As many of you know, when Nebraska joined the Big Ten there was a bit of an alphabet controversy. Long-time Big Ten member Northwestern had long gone by NU (an appropriate abbreviation for Northwestern University), an abbreviation that Nebraska had been using for decades when competing against their Big 8 foes. While Northwestern likes to point out that UN or UNL are the appropriate abbreviations for Nebraska, Nebraska fans generally send loud fart noises in their direction.
Considering we're in a conference that has twelve members (soon to be fourteen because why not) but calls itself the Big Ten, I think a little nomenclature quirkiness is acceptable.
But in the interest in being fair, I decided, rather unilaterally, to track the intercollegiate competition between Nebraska and Northwestern. The majority winner of head-to-head competitions would claim the rights to the NU for the following season. In the interest of the Big Ten and their preference for crazy old trophies that you can carry around, I thought long and hard about what would be the most appropriate "trophy" for these two schools.
And then it hit me.
Ladies and gentlemen, an artist's rendering of the trophy:
We'll call it the School Book Trophy. It is crafted from the finest Nebraska leather money can buy and contains gold stitching befitting a Northwestern prize. It'll represent the argument over letters and the one-room schoolhouse origins of both states. Ownership of this trophy entitles the school to bragging rights and "exclusive" claim to the NU moniker.
Now let's move on to the meat of this piece and review the previous two seasons and award trophies.
Nebraska's first year in the Big Ten did not go as expected, to say the least.
|Wrestling||0||1||Swimming and Diving||0||2|
Note: When tabulating "wins", I looked at every inter-school competition including tournaments. For instance, in 2011 Nebraska and Northwestern did not have a dual in wrestling. But in the Big Ten tournament, Northwestern outscored Nebraska, earning them the "win" in the head to head match-up.
In a final tally for the two schools, Northwestern wins the School Book Trophy for 2011, 16-10.
Whether Nebraska decided to be a good guest or Northwestern decided to punish us for losing our AAU status, we may never know. Regardless, it was one heck of a beat down, particularly on the men's side. I mean...even if football had won, it wouldn't have helped!
Yeesh. They thoroughly laid their claim to the NU moniker and looked good doing it. But hey, at least we beat them in Debate, right?
In 2012, the story was a little different. No more Nebraska Nice.
|Wrestling||2||0||Swimming and Diving||1**||1|
*Possibly the reason Bill Carmody was fired.
**This was a pretty big win for Nebraska Swim and Dive - it set a team record for 12 wins in a season.
Now that's what we like to see. Victories in Nebraska's traditionally strong endeavors of football (SILENT COUNT), baseball, wrestling, volleyball and women's basketball propelled Nebraska to a 17-7 win over Northwestern and ownership of the School Book Trophy for the 2013-2014 season.
Did I mention the silent count?
What's Northwestern doing about that, by the way?
Well this is interesting. A little tarp action? pic.twitter.com/iE0n5g045F— Jon Davis (@NUHighlights) August 18, 2013
Oh, and Nebraska repeated as Big Ten champs in Debate. So that was pretty nice. Here's hoping for the three-peat this fall!
Looking ahead, the battle for the School Book Trophy looks to be a tough one. For Nebraska, the men will have to find ways to win in football, baseball, basketball and wrestling to secure a repeat. (Look for the women to repeat their strong performance from 2012.)
Will Northwestern find a way to knock off Nebraska? New basketball coach Chris Collins may have something to say about that. And Fitzgerald may be sitting on a very underrated Northwestern squad with B1G dreams.
The hunt for the rights to NU in 2014 is just heating up. Are you ready?
Chime in below on whether you think Nebraska repeats or if you think Northwestern will find a way to steal back the NU!