By John Antonik for WVUsports.com
January 11, 2012 01:37 PM
|The late Art Lewis poses with Old Ironsides, given each year to the area's top college football program among Penn State, Pitt and West Virginia.
|Sports Communications photo
Do you remember when winning the Lambert Trophy used to be such a big deal in Eastern college football?
Well, a couple of days ago it was announced that West Virginia was this year’s recipient of the Lambert Trophy and it slipped right past us like a Justin Verlander fastball.
It is only the fourth time the Mountaineers have claimed this once prestigious award, the three prior times coming in 1988, 1993 and 2007.
I can recall many years when it looked like West Virginia had the inside track on the Lambert Trophy … that is until the Penn State game rolled around.
In fact, back in the 1970s and 1980s, it was almost impossible for other schools in the Northeast to pry the thing away from the Nittany Lions. Penn State has won 28 of them, its most recent Lambert Trophy coming in 2009. From 1971 to 1990, the Nittanys won the award 13 times.
Syracuse’s last Lambert Trophy came in 1992 and Pitt’s was 32 years ago in 1980.
In recent years, though, schools such as Connecticut, Louisville, Miami and Virginia Tech have won it.
For those of you who don’t know, the Lambert Trophy was established in 1936 by New York jewelers Victor and Henry Lambert in honor of their father August Lambert to recognize the top team in Eastern college football.
Originally intended for schools located in New York, New Jersey, New England and Pennsylvania, the criteria has been altered through the years to include bordering states such as Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.
Now following several Big East expansions, schools not located in the Northeast are in the mix to win it. I would presume San Diego State, Boise State, SMU, Houston and Central Florida will one day be eligible to win it, too, since half their schedules will eventually feature eligible Lambert Trophy schools.
And when that happens, I imagine the Lambert Trophy will end up in somebody’s closet just like Old Ironsides, a big, three-sided hunk of steel that was once awarded annually to the Pitt-Penn State-West Virginia winner.
Have you ever heard of Old Ironsides?
I didn’t think so.
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West Virginia University Mountaineers