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What’s in a rivalry game?

by on Oct.01, 2010, under football, Rivalry Week

The Dutchmen's Shoes - the price of the RPI / Union matchup every year.

What school makes your blood boil? When I was in high school (DeLaSalle in Minneapolis) we played a certain private school (Minnehaha Academy) in everything. And beating them was the most important thing in the world. We could be 0-6 on the season in football, soccer, basketball, baseball, volleyball, whatever sport and we’d have a 50-50 shot to beat them.

This weekend Saint John’s University faces the University of Saint Thomas in Collegeville, Minnesota. Big game. But just how big is it, exactly?

  • For the first time (that I know of) St. Thomas has a higher ranking than St. John’s.
  • The MIAC attendance record for a football game is 13,107 – set on the day of SJU’s head coach John Gagliardi’s 409th career victory – passing Eddie Robinson on the all-time list – November 8, 2003. Last year’s attendance was announced at 12,903. In an email from SJU the crowd is expected to be approximately 15,000.

A prime example of one of those shirts.

Rivalries bring out the best and the worst in fans. Gene McGivern, the UST SID, wrote about the stats this year, and the shirts in a bit of humor in 2006 and again in 2009:

5) Speaking of T-shirts, do you remember that one for the Tommie-Johnnie football game in 1987 that said… (CENSORED)… or the one from the 2000 game that said (CENSORED)… Last fall’s one was pretty good, too, the one with the picture of (CENSORED) that read (CENSORED).

Gene’s a funny guy.

But I don’t want this to be all about the Johnnie/Tommie game this weekend. I’ve been doing some research and there are some fairly important, big rivalries around Division III (on Wikipedia there are 45 listed):

  • The Dutchmen’s Shoes (RPI / Union) – October 30
  • Monon Bell (DePauw / Wabash) – November 13
  • Biggest Little Game in America (Amherst / Williams) – November 13
  • Cortaca Jug (Ithaca / Cortland) – November 13
  • Cereal Bowl (Carleton / St. Olaf) – October 16
  • And many others.

The amazing piece is if you sort the list on Wikipedia, 11 of the 45 rivalries have been going on since the 19th century: The Amherst/Williams rivalry being the oldest in Div III, starting in 1884 (bested by Harvard/Yale and Lafayette/Lehigh in Division I).

The Battle for the Shoes – Occidental / Whittier – October 2

From Occidental College’s website:
Since 1946 the Poets and Tigers have played for a pair of bronzed cleats, worn by 1940 Whittier graduate Myron Claxton, in a rivalry game that has grown to be called the “Battle for the Shoes”.

On the Thursday evening prior to the scheduled meeting of the teams in 1939, members of the Occidental football team stole the All-American running backs shoes from the locker room, forcing Claxton to play in his work boots. Even so, Claxton led the Poets to a 36-0 victory as they went on to win the SCIAC title that year.

Following the game Claxton, who was the final draft pick of the Giants in the 1940 NFL draft, went over to the Oxy sideline and retrieved his shoes, “bringing them home”. Seven years later members of the Franklin Society, which Claxton was a member, had the shoes bronzed and the teams have played for the coveted “Shoes” trophy ever since.

Occidental and Whittier have faced each other an impressive 102 times, and since the introduction of the trophy they are knotted up at 33-33. Oxy holds the advantage historically 52-48-2.

The Drum – Occidental / Pomona-Pitzer – October 30
The third-oldest rivalry on the west coast, this dates back to 1895. They have played for The Drum since 1941, after the alumni associations of each school came up with the idea. Oxy holds this advantage 60-48-3.

Monon Bell – DePauw / Wabash – November 13
The third-oldest rivalry in the Midwest, this one dates back to 1890. I cannot do this game justice. Because it is held on the final day of the season it hasn’t been one I’ve been able to get to in years past. It’s only 10 hours from Minneapolis, maybe this is the year I go. Who wants to come with? Wabash leads 54-53-9

Carleton walks with the Goat after defeating St. Olaf in 2008. Photo by Pat Coleman, D3football.com

Cereal Bowl – the Battle for the goat – Carleton / St. Olaf – October 16
I won’t try to rephrase anything that Pat Coleman wrote in 2008 about this cross-town battle between liberal arts colleges in Northfield, Minn. This year the game is scheduled to be held in Laird Stadium, which only in the last few days has begun to be relieved of water from the flooding Cannon River. Will it be moved to St. Olaf or played at Northfield H.S. (as Carleton’s homecoming will be played this weekend)? Time will tell.
This match-up is stranger than it looks, too, as they played the only NCAA-sanctioned football game in metric in 1977 (the Oles won that game 43-0). St. Olaf leads the series 46-42-1.

Coe vs Cornell – November 13
While they don’t play for a trophy, or a big-title game, this match-up is the oldest west of the Mississippi River, dating back to 1891. There’s some debate over who won their 1902 game, so it’s either Coe’s lead at 65-59-4 or 64-60-4 65-50-4 or 64-51-4. Read more in a 1999 D3football.com Around the Nation column.

What are your rivalries all about? We know there are more, I can only write so much before I cannot keep my notes straight so I ask that you include your own rivalries, or simply expand on mine.

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Week 4 – September 22 – September 28

by on Sep.21, 2010, under Are you kidding me??, conferences, football, IIAC, Liberty League, MIAA, NWC, SCIAC, soccer, sports, WIAC

We’ve got a fairly well packed week ahead of us.

But before I go there, you should go here and vote for Thiel: http://www.post-gazette.com/polls/default.asp?pollID=3829. Thiel vs. a High School football team – who will win? I’m going to file this under the “Are you kidding me??” header.

Football
No. 4 St. Thomas vs. Concordia-Moorhead (Scott Pierson) [gallery]
No. 9 Coe vs. No. 7 Central (Ryan Coleman) [gallery]
Augsburg vs. No. 19 St. John’s (Caleb Williams and Tim Ward) [gallery]
(RV) Wisc.-Stevens Point vs. Albion (Larry Radloff) [gallery] – the first Pink football game in college football history
Union vs. Rochester (Matt Milless) [gallery]

Soccer
St. Thomas vs. St. Scholastica (Ryan Coleman) [gallery] – Sept 21
Hamline vs. Cornell (Ia.) (Ryan Coleman) [gallery] – Sept 21
Methodist vs. Shenandoah (Bruce Lee) [gallery] – Sept 25

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