Let's talk actual Penn State football, shall we? Or, at the very least, the periphery and pomp of its football program. Anything other than the scandal.
To that end, the Big Ten announced that Wisconsin and Penn State would be playing for a rivalry trophy in 2012 and beyond, adding a new layer of drama and intrigue to the Leaders Division. Here's more information on it, via StateCollege.com:
Dave Joyner, the school’s acting athletic director, said last week that he is engaged in talks with Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez about creating a trophy for the end-of-season division game as early as this season. The two are each other’s final regular season opponent through 2016, the latest year conference schedules are finalized.
“Don’t know what it is yet,” Joyner said. “We have mock names, but we’ll figure out what to call it. We are similar backgrounds, blue-collar football schools. There’s a lot of commonality with where Wisconsin comes from and where we come from.”
Don't know what it is yet, you say? Well, that's practically a bat signal (topical movie reference) for us to come up with some trophy ideas.
All of these are excellent ideas, and they should be adopted by every team in the Big Ten immediately. Okay, the total opposite is true: these are all silly and should be ignored by everybody. Onward!
The Crushed Beer Can Trophy
Pennsylvania has a long, proud heritage of brewing beer. Yuengling is one of the oldest beers in America—and it's pretty tasty—and Iron City is perhaps Pittsburgh's finest contribution to the world (actually, it's terrible, but shhhh). Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, sobriety is illegal. Thus, a giant crushed beer can would be a perfect way to commemorate both states.
And if you're concerned that maybe a trophy with an alcoholic beverage might be "sending the wrong message," au contraire: It'd probably be sending the rightest message about collegiate sports in a long, long time.
The Buckeye Tug-of-War Trophy
Before Penn State was crippled by NCAA sanctions, the general understanding of the Leaders Division was that it was a three-team situation: Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin. No offense to Illinois, Indiana or Purdue is intended, but let's just be honest.
At any rate, Ohio State doesn't really have a bitter divisional rival, so this trophy would feature a small bronze depiction of Bucky the Badger and Dana the Androgynous Dead-Eyed Toothy Thing (a.k.a. Penn State's mascot) each tugging on one of Brutus the Buckeye's arms. The winner of this game receives a cursory amount of attention from Ohio State.
The Barry Alvarez Trophy
Barry Alvarez himself is the trophy. According to sources, he misses the feeling of being hoisted by jubilant football players. Both coaches are expected to reject this proposal, although Alvarez says the Wisconsin athletic department "feels strongly that this is the right move."
The B1G-Wonderful-Exemplary-Superior-Commander-of-Everything Trophy
The Big Ten likes to pat itself on the back, if you hadn't noticed. The divisions are seriously and unironically called "Legends" and "Leaders," and Iowa and Nebraska play an annual "Heroes Game."
Thus, Wisconsin and Penn State owe it to the conference—nay, the world—to recognize themselves as pretty much the greatest football programs, schools, alumni and, really, just institutions in general ever. Ever.
Jim Delany will refer to this self-designation as "the least we could say about those schools." The trophy will be a giant football-shaped balloon filled with hot air.
Do you have other ideas for what these teams should play for? Are they as good as our ideas? Tell us in the comments. That's the right place to do it.