Freedom Trophy Round 2: Wisconsin-Nebraska Is Big Ten’s Worst Rivalry


Wisconsin is coming off of its most offensive offensive performance since the 2012 loss to Oregon State. And yet, the 10-6 loss to Iowa (and the relinquishing of the Heartland Pig) will still be a better moment for the Big Ten than the second vying of the Freedom Trophy this Saturday.

READ ALSO: Freedom Trophy looks like a pirate ship

Wisconsin’s offense played so bad that Joe Schobert was being (rightfully) hailed as a viable replacement for the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2016 after having little-to-no draft hype whatsoever.

What was I talking about? Oh, the Nebraska game.

As I mentioned last year, this still isn’t a rivalry. Wisconsin was even tied with Nebraska all-time at 4-4 before going into last year’s obliteration where Melvin Gordon ran for over 400 yards in three quarters. The 59-24 final score actually increased the average margin of victory over Nebraska to two touchdowns.

It’s true that Nebraska won the first Big Ten meeting, 30-27 in Lincoln, but losing to a team that’s not even ranked (70-31 B1G Championship) or ranked double digits behind you (No. 22 Wisconsin vs. No. 11 Nebraska last year) does not a rivalry make.

You know what makes an interesting rivalry, South Africa and India cricket. You know what they’ll be playing for? The Freedom Trophy.

That actually makes sense. This is what ESPN Cricinfo reported on what that rivalry is based upon:

"“BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India), on behalf of every citizen of our country, is able to pay tribute to these great leaders (Ghandi and Mandela) by naming the series after them, and appeals to each and every citizen of our country to imbibe their ideals and follow the path advised by them,” BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur said in a statement."

Just two great nations, coming together in sport, in recognition of great political and human rights leaders, for the benefit of both opposing teams. Freedom genuinely means something to both fan bases. Both countries were torn apart by caste systems and race and are to this day trying to repair the relationships fractured by centuries of anger and mistrust.

Nebraska and Wisconsin do not share any of these qualities.

They don’t even have a “Civil Conflict” with each other. Both states sent troops to the Union during the civil war. It’s the only thing it can be about. Nebraska’ Memorial Stadium was built to honor soldiers fallen in, at first, the Civil and Spanish-American Wars, and Camp Randall Stadium is built on the site of Camp Randall, a Union training post.

So, essentially, this rivalry is just about who can be the best version of each other. Make sense? No? Well, it doesn’t make sense to me, either.

Both teams combined are 5-5 heading into this weekend’s game. Both teams wear red and white, have huge sellout crowds (when everyone gets out of bed on time), both sets of fans adorn their heads with some sort of food, have Heisman history, and both probably share the eternal ill will of Bo Pelini.

These two teams shouldn’t be playing over a complicated bronze trophy, they should be playing for a giant double mirror. Now that would be something.

But still, like always, win that trophy.

Next: We've Been 0-1 in Big Ten Before

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