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Not all trophies created equal

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Posted: Wednesday, August 24, 2011 12:23 am

Above the door to the Allen Center on the Wabash campus sits a bell.

Well, not just any bell, the Bell.

It is simple. It is understated. It is the symbol of the great rivalry between Wabash and DePauw.

Not every rivalry in college football is so lucky.

Iowa and Iowa State fans were outraged this week when the “Cy-Hawk” Trophy was replaced with something everyone was quick to call hideous.

I’ve seen pictures of the thing. Hideous is an understatement. It’s a silver statue of a man on one knee holding an ear of corn while a woman and two kids look on.

Get it? They grow corn in Iowa.

On Tuesday everyone came to their senses and the new trophy was ditched.

In the world of college football trophies, there are two distinct categories — trophies that are simple and classy and trophies that look like they were cobbled together by a focus group and a market research team. If you look at the dates the trophy came into use, you can see why there’s a difference.

There are some good ones, like the Old Oaken Bucket with an new “P” or “I” hooked on every year and the Little Brown Jug between Michigan and Minnesota, which came about when Michigan players left their water jug in Minneapolis and asked for it back.

And then there are the ugly ones. Michigan State and Penn State play for the Land Grant Trophy which looks like it was designed by the visitors bureaus of Michigan and Pennsylvania and they could decide what to put on it so they just included everything they could think of.

The sad part about this is that a great rivalry doesn’t need a trophy. Nothing changes hands when Michigan and Ohio State play. When Florida and Georgia play, there’s a packed stadium, RV’s that show up a week early, female Georgia students in black cocktail dresses and no trophy of any kind.

So why is it that colleges have decided they need a trophy to commemorate all of their rivalry games. Boston College and Clemson have a trophy, commemorating the rivalry that dates back to when Boston College joined the ACC six years ago.

These schools should just face the facts — if you don’t have a trophy with a backstory that is at least 70 years old, it’s best to just play the game without it.

There can only be one Monon Bell.

Eric Ingles is the Journal Review sports editor. Follow him on Twitter @JR_sports. He can be emailed at

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