I will be in West Lafayette on Wednesday night to watch Purdue and Indiana face off in what I think is the best college basketball rivalry in the country. I was thinking about writing a preview post for the game, but I realized I didn't have anything interesting to say about it. It is possible for Purdue to win, but it would take a near-perfect game and a healthy dose of luck for it to happen. Although they have turned into a respectable defensive team, the Boilers most likely won't be able to score enough to keep up with the Hoosiers.
So I started to think about basketball rivalry games in general. Then I started to wonder why there are no rivalry trophies for basketball games. Then I searched for college bball rivalry trophies and found that there are a few. Missing from that list is the Braggin' Rights trophy given at the end of that game, but the winning team (usually Mizzou) doesn't even get to take it with them. There just aren't very many true basketball rivalry trophies.
On the other hand, there are almost a thousand football rivalry trophies. Every team in the Big Ten has at least one, and most have three or more. It seems to me that fans and players all like the trophies. What would the OTE comment section be without the Floyd of Rosedale? Sure, most of them are ridiculous, but some of them are awesome because they are ridiculous. Maybe there are too many at this point, but rivalry trophies are a major part of college football. More fans consider that to be a positive than a negative.
So why aren't there more basketball rivalry trophies? I guess one issue is that when the teams play twice in a year, the traveling trophy thing gets a little confusing. If the teams split the games, one team could hold the trophy for almost a year, while the other would have to give it up after just a couple of weeks.
There are two ways to handle this:
- Designate one game per year as the trophy game. The Purdue-Indiana volleyball rivalry trophy, the Monon Spike, operates this way.
- Ignore it because it doesn't matter. Who really cares? The Blackburn/McCafferty Trophy travels with the winner of the biannual Xavier-Dayton game. If one team has to give it up after a few weeks, it's not a problem.
Players like holding up trophies; fans like watching players hold up trophies. I think this is a no-brainer. Let's start it small: each team gets one conference rivalry game with a trophy. The trophy can look like a normal trophy, or it can be some sort of random thing like most of the football trophies.