Published Tuesday, July 26, 2011 AT 8:07 PM / Updated at 8:16 PM
Trophy game
Tom Shatel Omaha World-Herald

I’ve been mildly obsessed with the idea of a Nebraska-Iowa rivalry trophy, so when the schools co-announced today that they would co-announce the rivalry game and possibly a trophy in Chicago on Friday morning (7 bells), my curiosity perked up.

What did they choose? Who picked it? Will there be a kernal (hint) of common sense that’s involved?

There was a hint, or so some of us sleuths imagined, in the press release. The word “hero.” Hmmm. A take on “legends and leaders” perhaps? A sign that Nile Kinnick, a football and World War II hero, might be involved?

I’d be okay with Kinnick. There are ties to both sides. Kinnick attended and played at Benson High. There’s a high school stadium in northwest Omaha named after Kinnick.

The problem is, as I’ve heard from many Husker fans, the name doesn’t resonate with anyone west of Omaha. And, actually, few Omaha Nebraskans really know the history of the man or hold him in the high esteem that most, if not all, Hawkeyes do. In fact, I’d wager few Husker fans even know who the man was.

So while a Kinnick Trophy would be cool, it would be more meaningful for one side than the other. That doesn’t work in a rivalry.

Mike’l Severe and Kevin Kugler had an interesting take on this topic on “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” on Tuesday. They posed the question: should you even create a trophy without a game being played in the rivalry? Shouldn’t you let a few, if not several, games play out and see what sort of tradition or flavor shows up?

Fair point. But I’m impatient. I want the trophy now. And, Iowa and NU have little tradition together so far. It might take forever to develop story lines. Or, trophy lines.

What will it be? I’d bet my season pass to Adventureland that my suggestion, Corn Belt, didn’t make the cut.

We’ll have to wait until Friday morning to find out. Set your alarms.

About Tom Shatel

Tom Shatel is a columnist for The Omaha World-Herald. You can get in touch with Tom on Twitter (@tomshatelOWH), or send him an email at


  1. GKats says:

    Some have suggested that Nebraska’s Jake Young would be the perfect complement to Nile Kinnick.

    The Young/Kinnick Memorial Trophy.

    That I would say is worth playing for.

  2. Jim Dolezal says:

    Kinnick Berringer Trophy and have a plane be part of the trophy. I love that idea Very respectful of teo fine representatives of their heartland universities

  3. Brian Fox says:

    I thought the idea of a catfish trophy would make the most sense. Call the catfish “Muddy” in reference to the Missouri river since both states common border is the river. I think this makes perfect sense and you call the game “The Muddy River Rivalry.”

    1. JR says:

      Nah too much like the “Red River Rivalry”.

  4. Glenn Mason says:

    I think the trophy should be a cart and a horse following it, because when you have a trophy before you have a rivalry and a rivalry before you have played each other (at least recently), you definitely have the cart before the horse.

  5. Aaron says:

    Nile Kinnick has a great story behind him, but I do agree that the trophy would mean more to Iowans than Nebraskans. I would hate to see the Husker’s win it and be like “Eh, just another trophy.” when it would mean so much to Iowa.

    If we named it the Roger Craig (from Cedar Rapids) Trophy, no one in Iowa would care.

    I say play a few games and see what develops.

    1. Rick Bonar says:

      Actually Roger Craig was from Davenport, Iowa

  6. Jeff D says:

    why can’t we just have a bronze statue of a farmer (herbie) shooting a hawkeye (wtf is a hawkeye?) along the muddy moe (missouri river). seems meaningful to me, especially since nebraska will run the table on iowa just about every season ;)

    1. Richard says:

      wtf is a Herbie?

  7. Justin B says:

    I think the trophy should be of Eric Crouch annihilating that Iowa DB back in ’99. I’m hoping that at least makes the pre-game highlight montage. Not the most incredible run ever, but one that’s always stuck with me.

    1. Matty W says:

      Dude! That run has stuck with me, too! I think about that often… he totally destroyed that corner.

      1. Cmac says:

        Link to Crouch’s run:

        BTW, that put NU up 45-0. Iowa, why are you looking forward to playing Nebraska every year?

  8. Erik V. says:

    Roger Craig is from Davenport

  9. Rob says:

    I am an Iowa grad and Hawkeye fan and I am familiar with the Nebraska football culture as a previous resident of Omaha.
    How about a trophy that honors Tom Osborne and Hayden Fry? Both schools are in the Legends Division and these two gentleman are living legends whose contributions to the game are even broader than their contributions to the respective schools.

    1. John W. Collins says:

      I like it!

  10. Rocket says:

    It should be the Legends division trophy because if the division comes down Iowa and Nebraska battling it out year after year for the division, then it will be a rivalry, ala NU-OU.

    Without that who cares. Nebraska and Missouri played for the Victory Bell each year and who knew or cared?

