Follow-on topic: what should UM play Nebraska for?

Submitted by Wolverine In Exile on September 2nd, 2010 at 12:59 PM

So we were having the discussion in my office about my last post (waht should Neb & Iowa play for) when the Husker grad in my office brought up a good point... forget Iowa, what should we (Neb & UM) play for? Outside the obvious, a division title and birth in the BT title game, we came up with the following:

- a black flag to hang over the loser's painted "1997 National Championship" sign in their stadium

- a vial of Tom Osborne's tears (since they have the magic property of being able to change voters minds in an instant)

- Each other's 1997 Nat'l championship trophy (the winner gets to keep the loser's trophy for the year)

- the soul of Tim Brewster

other thoughts?



September 2nd, 2010 at 1:07 PM ^

There's no need.  The best trophies just start organically, like the Little Brown Jug.  We left our water jug at Minneapolis by accident and they kept it as the spoils of, uh, a tie.  Compare that with the Paul Bunyan Trophy, where the governor said in the '50s: "Hey guys, play for this now."   Not the same. 


September 2nd, 2010 at 1:08 PM ^

The second I read the thread title, I thought of this:

"Each other's 1997 Nat'l championship trophy (the winner gets to keep the loser's trophy for the year)"

You could have ended your own thread right there.  Imagine if they seriously did that?  How awesome, and how instantly-heated, would that rivalry become? 

Six Zero

September 2nd, 2010 at 1:09 PM ^

Whoever wins the game on any given year gets to promote themselves as the unanimous champion of the 1997 season... at least until the following year, where the claim to bragging rights go up for the taking again.

I just don't see Lloyd ever willing to let the real trophy leave Shembechler.


September 2nd, 2010 at 1:27 PM ^

Oh, to have been a fly on the wall during the meeting that led to the creation of the Land Grant Trophy. 

"So, what are we going to make this out of?"

"Larry in supplies can get us some solid oak cheap."

"All right then.  Now what do we put on it?"  

"What we need is score plaques.  Lots of 'em."

"How about a symbol of each campus?"

"Just one symbol?  I really feel like we need two."

"Even better!  And lets make sure one of the symbols is a little statue - like a trophy in a trophy!"

"Okay.  But what goes on top?  We need something that says 'This is what we laid it all out on the field for.' "

"I'm thinking . . . a plastic football player.  I mean, that's pure tradition.  That's what my Pee Wee trophies always had."

"Dynamite!  Pure dynamite!"


September 2nd, 2010 at 1:38 PM ^

It's a shame that so many of those plaques will go unused for so long now that MSU and PSU will face each other infrequently.  More importantly, will they even continue playing for this trophy, or will it end up in a dusty closet somewhere?  Maybe it already is?

As such, this priceless work of art should be taken over by the new forced UM-Nebraska rivalry.  Just replace the lion with a wolverine and the Spartan with... whatever the hell that creepy Nebraska mascot is supposed to be, and we're good to go.


September 2nd, 2010 at 2:02 PM ^

the guy responsible for bringing this to the game must absolutely hate it. For one, it must weigh a ton, and two, the plastic on top makes it fragile to boot. I like the ideas the OP had though about the masking of the championship for a year. Forced trophies turn out like the Land Grant, and the masking of the MNC every year would be unique and would actually mean something.


September 2nd, 2010 at 2:36 PM ^

I don't think of UM-Nebraska as a forced rivalry.  Making PSU play MSU every year the last week of the season, on the incredibly lame grounds that they were the first two land grant schools in the country  - that's forced.  I think the Nebraska game will very quickly become important to us in the division race. 

As for the Land Grant Trophy, now that the two schools are only going to play 40% of the time, it might be a good time for it to quietly be retired (or better yet, "lost").


September 2nd, 2010 at 1:18 PM ^

Or anything related to 1997.

The Coaches' Poll vote in '97 was one of the most embarrassing moments of the Bowl Alliance Era, and the prima facie evidence offered to Big Ten fans in justifying going to the BCS system the following year (the decision had already been made, but it was a big part of the marketing).

We should not let 1997 in any way be part of the Nebraska-Michigan rivalry. Michigan won the National Championship by nature of having the stronger football season, whereas Nebraska's claim is based entirely on Osborne's colleagues in the coaching ranks giving him a retirement gift, each thinking enough others would vote Michigan that their vote wouldn't affect the outcome.

