Blog: The Alvaborne? Finding Nebraska a trophy game

2010-06-21T09:12:00Z Blog: The Alvaborne? Finding Nebraska a trophy gameAdam Mertz | 608-252-6474 | amertz2@madison.com madison.com

The Big Ten Conference is proud of its trophy games, and new member Nebraska wants to be part of the club.

But which team is the best fit as a rival? And if it's the Badgers, what would that trophy be called?

University of Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema contacted the Big Ten office the day after Nebraska became the league's 12th member and suggested that the Badgers and Cornhuskers lock into a season-ending game.

Bielema told the Lincoln Journal-Star that his request was met with a polite "we'll get back to you on that one" response by league officials.

Nevertheless, he remains deeply interested in adding another trophy game to complement Paul Bunyan's Axe, which is contested annually with Minnesota in the longest continous series in college football.

Should that game come to fruition, the trophy would of course need a name that lives up to the creativity of the existing batch, which includes Floyd of Rosedale (Iowa vs. Minnesota), the Little Brown Jug (Michigan vs. Minnesota) and the Old Oaken Bucket (Indiana vs. Purdue).

Bielema's off the cuff idea: the Alvaborne, a hybrid of the names of his predecessor on the sidelines, UW athletic director Barry Alvarez, and Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne, who of course had a legendary football coaching career as well.

We can only hope Bielema was laughing when he uttered that one.

But he was on the right track in one sense: These things work best when they symbolize some underlying cultural tie between the states or institutions.

Off the cuff, it's hard to come up with anything beyond agriculture.

Thoughts, anyone?

For some background, check out this article by Brian Christopherson of the Journal-Star, who posits that Iowa, Wisconsin and Penn State would be the most promising choices.

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