalry

The new cy-hawk trophy just stole the "bushel of corn" idea (vom).

Since: Dec 5, 2010
Posted on: July 29, 2011 4:40 pm

Iowa and Nebraska adding trophy to new rivalry

The Fry-Osborne trophy?<br /><br />

Since: Jan 6, 2010
Posted on: July 28, 2011 12:36 pm

Iowa and Nebraska adding trophy to new rivalry

Two ways to go...dual name trophy... Kinnick - Barringer Trophy.  And as shown in in the article... Des Moines, Omaha, Lincoln and Iowa City ALL ON I-80.  It should be the I-80 Collision Trophy!!!  Man...if you thought there was animosity between Iowa and Nebraska before...WOW!  And the poor Hawks! 

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: July 28, 2011 10:14 am

Iowa and Nebraska adding trophy to new rivalry

A statue of Cornwallace would be perfect for these turds.

Since: Dec 15, 2007
Posted on: July 28, 2011 8:48 am

Iowa and Nebraska adding trophy to new rivalry

A trophy of a bushel of corn would be quite funny. 

Since: Jun 5, 2009
Posted on: July 27, 2011 7:30 pm

Iowa and Nebraska adding trophy to new rivalry

I think we have a winner!

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: July 27, 2011 7:18 pm

The Old Corn Bucket

What better trophy could they possibly find for this "rivalry" than a bushel basket full of corn?  It would be so right on so many levels...

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