RIVALRY WEEK: More than trophies are at stake in Big Ten
By ERIC OLSON
AP Football Writer
One thing’s for sure about the Big Ten. The conference loves a good rivalry and, in most cases, a traveling trophy to go with it.
Big Ten teams have been playing for buckets, bronzed pigs, jugs and more since around the turn of the 20th century. It’s all a part of Midwestern football lore, and there’s nothing like watching jubilant winners sprint to claim their prize when time expires.
It’s in that spirit the conference in 2014 began scheduling rivalry games the final week of the regular season, with five of the seven awarding trophies. Some of the hardware has richer histories than others. A couple of the most time-honored trophies — the Little Brown Jug for Michigan-Minnesota and Floyd of Rosedale for Minnesota-Iowa — are played for earlier in the season.
Interestingly, the grandest rivalry of all — Michigan-Ohio State — has no trophy at all. Maybe the game is so big it doesn’t need one. Nor is there a trophy for the winner between Maryland and Rutgers, perhaps because they didn’t know they were rivals.
So in the name of Paul Bunyan’s Axe, which replaced something called the Slab of Bacon that Minnesota and Wisconsin used to play for, let’s take a look at the real or manufactured rivalries in the Big Ten this week: