By Doug Halberstadt
During the college football season last year, fans didn’t have to travel very far to see one of the top-rated teams in the country play. The Wisconsin Badgers play their home games at Camp Randall Stadium on the University of Wisconsin campus in Madison. That boils down to slightly more than an hour drive for most of us living in this area.
The 2010 team finished the season with an 11-2 record and was ranked fifth in the final BCS standings. Their only losses came against Michigan State Oct. 2 (34-24) in East Lansing and in Pasadena, Calif., during the Rose Bowl against TCU (21-19) on New Year’s Day. That means they were a perfect 7-0 in front of their home fans.
This year’s team and coaches are hoping for much of the same success they experienced last year. They are ranked as high as 10th in the USA Today pre-season poll and 11th in the ESPN.com poll.
They open up at home in a nationally televised game on Thursday, Sept. 1, against UNLV. The two teams met last year in the season-opener out in Las Vegas, and the Badgers dominated that game 41-21.
Badgers fans can get an up-close-and-personal look at this year’s team prior to the start of the season. The University of Wisconsin Athletic Department is hosting a football family fun day this Sunday, Aug. 21, from 3 to 5 p.m., inside Camp Randall Stadium.
The event is free and open to all ages. Head Coach Bret Bielema and his team will be available for autographs and photos.
In Bielema’s five years as Wisconsin’s head coach, he has accumulated 49 wins, five bowl appearances, has four times ranked in the final AP top 25 and had one trip to the Rose Bowl.
I’d say expect more of the same this season. I plan on making that hour drive up to Madison a time or two this fall to watch them play. See you there?
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the Aug. 17-23, 2011, issue