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Chicago's REAL Big Ten Team Is Not Northwestern

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Northwestern isn't historic, this week for #TBT I look at the REAL Big Ten Team in Chicago.

Maroons vs Gophers 1907
Maroons vs Gophers 1907
MNHS

I was recently thinking about how stupid it is that Northwestern (or Illinois for that matter) tries to market itself as "Chicago's Big Ten Team". LOL. The Big Ten's Chicago team has and will always be the University of Chicago Maroons. UChicago still maintains it's affiliation with the Big Ten through the Committee of Institutional Cooperation, and you know is located in the actual city of Chicago. It's logo is also synonymous with the city.

Despite the Maroons dropping football after 1939 they have 7 conference championship to Northwestern's 8 (Minnesota has 18). And UChicago has two more national championships than the Wildcats. The Gophers game on Saturday against Northwestern might be the biggest between the two in recent memory but screw the Wildcats, this post is now about how boss Amos Alonzo Stagg was and the 1906 match up between the Maroons and our maroon and gold Golden Gophers.

A. A. Stagg, 1908. Chicago Daily News negatives collection, DN-0003451. Courtesy of Chicago History Museum.

Writing about Coach Stagg was would easily take over this entire post. Suffice it to say that he contributed as much to the game of football as anyone. Stagg coached the Maroons for 40 (!) seasons from 1892-1932, and during that time battled Doc Williams and the University of Minnesota fiercely.

Let's look at some pics from 1906! 

The Gophers arrrive in Chicago, 1906. Chicago Daily News negatives collection, DN-0003451. Courtesy of Chicago History Museum.

In 1906 the U of M traveled to Chicago for the first time in seven years. The game would be a battle between two of the powerhouse programs in the Big Nine (actual name at the time). Minnesota had gone undefeated and won the Big Nine in 1904, Chicago did the same in 1905. Thousands of fans traveled from Minnesota to watch the game at Marshall Field.

Just before kickoff 1906. Chicago Daily News negatives collection, DN-0003451. Courtesy of Chicago History Museum.

The sellout crowd was somewhat disappointed, the field was wet and "cut down on the speed of Minnesota" (Minneapolis Journal, November 15, 1906). Bobby Marshall, All-American, and the only African American in the Big Nine, stared for the Gophers that day.

If you can tell what's going on in this you're a better person than I, but I think Chicago has the ball on the left. Chicago Daily News negatives collection, DN-0003451. Courtesy of Chicago History Museum.

In the end the Gophers triumphed 4-2. WHOOOOO, THAT'S A SCORE YOU JUST DON'T SEE ANYMORE. Minnesota managed to shit the bed the following week against Carlisle 0-17, killing any national championship hopes, but still won a tie for the Big Nine championship in 1906.

UChicago's record is 5-12-1 against the Gophers. Stagg was fired in 1932 for being too old and Chicago's inability to name a competent replacement doomed the program. They lost every Big Nine game for three straight years until dropping football before the 1940 season.

Special note, the last B1G victory UChicago had was in 1936 when they beat Wisconsin 7-6. (GO MAROONS!)

Birdseye view of Maroons vs Gophers at Northrop Field, 1907. Minnesota Historical Society