Badgers and Hawkeyes to play for bull

Wisconsin and Iowa add trophy to rivalry game

When Wisconsin travels to Iowa in three weeks for its final regular season game, the Badgers (8-0 overall, 5-0 Big Ten) could be playing with a Rose Bowl or Orange Bowl berth on the line. But regardless of how high the stakes prove to be Nov. 20, the Badgers and Hawkeyes will be playing for a trophy this season and in seasons to come.

The two schools announced Thursday the creation of the Heartland Trophy, to be awarded to the winner of the annual football matchup, beginning this season.

The trophy, a bull that measures 30 inches tall, 36 inches long and 18 inches deep, becomes the second traveling trophy that the Badgers compete for. Wisconsin will face Minnesota for The Paul Bunyan Axe Nov. 6, in the 114th rendition of college football's most-played rivalry.

The Badger/Hawkeye series is the most balanced in the Big Ten, with Wisconsin holding a mere 39-38-2 all-time series advantage.

"This trophy is a terrific opportunity to further showcase a great Midwestern college football rivalry," Wisconsin coach and athletic director Barry Alvarez said in a joint press release with Iowa athletic director Bob Bowlsby. "Having served on the football staffs at both institutions, I'm very aware of how much the matchup means to fans as well as student-athletes of both schools."

"We're delighted to introduce this traveling trophy to all Hawkeye and Badger fans," Bowlsby said. "The Iowa/Wisconsin series has always been one of the most competitive and hard fought series in college football."

There are now 16 trophy games involving Big Ten institutions. The most-recent additions prior to the Heartland Trophy were the Governor's Victory Bell (Penn State/Minnesota) and the Land Grant Trophy (Penn State/Michigan State) in 1993.

The Big Ten allows each of its member institutions to have protected rivalries with two league members. Those two schools – in UW's case, Minnesota and Iowa – are on the team's football schedule annually. With the introduction of the Heartland Trophy, the Badgers will now compete for a trophy in both of its annual rivalry games.

"Playing for the Heartland Trophy adds another dimension to what is already a highly anticipated annual competition for college football bragging rights," Alvarez said.

The series has not always been an even match. Wisconsin won the first six contests in the series, which began in 1894, and has recorded five-game series winning streaks on three occasions, most recently from 1997-2001. Iowa went 17-0-1 against the Badgers from 1977-96 and has also won the last two matchups.

The bull was designed and produced by artist Frank Strub, a former Iowa football player living in Des Moines, Iowa. The Heartland Trophy, like all the other Big Ten traveling trophies, will remain with the winner until the next game. The trophy will officially be unveiled in pre-game ceremonies Nov. 20 when Wisconsin meets Iowa in Iowa City.

"The bull on the top of the trophy symbolizes the kind of games that have been typical when the schools meet," Bowlsby said. "It's a trophy that will be treasured by the winning team each year."

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