When Thomas Gordon first saw the Paul Bunyan Trophy, he was a senior at Cass Tech High School in Detroit and on a recruiting visit in Ann Arbor.
Since then, the safety hasn't seen it at Michigan.
In the days leading up to Saturday's game against Michigan State — and in the last four years — there's been a notable absence inside one of the cases at Schembechler Hall: the Paul Bunyan Trophy, awarded to the winner of each year's Michigan-Michigan State game.
One statement is taped to the empty spot inside the trophy case.
"The Paul Bunyan Trophy is temporarily located in East Lansing but will return next year."
I've only been here about seven months, but was this recently affixed to that spot in the trophy case?
The Bunyan Trophy has settled into a cozy home about 65 miles northwest of Ann Arbor, and right now it's in a four-year lease agreement in East Lansing.
"All I know now," defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said, "is they've had that Paul Bunyan for too many years."
And this rankles a few people, though most of Michigan's players won't let on. They're taking the high road this week.
Yet when asked about the trophy, Gordon let his imagination take over.
"I'll bet it looks a whole lot better after a victory," Gordon said.
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