Imagine, then, if we were to lose to Nebraska -- we would be covering or sending away the record of that '97 team's accomplishments. What happens when Woodson comes to visit, and there's no trophy because Nebraska beat Michigan in some sloppy, turnover-infested game during a down year?

Fuck this idea.

I'd be fine creating a new trophy for us, or just playing the game and seeing if something develops. But as Michigan, we should never ever ever assent to anything that further legitimizes the scandal of the '97 Coaches' Poll, or diminishes the accomplishments of the undisputed best college football team in the land that year.


September 2nd, 2010 at 3:07 PM ^

... proves it is the perfect trophy. Nothing will ever engender this type of anger and near-hatred. It is not forced at all. It is real. We were f%cked nationally and this is a perfect way to remind everyone annually. It also will make the players on both sides take the game very seriously. No one is going to want to have to explain to Charles Woodson what happened to his trophy.

If the two teams don't want to send trophies back and forth, at least the loser should be required to remove their trophy from the display case and leave an empty spot or substitute a plaque explaining the missing trophy. The players will walk by the empty case all year long and broadcasters and media types will hype the hell out of the missing trophy thing leading up to the game.

Bo's win over Woody in '69 is what really took the UM-OSU rivalry to its current level largely because it may have been Woody's best team ever and the loss almost certainly cost them the national championship. You can't manufacture this stuff if you try. It is what rivalries are made of baby!


September 3rd, 2010 at 12:11 PM ^

No. A perfect trophy is something that is deserved equally by either team but only one can have. The jug didn't mean anything to Michigan until Minnesota said "come win it back." It sucks just as much for us when they have it as it sucks for them when we have it.

With the '97 title, not so much. When Michigan has the combined '97 title in our case, Nebraskans won't exactly like it, but they can find consolation in the fact that it shouldn't have been theirs anyway, and there's other more memorable and deserved trophies next to it that they care more about. They were frankly shocked to get the Coaches' vote when it came, and most (because they are seriously and honestly one of the cool fanbases out there) will admit they probably didn't deserve it.

For us, however, it would complete the slap in the face.

It would be like a rapist and a rape victim playing for the rights to say whether or not it was consensual. Not only would the crime be re-lived every year, but on some years, the perpetrator of the crime would get to celebrate getting away with it.

The '97 split championship was a debacle, an embarrassment for college football and most especially the Coaches' poll, whose integrity was shattered by it. That this might generate hate and strong feelings on either side is unquestionable, but not all things that generate hate are good for football.

Michigan and Michigan State wouldn't play for a Clock, would we?

What rivalries are made of is meeting on the field and playing harder and better and with more will because beating THOSE GUYS is more important than beating other guys. It's not just about hating each other. Hate itself is an effect, not a causus belli, of a rivalry. Rivalries are made in the differences and similarities between the USes and THEMs, the competition that makes us both better, the greater stakes of our meetings. The reason for Michigan and Nebraska to care more about that game than another is because we have two hugely successful programs, one with the most intellectual fanbase among major programs, and the other with the most loyal fanbase among major programs.

There's more than enough to make the Nebraska-Michigan game a good rivalry without resorting to digging up old embarrassments. We don't need to bring Maurice Clarret's handcuffs to The Game to raise the stakes. I don't need to keep my brother's hairspray bottle that I peed in on the bench to keep the blood boiling when my brother and I are put on different softball teams. Some shit in the past is best left to the past. Some things that pissed people off are not worth re-hashing regulalry just to make people more upset. Our deserved championship trophy should stay in our glass of a reminder of the victorious '97 team; theirs should stay in theirs as a quiet but ever-present reminder of what happens when those given the honor of participating in a major poll don't take their duty seriously.


September 2nd, 2010 at 5:34 PM ^

On the other hand, no matter how long it took to get it, we deserve that god damned trophy!  Beat them every year and we get what we always deserved.


I agree with those that say this would not be a rivalry fabricated out of nothing.  Two of the more memorable bitter moments in M history in the past two decades have related directly to Nebraska.


September 2nd, 2010 at 1:22 PM ^

I think it would be cool if they created trophy that resembles the 1997 National Championship trophies that both schools have.  But again, the debate begins, do we really need another trophy game???


September 2nd, 2010 at 1:39 PM ^


Maybe we can have the "Maize... no it's Corn... no it's Maize" trophy?

It would have a statue of a Native American fighting a "settler" in the Midwest.

It might say "We may disagree about what you call it, but neither of us is yellow."

IDK.....too corny?