Topics

More

The Legend Of The Land-Grant Trophy

The story of the Land-Grant Trophy begins on February 12, 1809 — the day Abraham Lincoln was born. Born and raised in what would become the heart of Big Ten territory, Lincoln knew the potential for smash-mouth football in the midwest.

When he became the 16th President of the United States, he was determined to institute an act that would create football-playing universities in America’s heartland. Thus, the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862 was signed into law, providing funding for land-grant colleges across the country and cementing Lincoln’s place in history.

Two agricultural colleges founded in 1855, one in Michigan and the other in Pennsylvania, would serve as models for implementing the system nationwide. As such, the two-state schools would become synonymous with the Land-Grant Act.

Those two measly cow colleges grew up to become the football powerhouses that Lincoln always envisioned them to be: the Penn State Nittany Lions and Michigan State Spartans. 

By fate, when the Nittany Lions joined the Big Ten in 1993, their arbitrarily-assigned ‘rival’ was none other than the Spartans.

Sensing something lacking between the newly manufactured rivals, Joe Paterno and Michigan State head coach George Perles agreed to spice things up like old lovers. Perles knew what would motivate the players to leave it all on the field on the last Saturday of the season: the most objectively beautiful trophy in all of college football, commemorating the schools’ history as pioneer land grant colleges.

Perles commissioned a local East Lansing sporting goods shop to bring his vision to life, presenting the owner with rough crayon-drawn blueprints for a kitchen cabinet, probably.

The unknown artist took Perles’ requests and his or her own artistic liberties, drawing clear inspiration from Michelangelo’s David and the trendy wood paneling from the 1970s. The result was everything that Perles could have possibly imagined, and then some.

Standing over three feet tall and weighing about as much as a full-grown golden retriever, the trophy embodies everything that the Land-Grant Act stands for: craftsmanship, statues, iconic school buildings, cabinet-making, and generic gold football figurines.

The trophy is like the birdhouse you made in high school woodshop class if that birdhouse grew up to become, in the words of James Franklin, “the most beautiful trophy in all of college football.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself, coach. 

Your ad blocker is on.

Please choose an option below.

Sign up for our e-mail newsletter:
OR
Support quality journalism:
Purchase a Subscription!

About the Author

Anthony Fiset

Anthony is a senior *gasp* majoring in Economics and a lifetime Costco Executive Member. If you are an employer, please hire him. Otherwise, direct all complaints to [email protected].

Penn State Board Of Trustees Approves 2025-26 Fiscal Budget

The budget features increases between 1-4% for tuition, housing, and food for most students.

Penn State Athletics Announces Food & Beverage Partnership With Oak View Group

Oak View Group’s hospitality division work as a food and beverage partner across nearly all University Park athletic venues.

Penn State Football Defensive End Abdul Carter Named Big Ten Preseason Honoree

Carter was one of 10 players, and the only Nittany Lion, mentioned by the conference.

113kFollowers
164kFollowers
60kFollowers
4,570Subscribers
Other posts by Anthony

Golden Arches: Anthony Fiset’s Senior Column

Senior Anthony Fiset reflects on his most memorable experience from college — a debacle at McDonald’s his freshman year.

Class Of 2020 To Hold Virtual Mifflin Streak

THON 2020 Prop Bets