clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Big Ten Countdown: 35 - A Pig Trophy You Can't Eat And Other Amazing Facts

35 days left until Nebraska officially joins the Big Ten. Woohoo!!!

What about the number 35? Well, we've been counting down through the years, and some of them are challenging. Not 35, though. There's a whole gob o' 35 available, but since we've been reeling through the years, we'll stick with that at the beginning, so... 

1935. Minnesota wins another national title. Ha! Just kidding! They didn't. (Kind of getting tired of Minnesota, but they keep showing up. Damn Gophers.) 

1935 was the year that Floyd of Rosedale was born. Well, not really. You see, Floyd of Rosedale was originally a real pig. See, Iowa got mad over the 1934 Minnesota - Iowa game because they thought that Minnesota was playing dirty. Iowa star Ozzie Simmons was beaten up pretty good in the game, and Iowa didn't like that much. Simmons was black and the insinuation was that the Gophers were hitting him late because of his race. 

In 1935, Minnesota had to play in Iowa, and Minnesota coach Bernie Bierman (pronounced Beer! Man!) received a bunch of threatening mail. Maybe someone threatened to kill him. Not like we haven't heard that somewhere before. The Governor of Iowa, Clyde Herring, got all huffy and said that if the Minnesota players beat up on Simmons again, that the crowd would come out of the stands and do something about it. 

Bierman got upset, and called Herry a sissy bun. Or maybe he threatened to not play the game. Minnesota Attorney General Harry Peterson accused Iowa of thuggery. Tensions were high, so Minnesota governor Floyd Olsen recognized an opportunity to diffuse the situation and have some fun, so he sent a message to Herring, offering to bet a Minnesota prize hog vs an Iowa prize hog that Minnesota would win. Herring accepted. 

Minnesota won the game, and Herring got a prize pig from Rosedale Farms near Fort Dodge. He named him Floyd. Hence, Floyd of Rosedale. 

Then some guy Virgil Case wanted to make a big deal of it because he thought the whole thing was a violation of gambling laws. Just goes to show that joy-killing sumbitches have always been with us. But Case pressed the case and wanted Federal charges brought because the pig had crossed state lines. Olson, winner of a pig but clearly with nothing to do with it, offered it up as the grand prize in a state-wide essay-writing contest and it was won by by a 14-year old boy who didn't know what to do with it either. A few years later, Floyd Of Rosedale died of cholera. 

Because Case made such a big deal out of nothing, the two couldn't bet on a live pig, so they made a bronze statue and hereafter played for that. 

I have to ask you - what the hell were these people doing? Minnesota won the pig, but apparently didn't understand that ham and bacon comes from pigs, otherwise they would have et it. Then some 14-year old boy's family didn't eat it either. You'll excuse me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the economy was very good in 1935. Was PETA around then to defend the pig? Did the pig have its own attorney? Was it too ugly to eat? Did the boy's family sell tickets to people to come see the pig and therefore it had value above and beyond bacon? 

What the hell is wrong with all these people? 

35 - Big Ten Championships for Ohio State 

The Ohio State Buckeyes have won 35 Big Ten championships, including the last six in a row. Well, duh. If they keep recruiting players by letting them sell memorabilia and giving them great deals on cars, shouldn't they be winning championships? 

35 - Wisconsin's Alan Ameche 

Not to be confused with actor Don Ameche, Alan Ameche was a star running back at Wisconsin from 1951-1954.  . Ameche, whose real name was Lino Dante Ameche, was nicknamed "The Horse", and ran for 3,212 yards (then a NCAA record), while playing fullback and linebacker in the single platoon days. Ameche won the 1954 Heisman. 

Ameche's number 35 is one of six Badgers whose number has been retired. Beginning this season, his name will honor the Big Ten's annual trophy (what is it with the trophies in the Big Ten?) for the best running back. The Ameche  - Dayne Running Back of the Year Trophy will be given to the best car salesman.... no, that's Ohio State... to the best running back in the Big Ten on an annual basis. 

35 - Michael "Juice" Thompson Sets A Record 

Just a couple months ago, Northwestern's Michael "Juice" Thompson set a record for scoring in the Big Ten basketball tournament by scoring 35 points as the Wildcats beat Minnesota 75-65. Northwestern fans were ecstatic. Minnesota fans were not. None of this is surprising, though, because the Gophers were bloody awful at the end of the season. 

35 - Northwestern 

Poor Northwestern. On January 1st, 2010 they could only score 35 points in the Outback Bowl when they needed 38 (or more). The team that's only won one bowl game in their entire history took an opponent to overtime for the second straight year in a row in a bowl game and lost, 38-35 to Auburn. Maybe if they'd have won we wouldn't have had to put up with this whole Cam Newton national title bit because everyone knows that winning a bowl game carries momentum into the next season. So, really, Northwestern didn't just let themselves down. They let everyone down. Damn you Wildcats! 

It wasn't any better this past season when they took Texas Tech to overtime and ended up losing 45-38. But, hey! They keep getting to bowl games!

Just for the record, if Northwestern gets to a bowl game this next season and wins it, I'm going to take all the credit for Nebraska. If not, well, they're just Northwestern! 

35 - Northwestern 

What? Them again? (Maybe you're thinking I just googled Northwestern and 35...) Sad but true. Northwestern is on the losing end of the biggest comeback in Division IA history when they had a 38-3 lead on Michigan State in 2006. Northwestern lead 38-3 with 9:54 remaining in the third quarter, then gave up 38 unanswered points to lose 41-38. 

35 - Northwestern But A WIn This Time!

I don't mean to pick on Northwestern, so we'll end on a high note. Northwestern owns the longest losing streak in Division IA history. Between 1979 and 1982, the Wildcats lost 34 straight games. But! Oh!!! The 35th! That had to be something! On September 25th, 1982, the losing streak came to an end with a 31-6 victory over Northern Illinois. 

Students tore down the goal posts, marched them to Lake Michigan and threw them in the lake while chanting "One In A Row!" If I had to pick one game celebration to be at through all college football history, that just might be the one. Imagine the joy they felt, and then they all graduated and got better jobs than everyone else.