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October 17, 2010

Gridiron grudge match: Annual Hoosier rivalry games you don’t want to miss

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — If you love the hoopla and fanfare surrounding college football rivalry games, but couldn’t make it to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium to see UK and U of L play for the Governor’s Cup this year, don't worry. On this side of the Ohio River we like to wait until the weather cools down and the anticipation amps up before we start playing for hardware.

The Tribune and The Evening News has compiled a list of Indiana colleges, both large and small, who have yet to meet on the gridiron for their annual grudge match. From D III to D I, from West Lafayette to Bloomington, these games get Hoosiers hollering like no other.

Old Oaken Bucket

Indiana University Hoosiers vs. Purdue University Boilermakers, since 1891

The most famous Indiana college football rivalry is IU and Purdue, where the winner brings the Old Oaken Bucket back to their school and adds either a “P” or an “I” to the chain attached to the bucket.

IU and Purdue first played each other in 1891, but it wasn't until 1925 that the two began playing for the most famous trophy in Indiana college football.

Tasked with finding a suitable trophy to commemorate the rivalry game, Russell Gray of Chicago’s Purdue alumni chapter and Dr. Clarence Jones of Indiana’s recommended that, “an old oaken bucket would be a most typical trophy from this state and should be taken from a well somewhere in Indiana,” according to Purdue’s website. Purdue’s Fritz Ernst and Whiley J. Huddle of Indiana found the bucket on the old Bruner farm between Kent and Hanover in Southern Indiana. While this story is widely popular, other stories of the bucket’s origin, listed on the Old Oaken Bucket website, dispute it.

Whatever the origins of the bucket, the first bucket game ended in a 0 to 0 tie, which is why the first link on the chain is “IP.” Since that first bucket game Purdue has dominated the series, adding 54 “P” links to the chain, while Indiana has only added 26 “I” links. Two more “IP” links have also been added. Purdue leads the all-time series between the schools 68 to 36 with six games ending in a tie.

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