Saturday, October 05, 2002

Want a big game? Add bells, mountains or an axe



By John Erardi, jerardi@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[img]
Miami University players ring the victory bell after beating UC 21-14 at Miami in 2001.
(Ernest Coleman photo)
| ZOOM |
        If you're a local football fan, you already know UC vs. Miami is the (fill in the blanks) “oldest Division I-A football rivalry ---- of the -----.” That's right: “west” of the “Alleghenies.”

        Very good. For the topographically challenged, please note: The Alleghenies are a mountain range. For the geographically challenged, please note: The Alleghenies run through central Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia.

        We know because we just looked it up.

        The winner of the UC-Miami game gets the ---- Bell.

        Correct, the “Victory” Bell.

        By the way, who presently has possession of the bell? Yes, Miami.

        The UC-Miami game dates to 1888 and has been played almost every year ... but not quite. Thus, the designation “oldest,” but not “most often played.” For the record, UC-Miami is a 114-year-old rivalry that has been played 106 times, which ranks fifth nationally. The most often played Division I game is Wisconsin vs. Minnesota (111). After that come Missouri vs. Kansas (110), and Nebraska vs. Kansas and Texas vs. Texas A&M (both 108).

        Of the four rivalry games that have been played more often than UC-Miami, only two feature symbolic trophies that go to the winner. (Hint: They aren't games involving Texas and Nebraska.)

        OK, so we've narrowed it down to Missouri-Kansas and Wisconsin-Minnesota. Of these games, which is played for “Paul Bunyan's Axe?” And which is played for the “Indian War Drum”? (Hint: There aren't a lot of trees in Kansas, so there isn't much use for a chopping tool there.) Very good! Paul Bunyan's Axe goes to the winner of Wisconsin-Minnesota; the Indian War Drum goes to the winner of Missouri-Kansas.

        And, no, we don't know if the axe really belonged to Paul Bunyan.

        Final question: With all this talk about “rivalries” and “west of the Alleghenies,” what is the “longest small-college rivalry west of the Alleghenies?” (Hints: The schools are in Indiana, they're Division III, and the trophy is a 300-pound railroad bell. Think of a famous train ride on the —— Cannonball.) Right! Wabash. As in Wabash College (Crawfordsville) vs. DePauw College (Greencastle). The bell once belonged to the Monon Railroad, which ran from — you guessed it — Crawfordsville to Greencastle.

        We don't know what this all means.

        We just thought you'd like to know.

       



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