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Badger Bits: Michigan St./Wisconsin a budding football rivalry?

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Not nearly as swagged out as Bucky...
Not nearly as swagged out as Bucky...

The state of Wisconsin's traditional football rivalries is in pretty bad shape. The Golden Gophers of Minnesota are nothing more than a joke of a football team right now- I'm not even sure the Badgers will bother to bring Paul Bunyan's Axe along to TCF Bank Stadium this year. Meanwhile, the Iowa Hawkeyes aren't even on the schedule right now because of the new divisional setup in the conference. Even the potential rivalry with Ohio State is on life support with the turmoil in Columbus because of rampant NCAA rule-breaking.

Enter Michigan State. The only team to beat the Wisconsin Badgers in the regular season last year. It was a 34-24 MSU victory that, despite what some Spartan fans will try to tell you, was a close game. Spartans had the ball on the one-yard line, fourth down, up 27-24, with about three minutes left in the game. They could have kicked the field goal, but perhaps were worried about a Badgers touchdown drive to win the game, so they went for the jugular. Credit them for a great play-action play call to seal the game.

The home team has won the last six games in the Spartan/Badger series. The last time Wisconsin won in East Lansing was 2002, and the last time MSU won in Madison was 2001. The two schools have a fierce basketball rivalry as well. The trash talk in East Lansing this week has run rampant, but the Badgers characteristically have refused to get involved. Michigan State fans are still angry that Wisconsin received the opportunity to play in the Rose Bowl over their team. Plenty of story-lines make this a fun matchup. It's really a shame that these two teams ended up in different divisions, because this is a game that deserves to be played annually.

Patrick Butrym won't know if he'll be able to play against MSU until later in the week. Fortunately, the Badgers have a lot of depth at defensive tackle if he won't be able to play. Meanwhile, good news on the other side of the ball as senior wideout Nick Toon will play this weekend.

Speaking of Nick Toon, check out what he was up to in New York City last night. Good stuff here.

Brian Bennett of ESPN's Big Ten blog writes the Badgers' case for why they deserve to be in the BCS National Championship. I contend that it's still way too early for this kind of stuff.

Check out how the Badgers are doing in the latest TiqIQ Top 25. You can also use it to snag some tickets for the remaining home games at Camp Randall- Purdue and Penn State.

The Spartans have until tomorrow to decide what to do about defensive end William Gholston. Despite Gholston's clearly dirty play (click here for the videos!) against the Wolverines, MSU coach Mark Dantonio is stil trying to defend him in the media. Unbelievable. Dantonio is starting to remind me of a mini-Tressel, trying to maintain a holier-than-thou persona but not actually living up to it in any tangible way.

beer garden to be placed adjacent to the HotelRED right across from Camp Randall has been approved. WE. WANT. MORE. Healthy choices?

What is it with our hockey team's inability to get it done in overtime? Even our hockey guru Chuck is stumped.

Don't forget that Wisconsin and Russell Wilson will be featured on ESPN's Depth Chart program, tomorrow night at 6 PM CT. I'm declaring this a must-watch for all Badgers fans. Here's a clip you can expect to see in the show tomorrow: