No matter what they do over the course of the rest of their inaugural campaign in the Big Ten conference, the Nebraska Cornhuskers will not win the Stagg-Paterno Championship trophy.
On Monday, in the face of growing public scrutiny, Big Ten conference officials announced that they would remove former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno’s name from the trophy that was due to be awarded at the December 3 Big Ten championship game. Now, the winner of that outing will get the Stagg Championship Trophy.
"We believe that it would be inappropriate to keep Joe Paterno's name on the trophy at this time," Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said in a statement. "The trophy and its namesake are intended to be celebratory and aspirational, not controversial. We believe that it's important to keep the focus on the players and the teams that will be competing in the inaugural championship game."
Amos Alonzo Stagg whose name now rests alone on the trophy won 319 total games over the span of a 57-year career – most of which came at the University of Chicago.
Currently, the Huskers are sitting directly behind the Michigan State Spartans -- and are tied with the Michigan Wolverines -- in the Legends Division of the Big Ten. If the Spartans were to stumble at some point before the end of the season against either Indiana or Northwestern, and Nebraska were able to win out – the latter team would earn a shot to face off against a representative of the Leaders Division for the newly-renamed award.
The game is set to take place in Indianapolis.
This past Saturday, Nebraska defeated the Penn State Nittany Lions 17-14 in a game fully charged with emotion. After the outing, despite his team’s victory, head coach Bo Pelini said he wished that this weekend’s showdown would have been canceled. It was a sentiment shared by many, many people.
Nevertheless, thanks to the victory, the Huskers find themselves bumped up in the BCS standings where they currently sit at the No. 16 spot.
Next up, Nebraska will play another tough road game against Michigan. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:00 p.m., eastern time.