Countdown to College Football: Day 32: Wisconsin

School: University of Wisconsin

Mascot: Badgers

Fight Song: On Wisconsin

Head Coach: Paul Chryst (40-25, 21-6 at Wisconsin)

Stadium: Camp Randall Stadium (80,321)

Best Place to Eat on Campus: 

When given the opportunity to herald a watering hole with the same name as my favorite cocktail, I feel inclined to take it.  The Old Fashioned, "Where Wisconsin is King" appears to be a fine place, and has the ringing endorsement of Wisconsin related sporting sites. The food is a little more chic than we typically enjoy, but the burger and sandwich portion of the menu satiates our desires. 

Greatest Moment in Program History: 

 Wisconsin has been one of the Big 10's finest programs since 1993, when they came out of nowhere and won the Rose Bowl.  They are consistently good for 10 wins a year, regardless of who is coaching. Although Rose Bowl success has been fleeting in recent years, Barry Alvarez won three Rose Bowls in the 90's.  No victory was more heralded than the upset victory over UCLA in the 1998 Rose Bowl.  UCLA spent much of the season undefeated and ranked in the top 5. A porous defense, which would turn out to ultimately be Bob Toledo's undoing at UCLA, was shredded by Miami in the last week of the season, costing UCLA a shot at the National Title. Wisconsin, despite getting thumped by Michigan, entered the game at 10-1 as well.  Ron Dayne ran all over UCLA, and despite UCLA stud quarterback Cade Mcknown's best efforts, Wisconsin rolled over favored UCLA to win their first of two consecutive Rose Bowl championships. 

Current State of the Program: 

Paul Chryst is a fine football coach.  As was Gary Andersen and Bret Bielema.  The likely difference between Chryst and those two coaches is that Chryst is a Wisconsin alum, and this is THE job for him. He will endure the meddlesome athletic director and work within the high academic standards and small coaches salary pool at Wisconsin for that very reason. Gary Andersen seems at home in Corvallis, violently running the ball in the driving Oregon rain, and Bielema seems content to gorge himself on southern BBQ and living in the middle tier of the SEC.  Chryst is a better schematic coach than either one and should continue to win double digit games for Wisconsin.  With Ohio State and Michigan flexing their muscles, Wisconsin will have to get faster to win a conference title, but I expect they will be in the Buckeyes and Wolverines rear view mirror, lurking, for the foreseeable future. 

Prediction: 10-2

vs Utah State - W

vs Florida Atlantic - W

at BYU - W

vs Northwestern - W

at Nebraska - L

vs Purdue - W

vs Maryland - W

at Illinois - W

at Indiana - W

vs Iowa - W

vs Michigan - W

at Minnesota - W