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The Badger Fan’s Guide to Surviving Dec. 1

Avoid Gus Johnson’s man crush on Urban Meyer at all costs.

Big Ten Championship - Ohio State v Wisconsin Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Before getting started, double-check that you got confirmation on the cancellation of your reservations for that hotel 25 minutes northwest of Indianapolis.

Done? Good.

Up and down our roster of writers, we told you all the way back in August that one thing was inevitable: Badger football would play for a Big Ten title this weekend.

Myself, I’m a little too bummed out to make sense of the whole thing. I, frankly, need a few more days to process. I could take you through why, but you know all the reasons. And we also know that this Saturday could be filled with sighs of, “What if...” and, “burn it all down.

At the beginning of the season, I wrote a guide to supporting a team favored by 30+ points. Well, here’s the flip side of that coin: how to survive Dec. 1 without Badger football.


  • In your grief, you may be tempted to self-medicate. Multiple studies show that this is a bad idea. Keep it in moderation, folks. Overindulging may lead to dubious Twitter tirades.
  • Don’t watch the Big Ten Championship Game. Not even a peek. When aOSU is beating Northwestern 78–3 (probably), you’ll be reminded just how far away Wisconsin is from winning a national football championship.
  • Also, do NOT watch the ACC Championship Game between Pitt and No. 2 Clemson. First, you may be tempted to switch over to the Big Ten Championship Game during commercial brakes. Second, you are going to watch a team formerly coached by Paul Chryst get crushed. Be advised.
  • Don’t let the YouTube algorithm take you to the darkest portions of the website. This really doesn’t have a lot to do with Saturday, but it’s just really important that I stress this point.


It’s not enough to just say don’t do something; you need to replace it with something positive. Here are my suggestions to help you have a good Saturday.

  • No. 1 Wisconsin women’s hockey vs. Syracuse at LaBahn Arena at 2 p.m. CT. Here’s a chance to watch a team that actually is one of the best in the country. If you haven’t been to a game yet, here’s your chance. LaBahn is a great place to watch a sporting event in the afternoon, too, as natural light comes into the arena. It’s not sold out yet, but UW has sold out all 12 home games so far this season (!!!). If it does sell out, sometimes good-natured fans leave extra tickets at the ticket office or one of the entrances.
  • Men’s hockey vs. Penn State at the Kohl Center at 7 p.m. Wisconsin has really struggled on the road (1–5–2), but it also has done moderately well at home (4–2–0) so far this season. The team really needs a sweep to get back to .500.
  • Madison Capitols vs. Muskegon at Bob Suter’s Capitol Ice Arena at 7:05 p.m. Looking for more hockey, but would rather spend $10–15 per ticket than $20–25? Well, you can catch the Capitols. Parking will be easier, too, I assume.
  • Bucks at Knicks, 4 p.m. Since this is an NBA blog according to my dear colleague Drew Hamm, this should probably be at the top of the list. Take every chance you have to watch Giannis.
Milwaukee Bucks v Golden State Warriors Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
  • Speed Chess Championship Semifinal, noon. [Auth. Note: This one is for you, drstre.] I’m still #madonline about the classical chess championship, so I am really excited to watch what is guaranteed to not be 12 straight draws. Armenian GM Levon Aronian is taking on American GM Hikaru Nakamura in the semifinals of this tournament. It’s a great format, and Hikaru is a national treasure. You can watch on
Grandmasters Compete In the World Chess Championship At Simpson’s In The Strand Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Nakamura is quite GIF-able, too, so that’s enjoyable.

My reaction to most every play in the Minnesota-Wisconsin football game.
  • Run Santa Run 5K at the Capitol Square at 3:10 p.m. If your grief over the football season inspires you to cope by dressing up as an elf or santa and run 3.1 miles, this is the event for you. If you can outrun the Grinch, you get a free slice of pizza. Or, you can be like me by saving the entry fee and just buy a pizza.
  • Olbrich Gardens Holiday Express. Why not completely purge yourself of sports on Saturday? Visit Olbrich Botanical Gardens on Madison’s east side to look at pretty flowers and nifty model trains.
  • Holiday Farmer’s Market. Want to eat away your feelings? Even though Market on the Square is over, there will be 60+ vendors at the Monona Terrace for this version of the farmer’s market.
  • Play in a Euchre tournament. Want to play a much easier version of the trick-taking card game called Sheepshead? Euchre is for you! You can stop by The Rigby Pub at 1:45 p.m. It’s $5 to register, and you get a free drink. You should call ahead to make sure it’s happening, though.

What will I be doing?

Writing another soul-crushing, anxiety-inducing, brain-dissolving grad school paper. So ... not that much different than watching Badger football.