The IU-MSU game, the game for the Old Brass Spittoon, may be the Big Ten's least-known "trophy game." I would much rather have a pig-on-a-pedestal, but there's nothing that can be done about that now. Frankly, as a "trophy game" it seems just as forced as the Land Grant Trophy "rivalry" concocted when Penn State joined the Big Ten. The IU and MSU campuses aren't close together, there is no real history of a rivalry, and the schools played only seven times before MSU joined the Big Ten in 1953.
The participants themselves sometimes have forgotten about the trophy . The only reference I could find to this incident is in an old MSU message board post, but it's fairly well-known in Hoosier circles. In 1991, MSU lost to IU 31-0 in Bloomington, IU's first win in the series since 1986. After the game, the Spartans failed to turn over the Spittoon because they had left it behind in East Lansing. After an incensed Bill Mallory threatened to have an assistant coach drive to MSU to claim the trophy, the Spartans promised to send it. Some time later, a MSU staffer mailed the Spittoon...to the University of Iowa. IU has defeated MSU only three times since then: 1993 and 2006 in Bloomington, 2001 in East Lansing (MSU later forfeited the 1994 game, but the Spartans won on the field). Given the history, it's a good idea for IU to hold on to the Spittoon whenever possible. It would be a shame for it to end up buried in the back of MSU's trophy case again, or the victim of geographic confusion.