On Monday, Wisconsin and Nebraska announced that when the Badgers and Cornhuskers meet on the field this Saturday, they'll be playing for FREEEEEDOM and this ugly-looking, yet well-intentioned trophy.
"Trophy games are part of the tradition of college football, and I'm thrilled that we're going to be introducing one into our rivalry with Nebraska," Wisconsin Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez said. "The Freedom Trophy brings recognition to two historic football venues and it honors our nation's veterans. It is something I know the coaches, student-athletes and fans of both programs will embrace for years to come.
The Freedom Trophy pays tribute to the brave men and women who have fought in our nation's wars. The University of Wisconsin's Camp Randall Stadium, built on what was once a Civil War training ground, and the University of Nebraska's Memorial Stadium, dedicated in honor of our nation's veterans, stand as proud monuments to those who have sacrificed so much in the name of freedom."
The storied Badgers-Cornhuskers rivalry dates all the way back to 1901, when Wisconsin shut out Nebraska 18-0 in Milwaukee. The two schools met on the gridiron five times in the 1960s and 1970s, but not again until the Cornhuskers joined the Badgers in the Big Ten. During the 2012 season, the two teams met twice--a 30-27 Nebraska victory during the regular season and a 70-31 Wisconsin win in the Big Ten title game.
All told, the two schools have met just eight times with each school winning four games apiece.
This news got me thinking about Boston College's "rivalry" games and the hardware that comes along with them. There are two of those--the O'Rourke-McFadden Trophy (and old timey Leather Helmet that goes to the game's MVP) with Clemson and the Ireland Trophy and Frank Leahy Memorial Bowl Trophy with Notre Dame. Yes, there are two different trophies for the Holy War. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Now I know the Big Ten hands out more rivalry game trophies than a youth soccer league, and trophy games don't really seem to be as big a thing in the ACC. But as the Wisconsin-Nebraska release started off, trophy games are certainly a big part of the tradition of college football. With Boston College and Notre Dame meeting less frequently on the gridiron in the future, why doesn't BC have a rivalry trophy with the one FBS school they've faced more than any other, a team they'll meet annually (sorry Pitt...sorry Miami) in the final game of the season going forward?
The MVP of the Boston College-Syracuse game used to receive the Orrie T. Scarminach Memorial Award, and I hope the two schools can continue that tradition after not handing out the award during last year's meeting. But that's not really the same thing as having an actual rivalry trophy presented to the winning school.
I mean, if two websites can get together and create this sweet-looking Boston College-Syracuse rivalry trophy within a year, there's really no reason to think that the two school's athletic departments couldn't put together something similar (even on very short notice). The Eagles and Orange now share the same conference, (unfortunately) the same division and play annually in the regular season finale. All that's missing now is some hardware.