The announcement of the upcoming divisional alignment isn't expected to be made until sometime in September, but thanks to Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez, we now know one detail relevant to the Badgers. Wisconsin will not be sharing a division with the Iowa Hawkeyes, our rivals to the southwest. The Badgers and Hawkeyes first met in 1895 and Iowa leads the all-time series 42-41-2. Since 2004, the two teams have played for the Heartland Trophy. This game being played annually is in jeopardy, because although a protected crossover rivalry is possible, the league will have to decide between protecting Wisconsin-Iowa and Iowa-Minnesota. If our protected rival ends up not being Iowa, the next most logical choice is Nebraska.
While Alvarez only divulged the Wisconsin/Iowa situation, we can also make logical assumptions about what this holds for the divisions in general. Wisconsin will most likely be in the same division as Minnesota, but probably won't be in the same division as Nebraska. Here's what the divisions may very well be:
Division A: Wisconsin, Penn State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Northwestern, Illinois
Division B: Iowa, Nebraska, Michigan State, Michigan, Purdue, Indiana
That's my best guess, but we won't know for sure until the Big Ten releases the official divisional lineups. After the jump, check out last year's edition of Iowa-Wisconsin, and of course more linkage.
Undefeated Iowa rolled in to Madison looking to stay perfect on the year against a Badger team coming off of their first loss of the season at Ohio State. The Badgers needed to take down the Hawkeyes to stay in the Big Ten championship hunt. Could Wisconsin protect their home turf?
Iowa Hawkeyes (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) at Wisconsin Badgers (5-1, 2-1), October 17, 2009 - Wisconsin's two most difficult games in 2009 came back-to-back, and Iowa at home was the second of such games. The Badgers defense was stifling early, holding the Hawkeyes to only three first-half points. Montee Ball scored his first career collegiate touchdown on a 10 yard run in the 2nd quarter, and it was 10-3 Bucky at half. In the second half, things fell apart for the Badgers. Scott Tolzien threw a crucial pick three minutes into the quarter, and Iowa quickly tied it at 10 with a Ricky Stanzi TD pass to Tony Moeaki. Wisconsin forced a Stanzi fumble only 23 yards from paydirt near the end of the 3rd, but the Wisconsin offense stalled and Philip Welch missed the field goal, which was a huge momentum killer. And of course, the Hawkeyes then drove all the way down the field and scored to make it 17-10. Wisconsin's offense could not get anything going and the Hawkeyes took the victory 20-10. This was probably the most disappointing game the Badgers had all season. Zero second-half points, three bad interceptions from Tolzien, a blown 10-point lead, and an inability to defend home turf all left a sour taste in the mouths of Badger fans.
Adam Rittenberg says Wisconsin has the Big Ten's fifth-best special teams units.
The Big Ten basketball schedule was released today. Here's an overview of Wisconsin's schedule and here's the Badgers' schedule in its entirety. We only play Minnesota and Iowa once each in the regular season, which is mind-baffling.
UTEP is reportedly on Wisconsin's 2012 football schedule. The game would be at Camp Randall.
Aaron Henry is using the genius of offensive coordinator Paul Chryst to his advantage.
Who are the six Badger football captains for 2010? Bret Bielema's Twitter page will fill you in.