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Victory Monday: UW put on a recruiting showcase Saturday... and not just in football

Somewhere in this sea of red are a number of recruits who saw quite a convincing show Saturday night.
Somewhere in this sea of red are a number of recruits who saw quite a convincing show Saturday night.

It's hard to imagine the stars aligning more perfectly before the Badgers' upset win over Ohio State Saturday.

Go all the way back to July when ESPN announced the game would be the network's featured nationally televised game in primetime. That was just the beginning. From that point on, everything lined up perfectly for the UW Athletic Department to put on a show in front of the entire country.

It started with Alabama losing to South Carolina last week, opening the door for the Buckeyes to become the nation's No.1 team. Then ESPN's College GameDay announced it was making the trip to Madison. That on top of ESPNU's "Road Trip" already being scheduled to visit the town.

The UW Athletic Department deserves a ton of credit for taking full advantage of the spotlight. The basketball program cleverly scheduled their midnight madness event on Saturday afternoon at the Field House, allowing a large number of recruits to take in the entire weekend and see the basketball team scrimmage in front of its fans.

The hockey team scheduled its weekend series with Alabama-Huntsville around the game as well, playing on Friday and Sunday. You better believe Mike Eaves had recruits in town the entire weekend and inside Camp Randall Saturday.

The stage was set for a monumental weekend for the entire athletic department, not just the football team. All they needed was for Bret Bielema and his boys to deliver.

What a time for the Badgers to beat the No. 1 team in the nation.

Consider this: As I made my way around the massive glob of fans on the field after the game, I ran into the entire UW basketball team and all the recruits they had with them. How's that for a school visit? First, we'll have you check out the basketball team play during the day, then you'll go watch the football team beat the No. 1 team in the country and on top of it we'll let you rush the field with at least 25,000 other completely insane fans.

And that's just the basketball recruits. Lord knows how many football recruits were on hand.

Let's rewind to 10 a.m Saturday morning. GameDay is broadcasting live inside Camp Randall and thousands of fans are on hand going nuts in the background. Two recruits are walking around the field and checking out the scene. All the sudden a chant starts to ring out in the direction of those two recruits.

"Fu-ture Bad-ger! Fut-ure Bad-ger!," the fans chanted.

The recruits and their families smiled and waved with appreciation.

And that was eight hours before kickoff.

One recruit who was on hand Saturday was so impressed that he called Bret Bielema Sunday and gave him his verbal commitment. Cincinnati running back Trayion Durham will come back to Camp Randall to play football for Wisconsin, according to Badger Nation.

Something tells me he won't be the only future Badger who was in Madison Saturday.

Bowl bound

Here's something that got completely lost in all the excitement Saturday: The win made the Badgers bowl eligible for the ninth year in a row.

The last time Wisconsin did not go to a bowl game was 2001. UW has now been bowl eligible for 16 of the last 18 years.

Playing hurt

Also kind of a quiet story Saturday, long snapper Kyle Wojta tore his ACL in practice last Tuesday but still snapped the ball on field goals and extra points Saturday.

True freshman James McGuire filled in for Wojta on punts because he would have been a liability in punt coverage with his injured knee.