Trophy games are one of the very cool traditions in college football. Big Ten Football may be the crown conference of trophy games. We know about Paul Bunyan’s Axe and the 98 pound Floyd of Rosedale, but few know the lore of the $5 bits of broken chair trophy. Two historic football programs that combine for eleven claimed national titles in Nebraska and Minnesota play for this gem of a trophy. In the era of conference realignment tearing down rivalries, this rivalry was able to pick up steam quickly.
Nebraska first joined the Big Ten in 2010, which was a big move for a program that had seen sustained success in the Big 12 and had many historic rivals such as Oklahoma and Colorado. With Colorado moving to the Pac 12, Nebraska was looking for bigger and better too (talk about winning the breakup). Aside from Iowa, Nebraska doesn’t really have many Big Ten foes, but that would only take a few short years to change.
The $5 Bits of Broken Chair trophy made its debut in 2014 when the Minnesota Golden Gophers met the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Lincoln for a late season matchup. At the time, both teams had aspirations of a Big Ten West division title with a win. As most fan bases were leading up to games in this era were (and still are), the Twitter machine was humming for both fan bases. There may have been no hotter college football account in 2014 than @FauxPelini. This parody account made noise every week on the Huskers and their opponents while growing up over 600k followers on Twitter. Below is the Twitter interaction between Goldy Gopher and Faux Pelini that led us to a trophy being created. Who knew you could start a trophy game from some internet trolling?
Competing for a Cause
The great benefit of this rivalry trophy compared to others is the philanthropy surrounding the trophy. On the trophy’s website, you have the option to donate to the Gophers or Huskers cause. This is the sixth year this rivalry will be raising funds. For 2022, the Gophers cause is the M Health Fairview Masonic Children’s Hospital and the Huskers are backing the Team Jack Foundation supporting families impacted by childhood brain cancer.
This weekend the Gophers and Huskers will meet for the ninth time battling for the $5 Bits of Broken Chair Trophy. Minnesota has dominated Nebraska in the PJ Fleck era as the Gophers look to score their fourth straight win against the Huskers. Nebraska is currently led by interim Head Coach Mickey Joseph since firing Scott Frost back in September and they are 2-3 since Joseph has taken over. Both teams don’t look particularly great but the $5 Bits of Broken Chair trophy brings the narrative right back!
Parlay engineer with Twitter fingers.