Starting next season, four Pacific Coast teams will be calling the Big Ten Conference home. One of those teams happens to be Oregon, which is known for its 100 different combinations of uniforms and for being the home of Nike’s Phil Knight. They also beat the Ohio State football team a couple of years ago.
Oregon has Knight to thank for their relevance in many ways. Knight will not always be there to support the Ducks financially, but they will go on to be one of the more powerful universities west of the Mississippi River.
Another University that has benefited from Phil Knight’s money is the Ohio State football program. The Buckeyes possess one of Nike’s larger contracts in the country. No doubt Nike and Ohio State help one another make a lot of money. So, in an odd way, both the Ducks and the Bucks have a lot in common thanks to Phil Knight and his world-famous shoe company.
This is why when Oregon joins the Big Ten next season, it’s a perfect opportunity for the creation of a new rivalry trophy game: The Nike Bowl.
There are going to be great opportunities for the conference to introduce new rivalry trophy games. But I can’t think of a more creative, competitive, and just plain fun game than the Nike Bowl. Think about it, Phil Knight’s two best investments, Oregon and Ohio State football, doing battle on a yearly or bi-yearly basis.
This won’t be just a rivalry trophy game with a cool name like the Nike Bowl. This particular rivalry game will have the best trophy in college football. No dumb old buckets, wooden turtles, or golden cowboy hats. No, this will be the greatest rivalry trophy of all time. In this rivalry game, the losing coach must walk to the fifty-yard line, take off his “Nike” shoes, and hand them to the winning coach.
Just imagine walking into the Woody Hayes Athletic Center in Columbus, Ohio, or the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex in Eugene, Oregon, and seeing the Nike’s of Dan Lanning or Ryan Day sitting amongst Rose Bowl trophies, Conference titles, or National Championships.
No one really showcases their rivalry trophies, unless you are a mediocre program with an empty trophy case, but you have to admit, seeing the shoes of the losing coach on display to take a selfie with would be pretty cool.
Can you imagine the winning team parading around the field with the shoes from the losing coach? Or the winning coach being interviewed in the post-game press conference while holding the shoes of the man whom he just defeated? Just the idea of it, no matter how corky or odd it may seem, would become something that every major sports network would talk about.
Plus, it could be a way for both programs in conjunction with Nike to do something pretty amazing. Both fan bases can donate their old shoes to Nike who would deliver those shoes to needy people all around the world. The Nike Bowl literally could become a way for people to help the less fortunate.
So, let’s make this happen Big Ten. The Ducks vs. Bucks in the Nike Bowl where the spoils are the Nike kicks from the losing coach.