Badger fans, we're less than 36 hours away from kickoff and Nebraskans have already started finding their way to campus. I met my first Huskers fan last night downtown at one of Madison's many fine drink-serving establishments, and the conversation went a little something like this:
Me: Hey, you guys are already starting show up in town, huh? Welcome to the Big Ten.
Nebraskan: Hey, thanks! Man this place is loud.
Me: (laughs) Everyone's excited for this weekend. Do you think you've got a chance against Russell Wilson?
Nebraskan: I don't know. I'm just happy to be here.
Me: We're glad to have you. Good luck on Saturday.
Nebraskan: You too.
Judging by what happened later in the night (chanting, I'll leave it at that), I'm sure some of the exchanges he'll have with other Badger fans this weekend won't be quite as, um, cordial.
Still, I can already tell Saturday's contest is the start of something special in the Big Ten. From what I've read this week and what I gathered last night, Wisconsin and Nebraska seem like programs with similar values and similar fan bases. And even better: both are programs on the rise. That said, if the Huskers do manage to knock off Bucky on Saturday, I might have to reconsider the whole "glad-to-have-you" thing.We've been hard at work all week to bring you all kinds of Badgers coverage. Here's a B5Q summary of the week if you need to catch up:
He's never been one to shy away from the spotlight, so it might not come as a surprise that Bret Bielema is beyond excited for Saturday's historic showdown.
The Badger hockey team picked up a verbal commitment from an important 2014 recruit.
In Monday's Badger Bits, Louis speculated that Nebraska might be playing possum in regard to their playcalling.
The Badger players are also aware of the hype surrounding the game and the challenge they face Saturday. There are some nice quotes in that piece that give you a sense of where the team is mentally.
The Badger hockey team came in at No. 17 in the USCHO.com preseason poll.
Bo Ryan and the Badgers got a big recruiting boost when they received a commitment from Bronson Koenig last weekend. Phil Mitten has more on the No. 1 player in the state for 2013.
Chuck's "Meet the Freshmen" series continued with a look at forward Joseph LaBate.
In Tuesday's Badger Bits, Adam compared Wisconsin and Nebraska's elite rushing attacks.
Phil previewed Wisconsin's Rust Belt recruiting trip.
Adam got an exclusive interview with Brent Musburger, who will be calling the game Saturday. Check out the transcript.
Wisconsin's defense had to make special preparations to get ready for Nebraska's dual threat quarterback, Taylor Martinez.
In Wednesday's Badger Bits, I discussed the Badgers' perennially elite offensive line.
Adam was featured in Corn Nation's weekly podcast and roundtable, as well as the Solid Verbal podcast.
He also gave several reasons for Badger fans to buy or sell Wisconsin's early season success and discussed the Nebraska game with Corn Nation.
Bielema says he's not worried about his team handling the hype surrounding Saturday's game.
In Thursday's Badger Bits, Louis shared why Bo Pelini's relative calmness this week could be a very bad thing for the Badgers.
If you're still reading, here are a few more links from around the web:
Dave Heller compiled a list of predictions for the game Saturday. Wisconsin is picked by most.
Jeff Potrykus talked to Montee Ball about his journey from forgotten man to feature back.
The Badgers need to stop the Huskers' option attack if they want to have success on defense Saturday.
Wisconsin-Nebraska is Sports Illustrated's game of the week.
Finally, check out Bucky's new SportsCenter commercial.