Author’s note: Let me get this out of the way. The decade technically runs Jan. 1, 2011, to Dec. 31, 2020. However, very few people view it that way, so we will define the decade as 2010 to 2019.
It’s been a fascinating decade for Wisconsin football. It has seen three different head coaches. The athletic director has stepped in to serve as acting coach for not one, but two bowl games. After three straight Rose Bowls and B1G championships to open the decade, it has been a bridesmaid the rest of the decade.
There have been some incredible and memorable moments this decade that deserve some reflection. As I gathered these games, I was reminded of the joy that this team has delivered in the past ten years. I was also reminded at how close this team has been to moving up a tier in the college football world.
Hardest losses of the decade
In selecting the ten best wins, I cannot ignore the pain that has accompanied the top wins. That said, let’s not dwell on it too much. Acknowledge the past and move on.
Worse football losses of 2010s
|1||Dec. 2||2017||No. 8 OSU||27-21|
|2||Oct. 22||2011||No. 15 MSU||37-31|
|4||Dec. 3||2016||No. 8 PSU||38-31|
|6||Jan. 1||2011||No. 3 TCU||21-19|
|8||Aug. 30||2014||No. 13 LSU||28-24|
|10||Dec. 7||2019||No. 1 OSU||34-21|
Best games of the 2010s
Outback Bowl—January 1, 2015
After a demoralizing 59-0 loss to Ohio State in Gary Andersen’s last game coaching Wisconsin, the Badgers faced Auburn with Barry Alvarez at the helm.
Melvin Gordon ran all over Auburn, and the Badgers clawed back late to force overtime thanks to a Rafael Gaglianone field goal. Wisconsin’s defense held in overtime to force a long Auburn field goal.
Auburn missed the field goal, and Alvarez won his final* games as head coach.
October 1, 2011
In Nebraska’s first B1G game, Russell Wilson and company shredded the Cornhuskers. With ESPN’s College Gameday visiting, the sky was the limit for the 2011 Badgers after this huge win.
September 24, 2016
Michigan State turned out to not be all that great, but Wisconsin went on the road to take its second top-10 win in one month.
Carmex Lambeau Field College Classic—September 3, 2016
Like the previous game, LSU turned out to have a difficult season, which kept this game lower on the rankings. However, the win at Lambeau was a perfect way to start a season.
September 21, 2019
Wisconsin started the 2019 season with three straight dominant shutout victories. While it did not shut out Michigan, the Badgers thoroughly dominated the Wolverines to begin a run to the Rose Bowl.
November 15, 2014
October 23, 2010
A week after beating No. 1 Ohio State, the Badgers went on the road and won a slugfest against Iowa that propelled Wisconsin’s B1G championship season.
B1G Championship Game—December 3, 2011
Wilson to Duckworth.
B1G Championship Game—December 1, 2012
Wisconsin had absolutely no business winning the B1G in 2012. However, Gordon, Montee Ball and James White set the standard that Nebraska would never stop a Wisconsin running back ever again.
October 16, 2010
We have come a long way since this big win over Ohio State. While this is clearly the best game of the decade, it is bittersweet to know that Wisconsin has not crossed the Ohio State threshold since this iconic victory.
- 34-24 win over No. 11 Miami (Orange Bowl—December 30, 3017)
- 38-17 win at No. 9 Minnesota (November 30, 2019)
- 23-17 OT win vs. No. 7 Nebraska (October 29, 2016)
What is in store in the 2020s? It all starts on Wednesday with the Rose Bowl against Oregon. I can’t wait to enjoy the coming decade with you all — all of the joy and heartbreak it is sure to bring.