The idea of Lehigh, Lafayette and Penn competing for the "state championship" has as its origins the student newspapers, who had started tallying the records of the games between each other in the hopes of crowning a mythical "champion of Pennsylvania".
In 1888, Lehigh and Lafayette played each other twice, and played Penn once apiece in Philadelphia.
But the final records of Lehigh (2-1), Penn (2-1) and Lafayette (1-2) made it inconclusive as to who the state champion really was.
In 1889, with interest high in some sort of champions to be crowned, all three schools made an attempt to start a true "Championship of Pennsylvania", complete with its own trophy. It was was founded in part to broaden the interest in football at both Lehigh and Lafayette, to be sure, but it also may have been a way to lock in Penn to playing return games in the Lehigh Valley, as Penn had already cancelled return games against both Lehigh and Lafayette in the past.
It made for a thrilling season, and one that further intensified the already-fierce Rivalry.
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