Slab of Bacon
|Slab of Bacon|
Minnesota Golden Gophers
|Trophy Series||Minnesota leads, 11-3|
|Final Resting Place||Wisconsin|
|Current Trophy||Paul Bunyan's Axe|
The Slab of Bacon was a traveling trophy that formerly passed to the winner of the American college football rivalry game played annually by the Minnesota Golden Gophers football team of the University of Minnesota and the Wisconsin Badgers football team of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. It was given annually to the winning team immediately upon the conclusion of the game. It was the first symbol of one of the most heated rivalries in college football and is the most-played rivalry in Division I-A football, with 120 editions dating back to 1890.
The Slab of Bacon was created in 1930 as a way for the universities to commemorate their rivalry. The Slab of Bacon was a piece of black walnut wood carved with a football topped by a letter W or M, depending on which end it was hung from. It was carved by Dr. R. B. Fouch of Minneapolis. Scores of each Wisconsin–Minnesota game were printed on the back of the trophy. When the trophy changed hands, it was presented to the winning school by a sorority from the losing school.
 Lost and replaced
After the Gophers' 1943 victory, a ceremonial exchange was supposed to take place, but the officials involved could not find each other on the field. Wisconsin sent the trophy to Minnesota's locker room. The Gophers' coach at the time, Dr. George Hauser, refused to accept it, stating he believed "such trophies should be out for the duration" (of World War II). The trophy disappeared and was replaced by Paul Bunyan's Axe in 1948.
The Slab of Bacon was missing until 1994, when it was discovered in a storage room at the Wisconsin Athletic Department during a renovation of Camp Randall Stadium. Although allegedly "lost," it had been maintained: as the scores of every Wisconsin-Minnesota game from 1930 through 1970 were evident on the back of the slab.