Illinois, NU need your help to choose trophy

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

The Sweet Sioux Tomahawk is four months into retirement, and athletic department officials from Illinois and Northwestern are brainstorming ideas for a new rivalry trophy, awarded to the winner of their annual football game.

Now they need your help.

Both schools are holding polls on their official Web sites where fans can vote for four trophy ideas or propose one of their own. The Web polls will be open until April 15, and the schools expect to reveal the new trophy by April 25, the date of both teams' spring games.

Here are the four choices you can vote on:

  • The Land of Lincoln Trophy -- A replica of Lincoln's stove pipe hat mounted on a piece of White Oak (Illinois' state tree).

  • President's Trophy -- Recognizing the four presidents associated with the state of Illinois: Lincoln, Grant, Reagan and Obama.

  • The Popcorn Bowl, named after the Illinois state snack.

  • Graham-Grange Fire Bell (original series trophy started in 1941 was a fire bell), named after two of the greatest players at each school Otto Graham of Northwestern and Red Grange of Illinois.

I don't think enough college football fans will make the connection between Illinois and presidents or popcorn. I'm thinking the Popcorn Bowl trophy will look too much like the one from the MTV Movie Awards.

The Lincoln Trophy could look pretty cool, but my favorite is the Fire Bell, which honors the game's original tradition and the two greatest players from each team. The Northwestern blog Hailtopurple.com proposed it in November and has a great explanation of the history.

Then again, the best idea might come from one of you, so go vote here or here.