Others well versed in the Michigan tradition are less positive. "We're just not sure" if the trophy is the original, says Bruce Madej, the longtime Wolverine sports media relations director. Greg Kinney, curator of the athletic archives housed at the U-M Bentley Historical Library, says he isn't certain, either. And former head coach Lloyd Carr told me he always believed the trophy wasn't the original jug.
With the experts disagreeing, that left the jug itself. It was time for a forensic investigation, like the ones you see on those TV crime dramas.
The athletic department granted my request to inspect the jug, and with Jon Falk on hand I took a variety of photos from several angles. Using a graphics editing program, I then compared these with a photo of the jug taken before 1910. The spout, handle, and shoulder looked dead on, but the current jug seemed slightly shorter. Of course, perspectives can change drastically depending on the angle of the camera and distortion in the lenses.
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