What's the most disappointing moment you remember from this Wisconsin-Minnesota rivalry?
Drew Hamm: When they call "last call" at the Metrodome, like, "WTH man?" Also, I missed Jonathan Casillas' blocked punt because I had some dumb, fraternity golf tournament. Smdh.
Neal Olson: This is going to come across as a deep pull, and it is (that will happen when one side has won 20 of the last 24 games and 11 straight), but the 1993 team having Minnesota as it's only loss is about as disappointing as it gets. Maybe at the time it was not given much thought, but after beating Michigan and tying Ohio State the next two weeks, followed up with a Rose Bowl win over UCLA, Wisconsin ended up finishing sixth in the final AP poll. Without that Minnesota loss, the Badgers would have had a legitimate argument for national champions. So congrats, Gopher fans, who like to irrationally hang your hats on meaningless hypotheticals -- your defeat of Wisconsin in 1993 probably kept them from winning a national title. You can add this to the unverified national titles you claim from the 1930s.
Luke Mueller: *sarcasm joking font* The most disappointing moment that I still have to deal with a Gopher fan who actually thinks they have a chance at ever stealing the trophy from the Badgers grasp. I bet they don't even know what the Axe looks like. [Editor's note: this is sarcasm from Luke] In all seriousness (even though that was somewhat serious) It's very disappointing that this great, historic rivalry has turned into just another game. I remember back before Casillas ever blocked that infamous punt in the Metrodome, it was considered a top rivalry in the country that held a lot of merit. Now, it is a shell of its former self.
What's the most memorable or exciting moment between these two teams?
Drew: I'm going to go with a underrated moment in the recent history of this series: when then-head coach Bret Bielema went for two in the fourth quarter while winning 41-16. One of my favorite quotes about football is from Woody Hayes who when asked why he went for two late in a game up 41-14 he answered "because the rules won't let you go for three."
Say what you will about Bielema as a dude, but his chutzpah on the sidelines is unmatched in college football. Sticking it to your rival is what makes college football great, and there are few greater ways to pile it on than by needlessly going for more points.
Neal: The obvious choice would be the Casillas blocked punt (well done Luke!), and I really liked Drew's point about Bielema going for two because "that's what the cards says". That sort of response in rivalry games is what makes college football great. However in the spirit of originality (and historical proximity), I am going to go with last year's win. Minnesota had a legitimate football team for the first time in years, had jumped out to a 17-3 lead and for all intents and purposes looked like they might finally get the Axe back. But of course, the Badgers rallied and at the time, looked like they had a legitimate shot of knocking off Ohio State and getting one of the New Year's Six bowl game.
Luke: To steal a bit of thunder from my last response, it undeniably is the Casillas blocked punt for me. I remember everything about that last two minutes. The feeling of hopelessness and accepting a tough loss, but then all of the sudden quarterback John Stocco finds wide receiver Ben Strickland recovering the fumble in the end zone -- narrowly saving it from the back of the end zone, I think my favorite Barry Alvarez moment of all-time happened after that play.for a 22-yard touchdown on a post route where he more or less got his head ripped off! Then you have the almost recovered onside kick, which goes off a Gopher and trickles miraculously right to Laurence Maroney all the way to the 7 yard line. Immediately after, a much-needed Casillas pulls a Lee Corso and says, "Not so fast my friend". While the actual block sticks out, and so does defensive back and former assistant
It was almost as if he knew the block was coming. He played it so calm, cool, and collected. He was so confident in winning that game he didn't even have a headset on. Typical Barry. Don't forget on the ensuing kick off, the Badgers forced a fumble and DeAndre Levy picked it up to secure the victory. The emotion at the Metrodome at that time was similar to this. Mark Jones, who was on the call and I personally think is the one of the best in the business and sorrily underrated summed it up best, "An incredible meltdown by Minnesota!" Yes indeed Mark, yes indeed.