We haven't talked trophies in awhile and they are a big part of the tradition of the Big Ten. Two of our new divison rivals play for a trophy dubbed "The Paul Bunyan Trophy." It goes to the winner of the game between Michigan and Michigan State and it currently lives in East Lansing, Michigan. So today we are going to introduce you to Paul Bunyan. Mr. Bunyan is a mythical character that has roots from coast to coast. There are many stories and legends about him and his origins and they all come from different parts of the land; California, Oregon, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Maine, New York, Arizona, New Mexico, and even Oklahoma. You can read about a lot of them on the wiki page.
Bunyan's birth was somewhat unusual, as are the births of many mythic heroes, as it took five storks to carry the infant (ordinarily, one stork could carry several babies and drop them off at their parents' homes). When he was old enough to clap and laugh, the vibration broke every window in the house. When he was seven months old, he sawed the legs off his parents' bed in the middle of the night. Paul and Babe the Blue Ox, his companion, dug the Grand Canyon when he dragged his axe behind him. He created Mount Hood by piling rocks on top of his campfire to put it out.
That whole Grand Canyon line just oozes with Chuck Norris goodness. Maybe Chuck is his son or maybe Chuck Norris had a son and his name was Paul Bunyan. Oh yes, the trophy. There are actually two trophies in the Big Ten commemorating Paul Bunyan. The axe will be presented on another day.
In 1953, Michigan State started play in the big ten and the governor of Michigan, helped create the idea for the trophy. Oscoda, Michigan claims to be the birthplace or home of Paul Bunyan and Michigan has a history as a lumber state. So a statue of Bunyan was made. Early on in the rivalry, Michigan State dominated. They had a lead in the series of 11-4-2, but then Michigan decided to start playing again and won 13 of the next 15. Right now, the Wolverines lead 34-22-2, but the Spartans have won the last three. They can have their first four game winning streak in the series since 1959-1962 if they can win this year. State should be favored after last season and how things are shaping up so far after spring ball. A lot can change, though, over the summer.
Here are some highlights from last years game. It's from a Michigan State, but hey, they won.