Several details regarding Carlisle’s dominance over the Big Ten teams they played need to be addressed. First off is when the games were played. The first of these games was played in 1896 and the last in 1909. 1908 is the last year for a post-season road trip as the Penn State games were regular season games played against an in-state team that wasn’t their equal. 1907 was the only one of the seasons in which these games were played that Carlisle had a one-loss season. None were played in Carlisle’s 1911-13 glory days. Warner complained that the bigger teams stopped scheduling games with Carlisle after they became strong. It appears that he was accurate in the case of Big Ten teams.
Eight of these games, a slight minority, were played when Warner wasn’t coaching Carlisle. He did coach the Indians against Chicago in 1907, Minnesota in 1907 and 1908, Northwestern in 1903, Nebraska in 1908 and Penn State in 1907-1909. Penn State was improving at the time but hadn’t reached the level of Carlisle’s major opponents. Pop Warner considered the victory over Amos Alonzo Stagg’s 1907 Chicago team to be one of his greatest because Stagg thought he had his strongest team to date that year. 1907 was the first year in which Carlisle was defeated but one time. It was also the first year the Indians defeated Harvard, one of the Big Three. The only loss was to another of the Big Three, Princeton. It was also the first year that Carlisle beat two of the Big Four, Penn and Harvard.
1908 marked the end of Carlisle’s post-season trips to play Big Ten teams. That year the Indians defeated Nebraska in the teams’ only meeting 37-6 and they lost to Minnesota 11-6, in their last meeting with the Gophers. Newspaper accounts alluded to something happening in the game to sour the two schools against playing each other, but I haven’t uncovered the details yet.