    It would be better if it was an NU-Wisconsin trophy. Then it could be calld the Devaney-Osborne-Alvarez trophy or DOA for short.

    1. JR says:

      The difference between this rivalry and the NU/MU rivalry…is that a much larger portion of the NU fanbase is behind a rivalry with Iowa. That coupled with the fact that B1G culture cultivates the rivalries and the trophies given to the winner will make this game the first true rivalry game the Huskers have played since the days of the Big 8.

      Oh and NU/MU or NU/CU was not really seen as a rivalry by many in the NU fanbase.

    2. JR says:

      I do like DOA though. :) The rivalry with Wisconsin would be a good one, if they could play each other every year. But putting them in different divisions put a stop to that. Besides, doesn’t anyone think a NU/Wisky game would result in more of a manufactured rivalry then what seems to be a naturally born rivalry with IA.

      Maybe its just me and all the Hawkeye fans I work with!

  11. firedog says:

    Maybe it’ll involve Bob Kerrey. He’s a war hero and there is a bridge between the two states with his name on it. Maybe a Kerrey/Kinnick thing.

    I still think a giant corn cob that the players could hold over their heads after victory would be cool.

  12. KJ says:

    Maybe, they will call it the Memorial Cup/Trophy. Both stadiums were built to honor WWI.

  13. CRN Time says:

    This trophy talk is fine but the Iowa game should be a season opener, not a closer. An end of season game with them is not of enough national interest to sell to recruits. It’s great for Iowa but a prestige drain on NU. The Huskers really missed out when Penn State drew Wisconsin instead.

  14. Pete says:

    Honor John Pershing and Nile Kinnick. Pershing/Kinnink Trophy. Done

  15. R says:

    Tell me why either one of us needs a trophy. Because maybe some year Iowa will not make a post season game and the trophy will be all they get? If Nebraska has most of the wins, why is it an important trophy? We will most always need to beat Iowa to get to the BIG championship, so the game is important but just another victim. Coach Tom always said “don’t get too down after a loss and don’t get to excited after a win”. Rivalry games and rivalry trophies are so because of something that happened. It’s almost like we are trying to get a date, “will you be my rival?” Really great rivals don’t need trophies. Did Nebraska vs Oklahoma have a trophy? Does Michigan vs Ohio State have a trophy?

    1. oc stomias says:

      “Did Nebraska vs Oklahoma have a trophy?”
      Yes. It was the Big 8 Championship and then Play for a National Championship Trophy.

  16. C-H says:

    I think they’re taking the slash thing too far already. The conference trophies for individual honors etc. Let it happen naturally like Floyd-don’t force things, and stop being so pompous with the hero/legend/leaders tags.

  17. Andy G says:

    I think it will be the I-80 trophy. A picture of I-80 with corn on each side and the smell of a hog confinement lot would be the most logical trophy. If you have ever driven from Lincoln to Iowa City, that is what you get. Heywood Banks even sang a song about it.

  18. David E says:

    Does anyone know what happened or will happen to the ‘Victory Bell’ that was ther trophey in the NU/mu game?

  19. Jeremy says:

    I think a trophy game with Iowa is cool, but it should really be with Wisconsin. Battle of the Big Red. As soon as it was announced that NU entered the Big 10, Wisconsin was saying that they are the Big Red of the conference. Of course since its in different divisions it might not work, but that would be pretty cool.

  20. Fred Dodge says:

    I would point out that the really great college football rivalries are never known by their trophy — The Game, The Red River Rivalry, the Iron Bowl…and all signs point to this being what Nebraska and Iowa are about…It has been some years, but there is just a natural antipathy there between Huskers and Eye-wejans.
    I think the name is not as important as the object. The historic trophies in sports are named after the object — the Stanley Cup, Little Brown Jug, the Axe…those trophies, such as the Lombardi trophy or the O’Brien trophy are more important for what they symbolize.
    How about selecting a bridge over the Missouri River and painting it in the winners colors for the year? Red and White or Black and Yellow?

  21. Justin says:

    “The Battle For Council Tucky” Loser has to claim Council Bluffs for a year!

  22. Jim Iseminger says:

    CorNUcopIA. This is not original from me. It has all the importent elements – Corn, NU and IA. The word means the “Horn of Plenty”. Its the spiral cone with harvest goodies coming out. Autumn, harvest, plenty, football, etc. THE PERFECT TROPHY!!!

  23. Mike says:

    Council tucky loser just for fun. But the Kinnick/Berringer Trophy would make anyone tear up if your team won it. Great idea whom ever thought that up. Nile Kinnick and Brook Berringer! Ill never get that off my mind when we play. GBR!

  24. Joey says:

    How about something NOT so tacky. Like ” The Nebraska & Iowa Hate Trophy “. Beings, people in C.B. Iowa hate NU fans , and NU fans could care less about Iowa fans 1 way or another. The Nebraska and Iowa war is as old as it gets. That’s been going on for years and years.