Rivalry Crowdsourcing

Breaking down the Heroes Game trophy contenders

While Nebraska's focus is on starting a new rivalry with Wisconsin this week, that doesn't mean we can't take a moment to consider Nebraska's already named but still trophy-less rivalry with Iowa. For now, we will disregard Nebraska's "designated rival." It's all so complicated these days.

Anyway, the student groups at Iowa and Nebraska have obviously learned from the Cy-Hawk trophy debacle and are exempting themselves from trophy backlash by putting the ultimate design in the hands of the general public.

I think this is a good thing but then again the general public seems to really like "The Big Bang Theory." Too late to go back now. The website is already up and taking votes. All that's left now is to wait and hope that America - or at least Iowa and Nebraska - makes the right choice.

And make no mistake, threre's a clear winner in the four candidates:

1) The Corn Bowl - This one is mostly fine. A presumably cool, art deco, gold bowl that will be filled with REAL CORN. Sort of like the Orange Bowl. I'll sign on to this one if and only if the winning team gets to actually fill the bowl with team colored corn from a giant Pioneer sack that ABC simply won't be able to resist showing sitting on the sidelines throughout the game. Think of the anticipation! (And Pioneer, think about the brand exposure.) Grade: B

2) Corn Cob - Choose this one if you don't have problem with everyone outside of Iowa and Nebraska making fun of the two states for having a very phallic rivalry trophy. Corn cobs make great Thanksgiving centerpieces but, on their own, they aren't all that interesting. Grade: C-

3) Corn Stalk - Good if you like chainsaw art. They say this will be hand carved and I'm sure it would be an amazing bit of craftsmanship but all I really see is this. Grade: F

4) Pitchfork - Unlike corn cobs, pitchforks are inherently cool. (Except, of course, Arizona State's new rocketfork. That's awful.) The best rivalry trophies have always been tools - an axe, a skillet, a jug, a barrel, a barrel of nails, a bucket, a spade - because they're portable and can be held aloft over the victors' head's in glory. The pitchfork checks all those boxes while still giving a nod to the agricultural link between the two states. It's also sort of menacing - again an axe, a cannon, a tomahawk, the bones, a shillelagh - another hallmark of all great rivalry trophies. A clear winner. Grade: A+

Get out the vote.

Click here for an important update to this post.

Share the Love

Comments 16 comments so far

The Corn Bowl has a nice ring to it that I think will overcome any additional coolness factor from the pitchfork.

Can’t you just hear Bret Musburger saying:
“Welcome to the inaugural Corn Bowl, folks. These two states are known for their corn production off the field as much as their corn-fed production on the field. Am I right, Kirk?”

ABCESPN just can’t pass up an opportunity for a good pun and stereotype combo. So, I’m sure that’s what they’re pulling for.


Well, that’s the problem. They could’ve named this the Corn Bowl and everybody would’ve been happy and then they could play for the pitchfork (or the corn bowl/“all the ears”).

But, the game already has a name and if we’re sticking with this whole heroes thing, what would a hero do with a bowl of corn? I know what a hero would do with a pitchfork. He (or she) would pick it up in his calloused hands at daybreak and get to work feeding American families - nay the world! - pausing only at noon for a cool sip of water and to wipe the sweat of his brow with his shirtsleeve. Then he’d get back to work, a hero, who, prior to this game went unnoticed but now has a college football game to celebrate his sacrifice.
So…yeah…still going with the pitchfork.

You just wrote the opening montage for ABC.

You’re welcome Musburger.

Personally I like both leaning slightly in favor of the Corn Bowl.  A chalise like bowl seems to more resemble a trophy and there is some room left for creativeness as to what goes into the bowl.  Each team can have ears of corn that they have decorated in various fashions with the hope to be able to fill the bowl with their corn and scorn the enemy…

Has the Husker ever had a game in which a trophy was on the line like this before?  If not, then why are we doing this with Iowa?  Why don’t we put OU on our preseason schedule every year and do this?


Mizzou and Nebraska used to play for the Victory Bell.

Brandon, thanks, forgot all about the bell.  Don’t really know if I even support something like this with Iowa, not really even a rival in my mind.

Putting a name to the annual NU/Iowa football game seems…kind of weird.  It does seem to be a B1G tradition to name certain football games tween rivalries BUT will this actually be a rivalry or is it a rivalry because certain people want it to be?  My understanding about rivalries is that it starts on the football field.  When I think of rivalries my mind goes to the NU/OU games of the 1970’s thru the late 1980’s.  Now that was a rivalry.

Mark, exactly, that is why I am struggling with it!  Like CU always wanted to be our rivals, but it just never felt that way.  OU, in my mind will always be one.  I just don’t see Iowa being in that role with us.

The Corn Belt was the name I liked best, but a wrestling belt isn’t a trophy I’d prefer.  Out of these choices I agree on the fork.

If we are going to call it the hero’s game lets have something that actually represents heros.  The Huskers are carrying a very meaningful American flag around this year, to me that seems like a perfect symbol for a hero’s game.  I know it means a lot to the Huskers and if it is up for grabs I can guarantee you that it will mean just as much to the Hawkeyes to take it away.  To me there is no better trophy than one that has true meaning, leave the commercial out of it.

I like the idea of a portable agricultural tool like the pitchfork as the annual trophy.  In addition to that (and I’m sure that someone has already suggested this), because both states are in the top 10 states for cattle production, I imagine that it would be fun for the teams to also have a “side of beef” trophy where the losing school has to serve the winning school a beef dinner after the game.

Took a look at all the trophies this morning…and…well…I think I threw up a little bit.  Thought about it all day and I’m still a little sick.  We are using this game to honor a hero from each state and our choices have nothing to do with heros.  I’m not sure what I would have used but there has to be something better.  We should have just called it the corn bowl and been done with it.  I agree with Mark 100%.  Rivalries develop over time and on the football field why rush it.

Sorry Brandon, but Arizona’s logo is a trident, not a pitchfork or “rocketfork”.


Technically, yes, it is a trident but everybody - the school itself, the local chamber of commerce, Nike - refers to it as a pitchfork. And I call it a rocketfork for the ridiculous clip art they added behind it.

We may all be wrong, but we’re all united in our wrongness.

All good comments.  I share the hesitation and forced rivalry sentiments.  With that said, if we’re going to have a trophy…

Go with a pitchfork.  But not this “trophy pitchfork” on a stand.  Go with a real one.  One that’s 100+ years old that’s seen a lot of a action.  Take picture submissions from farmers in Iowa and Nebraska and use the selected, donated fork as the trophy.  Then simply loop a red or black ribbon over the handle each year to show the winner.  Much cooler.

Commenting is not available in this section entry.
More Recent Stories...