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An Ode To The Land-Grant Trophy

She is beauty, she is grace.

Every time Penn State football faces Michigan State, the two teams compete for the Land-Grant Trophy. This trophy is an artistic masterpiece that makes the ghost of Michelangelo jealous. In fact, according to James Franklin, it’s “the most beautiful trophy in all of college football.”

The history of the trophy runs deep, representing the long rivalry between the nation’s two original land-grant universities, as created by the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862. The Nittany Lions have faced the Spartans 26 out of the last 30 years since joining the Big Ten in 1993.

Unfortunately, like many other great college football traditions, conference realignment is jeopardizing the sanctity of our precious land-grant rivalry. Starting in 2024, the Big Ten divisions will cease to exist, bringing the end to Penn State’s yearly date with Michigan State.

The Nittany Lions will still face the Spartans semi-regularly but not every year for the last game of the season like they do now. Because of this, the battle of the Land-Grant Trophy has become even more important.

The winner of this year’s Land-Grant battle will hold possession of the trophy for two years, a prestigious honor that shouldn’t be taken lightly. The Land-Grant Trophy holds a special sort of power, something that can’t quite be described in words. Its power transcends football into something more empowering.

If Penn State can win its game against Michigan State on Black Friday, the magic of the greatest piece of hardware in college football will guide the team toward future success. Here’s my prediction.

A win will all but guarantee a New Year’s Six bowl game for the Nittany Lions. With the Land-Grant Trophy’s mystical guidance, the team will win that bowl game, ending the season on a high note and boosting the confidence of key players.

Riding its momentum into the 2024 season, Penn State will go 11-1, losing to Ohio State as they always do, but beating new entries to the Big Ten like Washington, UCLA, and USC. With its 11-1 record, Penn State will be seeded as the No. 5 team in the country, hosting a playoff game in Beaver Stadium in the first-ever 12-team playoff.

Who will they face in that game? None other than Michigan State, who will hire Urban Meyer this offseason and consequently have a fantastic 2024 season. This game will go down as the greatest Land-Grant rivalry game of all time, and Penn State will win its first-ever College Football Playoff game.

My point is the trophy holds a lot of power. I got chills just writing this. From the generic, gold statue of a football player to the faded images of Penn State and Michigan State’s campuses, there’s something special about the Land-Grant Trophy.

It truly is beautiful, so if this is the last time we’ll get to see it for a few years, let’s make sure to soak in the moment. Land-Grant Trophy, we love you.

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About the Author

Mikey DeAngelis

Mikey DeAngelis is a junior majoring in film production who is also serving as one of Onward State's visual editors. During his free time, he enjoys making content for his YouTube channel. Mikey loves Philly sports, traveling and hiking in National Parks, and watching movies. To reach Mikey, feel free to reach out on Twitter (@mikey_deangelis) or by email ([email protected]).

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