What, you didn't think we'd totally forget the MTB College Sports Bucket List, did you? Well, after a break to talk a ton of Badgers football this past weekend it's about time we refresh you on where we stand.
Yep, we're up to No. 40 on our list and helping us to close out the 40's last time around was one of the more iconic games in the SEC, Tennessee vs. Alabama. This time we're looking into what is perhaps the mst iconic of DIII football rivalries, a game simply known as the Tommie - Johnnie Rivalry.
No. 40 - St. Thomas vs. St. Johns (D3 Football):
Thanksgiving day of 1901, that's the date this little nugget of a rivalry got it's start. That's right, a division three football game that dates back over 110 seasons! Hard to believe huh? Over the course of that 111 year history the teams have met a total of 80 times, 60 of which have occurred in a row.
St. Thomas is known simply as the Tommies, while St. John's is known as the Johnnies. Pretty simple to remember and get, right? Heck, they even play for one of the coolest trophies in all of college sports - The Holy Grail. (Quick, think of your favorite Monty Python moment, and go....)
So, what makes this small college game worthy of such a lofty perch on our bucket list? It's not the all-time closeness of the series overall, because it's not that close. St. John's has been the far more successful team both in the rivalry, holding a 49-30-1 record overall against their rivals, and on the national scene.
What does make it so great is that it involves two small catholic universities in the same state. One is an all-male college (The Johnnies), while St. Thomas is not. The Tommies are also a school in the big city (St. Paul), while The Johnnies are located in tiny Collegeville Township, MN.
As you can see the demographics alone could lead to a huge rivalry between the schools, but add in the fact that alums from each school tend to live around and work with each other and you have a lot of heat on this game.
On the field St. John's is perhaps one of the most iconic of D3 teams, winning 4 national championships (1963, 1965, 1976, 2003) and making 23 national Postseason appearances. They've also won 31 conference championships in the MIAC (Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference). Head Coach John Gagliardi has seen a vast majority of the games as he enters his 64th season as a head coach, 60 straight with the Johnnies.
The Tommies have had the better national and conference success as of late, making runs to the NCAA D3 quarterfinals in 2009 and 2010, while also making a semi-final appearance last season. They've won 16 MIAC Championships as well.
What has helped to hype this game up is the fact that 32 of the last 77 games have been decided by a touchdown or less, so no matter who is good or who is struggling this game clearly means a lot to all involved and makes for a great game to watch for even those that don't have a rooting interest.
One of the most interesting and twisted parts of the rivalry is what the students do.... Making t-shirts that insult the opposite college. Admittedly the ones in recent years have really gotten out of hand, but the usual mix of loose women, insulting the manhood of the other male students, and just about any other joke you can think of has been done and put into t-shirt form by the students at these schools.
Still question why we have it this high on the list? Try setting an all-time D3 attendance record with over 16,000 people in attendance on for size. Ya, this game routinely draws above the 10,000 spectator mark, regardless of where it's played. If for nothing else they get major points for just doing that feat.
However, right now has to be the best time to see this rivalry as both teams are very, very good and competing for the conference crown on an annual basis. So, hurry to Minnesota to catch one of the best games and rivalries you probably have never heard of.