As if the two schools weren't competitive enough already, the University of South Dakota and South Dakota State University raised the stakes even further Wednesday. They're teaming up with the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council in the Showdown Series, a competition between the universities based on athletics and academics. Hungry families will also come out winners.
The fierce rivalry between USD and SDSU is adding a trophy that's brimming with corn-fed competition.
"Oh, this is huge. This is huge because there's such a big following to both these universities," South Dakota Corn Utilization Council President Chad Blindauer said.
By sponsoring the Showdown Series, the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council gets the word out about its efforts to advance agriculture while the universities gain recognition for their student-athletes.
"It's a great opportunity to demonstrate that collaborators can be fierce competitors as well when we enter the intercollegiate athletic arena," SDSU President David Chicoine said.
The men's and women's teams from both schools will score points with each victory as well as maintaining a high grade-point average.
"So it really does promote not only athletics, but academics and good sportsmanship, etc. So it's a good program," USD President Jim Abbott said.
But this competition isn't just about athletics and academics. It's also about helping hungry families in-need. The Showdown Series will donate money to Feeding South Dakota.
"Those that farm the ground of South Dakota to grow that corn that is used to help feed people all around the world is a natural fit for the work we do here in South Dakota," Feeding South Dakota Executive Director Matt Gassen said.
"Rivalry; philanthropy. How can you beat that?" Abbott said.
The USD-SDSU football game on November 17 will be the next head-to-head competition in the Showdown Series. Right now, USD leads the series three points to two.