CHICAGO — The last time a pig received more attention in Minnesota than Floyd of Rosedale, the word "Humble" appeared atop a cobweb in the children's movie "Charlotte's Web."
Floyd of Rosedale, a 98.3-pound bronze pig statue, welcomed Gopher fans throughout Minnesota on the spring banquet circuit. Minnesota won the traveling trophy Nov. 27, 2010 with a 27-24 upset against Iowa, which had won the pig three straight years in the longtime series. The Hawkeyes and Gophers have played for Floyd every year since 1935.
"It’s traveled around; it’s been at every Gopher function," Minnesota junior linebacker Mike Rallis said. "It went around the field for a while; it was out and about the night after. I’ve seen it over at the stadium, over at our facility."
The Gophers had lost 11 straight trophy games before re-claiming Floyd. Minnesota had started the year 1-9 and Coach Tim Brewster was fired midway through the season. But the Gophers rallied under interim Coach Jeff Horton with wins against Illinois and Iowa to end the year 3-9.
"It was such a surreal feeling," Minnesota senior running back Duane Bennett said. "After we took that game, it was like, 'Go run over and get the pig.' Then to have the fans storm the field, it was such an exciting time in Gopher history. It’s something that we take pride in. It’s something that we share with the younger guys, 'This is what it’s like. This is what can happen.' It only takes a little bit of team chemistry to get there."
The Gophers compete in four trophy games, and Floyd of Rosedale is the only one that resides in the team's trophy case. Minnesota plays Wisconsin for Paul Bunyan's Axe, and the Gophers have won it just twice since 1994. The Gophers compete against Michigan for the Little Brown Jug and have won it just once (2005) since 1986. Minnesota plays Penn State for the Governor's Victory Bell, which the Gophers last won in 2004.
Floyd of Rosedale, which used to rest outside the football offices at the Hayden Fry Football Complex in Iowa City, now "just kind of hangs out in the players' lounge," according to Bennett.
"We just kind of cherish it," Bennett said. "We walk past it every morning we have nutrition so it’s a constant reminder of what we accomplished last year and what we can accomplish this year."
For Rallis, taking home Floyd of Rosedale was the highlight of a tough season.
"That was a tremendous feeling. Probably the biggest win since I’ve been here, I’d say as a Gopher," Rallis said. "To finally get a trophy game on top of everything that we’d gone through ... to be able to celebrate like that, go over to the sideline and grab the pig, it was a great feeling."The schools play for Floyd on Oct. 29, the first time the schools have played outside of November since 1982.