Bret Bielema: Heartland Trophy at stake if Iowa, Wisconsin meet in Big Ten title game

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CHICAGO — There's a chance Iowa could win back the Heartland Trophy this year. It's dark-horse, almost pie-in-the-sky, but it could happen.

This fall if Iowa wins the Legends Division title and Wisconsin claims the Leaders Division title, the longtime rivals will meet in the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game on Dec. 3 in Indianapolis. At stake will be the league's automatic Bowl Championship Series berth and the traveling trophy between the schools.

Big Ten associate commissioner Scott Chipman confirmed Thursday that the decision for traveling trophies rests with the schools. Wisconsin Coach Bret Bielema said Wednesday the golden bull that now sits in Madison, Wis., would be at stake if the two schools meet for the title.

"Absolutely," Bielema said. "I would think anytime we play, that's the way I understand it. I guess there's not an official rulebook.

"I think anytime we play, no matter even if it was during the year we played and maybe if we still played later in the championship game, I would think anytime we played that would be the case."

The series is tied 42-42-2. Last year Wisconsin beat Iowa 31-30 in Iowa City, propelling the Badgers to a tie for the Big Ten title.

The longtime rivalry between Iowa and Wisconsin is halted in regular-season play for two years. Iowa and Wisconsin, which had played 73 of the last 75 years, was placed in opposite divisions and the rivalry was not protected by the Big Ten. The schools' next regular-season meeting is scheduled for Nov. 2, 2013 in Iowa City.

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