Today's Tidbit... State Pride and the 1931 Wisconsin-Minnesota Game ($)
Like most, I enjoy learning about games involving top players and coaches with championship implications. Yesterday's story about the 1932 Colgate-Brown game was one of those. But there are many other games involving teams of no particular note, and the 1931 Wisconsin-Minnesota game was one of the latter, though no one knew it at the time since they were both undefeated in Big Ten play.
Played on Halloween, Wisconsin entered the game 3-1-1 and 1-0 in Big Ten play. They started the season beating Bradley and North Dakota State on the same day in one of those doubleheaders that were all the rage at the time. They tied Auburn, beat Purdue, and lost to Penn before heading to Minneapolis.
The Fritz Crisler-coached Gophers looked similar coming in at 4-1. They, too, had beaten North Dakota State as part of a doubleheader in which they also took down Ripon College. A victory over Oklahoma State, a loss at Stanford, and a win over Iowa set the tone for the contest with the Badgers that would keep one in competition for the conference title while knocking the loser down a peg.
(As an aside, Michigan recently claimed its 1,000th football victory, making it the first school to accomplish that feat. The Wolverines’ claiming a 1,000th win led some to complain about the many schools that count victories over high schools and miscellaneous other teams in their win totals. Not to throw fuel on the fire, but teams universally count both ends of doubleheaders in their all-time records as well. See The Good Old Days of Football Doubleheaders for more)