Forget about the Little Brown Jug, Paul Bunyan’s Axe, Floyd of Rosedale, and even the $5 Bits of Broken Chair Trophy — the Gophers currently have none of them, so that shouldn’t be too hard. *pulls out flask*
This week is all about the Governor’s Victory Bell, the one “rivalry” trophy that currently sits in the Gophers’ trophy case. *starts drinking heavily*
It’s one of the most coveted trophies in all of college football. The Gophers were so excited to seize it the last time around, they actually broke it.
But I’m not here to question the structural integrity of a “rivalry” trophy. I’m here to talk about the storied history of the Governor’s Victory Bell. All 23 years and 13 games of it.
The Big Ten Conference is rich with tradition, and the Governor’s Victory Bell is no exception. The best rivalry trophies are between programs that have a long history of mutual animosity, in most cases the product of competitive play on the field or something as simple as shared geography. But the Governor’s Victory Bell has none of that, which is what makes it so special.
It was first introduced in 1993 by the Big Ten to commemorate Penn State’s inaugural season as a member of the conference. Minnesota happened to be the first team on the Nittany Lions’ conference schedule and thus the Governor’s Victory Bell was born. It was that simple.
Penn State leads the all-time series 8-5, but the Gophers were able to claim the trophy after a 24-10 win over the Nittany Lions on November 9, 2013. In a cruel twist of fate, the two teams have met only once in the last five years, and after this Saturday won’t meet again until 2019. It’s like the Big Ten doesn’t understand the importance of this rivalry or appreciate its place in college football lore. I’m looking at you, Jim Delany.
One can only imagine what the last three years have been like for the Nittany Lions after losing the Governor’s Victory Bell. You could argue that this Saturday’s game at Beaver Stadium is a matchup three years in the making. With this trophy on the line, expect fireworks on Saturday as these two teams fight tooth and nail to lay their hands on the Governor’s Victory Bell before forgetting about if for the next three years. Your move, College Gameday.