In college basketball, they met last year in the title game of the Old Spice Classic. That was how the tournament played out, and not a pre-determined match-up between the Wisconsin Badgers and Notre Dame Fighting Irish. When will see it again in football?
One of the strongest links between the two schools is current University of Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez, who was enshrined into the college football hall of fame earlier this month. Alvarez made the hall on the strength of his coaching career in Madison. However, he got the job because of the prowess he showed as a Defensive Coordinator in the 1980s at Notre Dame.
“I’ve tried to get that done, I can’t seem to get that nailed down,” he told the media last week.
“I talked to Jack (Swarbrick, his counterpart at ND) about Soldier Field and Lambeau Field in back to back years; it would be pretty appealing.”
Agreed. It would do huge numbers on television and in ticket sales; because the two teams haven’t met since 1964; the last of three meetings in consecutive years. The Irish hold the all-time series advantage 8-6-2. The Irish do already play three Big Ten teams (Michigan Wolverines, Michigan State Spartans, and Purdue Boilermakers) every year.
However, as Brian Kelly continues to build the program back up, ND will no doubt look to strengthen their schedule. Alvarez talked about the direction of the program.
“I’ve always said if you can’t recruit at Notre Dame then you can’t recruit. They get a lot of exposure, but I don’t follow it as closely, the personnel, because I’m following the Big Ten and our own people. But I certainy feel they are on the right track,” he said.
“I like the way they finished the season, when you have adversity and finish the season the way they did, it tells me the coaching staff has the players.”
And Barry credits his time in South Bend for helping to build his career foundation.
“I had opportunities after the championship year, but I told Lou I had a daughter who was graduating the following year, and I didn’t want to leave before she graduated, and I wanted him to give me as much responsibility as he could and teach me how to be a head coach, and we was really good about that, and he did help, so I knew I was ready.”
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site that generates millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports You can follow him on Twitter