The Sweep

SI.com's All-American Blog Team

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T1_bairdbros
The Baird Brother's Stringer is one of the most distinctive
trophies in college football.
Courtesy of Dan Whalen

Dan Whalen, an SI summer intern, is the starting quarterback for Division III Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He will blog about life in D-III every week.

In the world of trophies, none may be more unique than the one we will play the College of Wooster for this weekend. While it doesn't have a cool name like the Floyd of Rosedale, the Baird Brother's Stringer glows like the Jeweled Shillelagh.

It's about 12 feet long and has 22 different golden fish on it, one representing each game played between the two schools since the trophy's inception in 1984. In 1996, Sports Illustrated recognized it as one of the most distinctive in college football.

Brothers Bob Baird, a professor of economics at Case, and Bill, who holds the same position at Wooster, came up with the idea on a fishing trip in the early 1980s and it has stuck ever since.

Last year was the first year we beat Wooster since 1994, breaking a string of 12 straight defeats. After losing to them my freshman year -- and being scorned by their coaches during recruiting when I told them I wouldn't be attending their school -- I vowed that we wouldn't lose to Wooster again while I was at Case Western. And we won't.

Last week was a good tune-up against Denison University, a game in which we scored early and often and won 45-14. Denison's defensive line brought it a little harder than our previous opponents, and while I didn't make any Sage Rosenfels-like blunders, I did get my bell rung a few times.

Somehow we managed to drop in D3football.com's national rankings from 14th to 15th. Granted, the competition other teams are playing is a little stiffer, but all we can do is beat the teams in front of us. Our starting defense has allowed only 13 points this season, and we have outscored our opponents 142-7 in the first half.

This week, with an undefeated Wooster team coming to Cleveland to try and derail our playoff hopes, we will get our first real test of 2008. Saturday at 1 p.m., we'll be gone fishin' once again.

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