Our friends over at Bucky’s 5th Quarter were kind enough to answer our questions ahead of the Rose Bowl. This is part one of our three-part interview series and these answers were provided by Drew Hamm.
In the PAC-12 there are some fans who would rather go to the Rose Bowl than the playoffs due to the bowl game’s long history, how do BIG 10 fans feel about “the granddaddy of them all”?
The Rose Bowl is still the most important bowl game that a B1G team can go to...when you’re talking about tradition and scenic views and the like. However, as the Badgers have been sniffing around a Playoff spot a couple of times only to fall short I can tell you this: I would much rather the Badgers go to the CFP than the Rose Bowl. T
hat being said, the Rose Bowl is not some sort of consolation prize (especially when Wisconsin ruins Minnesota’s best chance to go in decades and doesn’t let stupid-ass Penn State get it either ((I may be biased being from Pennsylvania, but PSU is just awful))) at which to be scoffed. B1G fans, and Wisconsin fans in particular, love the Rose Bowl and would also love to win one since the B1G, and Wisconsin in particular, has struggled in the Granddady of Them All.
Not including their surprising one-point loss to Illinois, Wisconsin’s only losses were to what could be the best team in the country. What do you believe it will take to snap the Buckeyes’ eight-game win streak against the Badgers and do you think Paul Chryst can get you there? (For the record, Oregon currently holds a 0-9 record against Ohio State.)
This is a conversation that is had often amongst Badger fans and the answer is always “recruit better.” Wisconsin can clearly hang with Ohio State for at least a half, as this year’s B1G Title game proved, but they also clearly can’t hang for a full 60 minutes. The main reasons are the Buckeyes are deeper and more talented than the Badgers. I wish there was some deeper answer, but that’s it. If an Ohio State player gets banged up then another blue-chip talent comes in. If a Wisconsin player gets hurt, oftentimes a former walk-on or a player playing out of position has to come in. The difference is noticeable. Also, speed and athleticism in the secondary needs to improve for Wisconsin to beat Ohio State. On all of these accounts, the Badgers are improving. The 2020 recruiting class is the best one for Wisconsin in the recruiting websites era. The 2021 class is on track to be even better and the Badgers just signed a 4-star safety. These two classes won’t beat Ohio State alone, but you gotta start stacking the blocks some time and these are two good blocks.
If you could add any team to the BIG 10 who would it be and who would you kick out to make room?
Oh man, I’d kick out Maryland and Rutgers and not add anyone. Alright, maybe I’d add North Dakota State because I want to watch the world burn.
When I imagine a Wisconsin tailgate I think of cheap beer and cheese, what are some other Madison delicacies that are eaten on game day?
Yes, those things are plentiful on game day, but there is so much more to a good Wisconsin tailgate! First of all, you need copious amounts of tubed meat. Bratwurst, Italian sausages, Polish sausages, basically any of the Milwaukee Brewers Racing Sausages mascots are suitable. It also doesn’t matter what time the game is because a brat is great for breakfast.
There will also be brandy at a Wisconsin tailgate because that is what Wisconsinites make their old fashioneds with. I know it’s weird, I was a bartender for a dozen-plus years, but it’s also tasty. Like any good B1G school, a Wisconsin tailgate will have lots of yard games to play and usually rules about having a drink in your hand while you play. As my friends and I have gotten older, the cheap beer has been replaced with nicer beer which I’m sure Oregonians can appreciate.
This really is a wonderful craft beer-producing state school matchup! Cheese curds, summer sausage, pickled stuff...it’s all there and it also all goes well in a Bloody Mary. By and large, Wisconsin fans are a friendly lot that will welcome you with open arms if you bring something to the table.
If the mascot for the team wasn’t a badger what would it be?
The new USL soccer team in Madison (Forward Madison) took my first idea, which is a flamingo, so my next choice would be something a little off the wall like an Abominable Snowman or a Walleye or just a mannequin wearing blaze orange camo. Our alternate jerseys would definitely have blaze orange regardless of the mascot.
What will next year’s team look like and do you think they’ll win the conference?
Next year’s team will look pretty good again, and depending on Jonathan Taylor’s NFL decision (he should go pro) could look great. They will lose a couple of offensive linemen and a couple of linebackers but those are two position groups that the Badgers have tremendous depth. I would assume that Wisconsin wins the West again and then loses to Ohio State again in the B1G Title game. Lather, rinse, repeat.