Third time not a charm as Wisconsin Badgers lose Rose Bowl to a great Stanford team

Kevin Hogan Rose Bowl

Another trip to Pasadena and another loss to a great team at the Rose Bowl.

Stanford came into the game as one of the best-rounded teams in the country and left with a 20-14 win.

To get there, the Cardinal had to fight off a tough Wisconsin Badgers team who despite five losses proved they can stick with one anyone in the country.

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Can the Wisconsin Badgers pull off the ultimate upset in Pasadena?

Big Ten Championship - Nebraska v Wisconsin

Story-lines run thick in the 99th installment of the Rose Bowl between the #8 Stanford Cardinal and Wisconsin Badgers.

The Badgers are playing in their third straight Rose Bowl and look to hall-of-fame coach Barry Alvarez to improve upon his perfect 3-0 record in Pasasdena.

Stanford enters the game on a three-game streak in BCS Bowls (Fiesta in 2011 and Orange in 2010) as well and is perhaps one of the hottest teams in the country with their last four wins coming against ranked opponents.

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Reviewing the Wisconsin Badgers search for a head coach

A whirlwind of rumors and speculation have hit Madison since former Wisconsin Badgers head coach Bret Bielema left for the Arkansas job.

With all the uncertainty behind Barry Alvarez’s search for the next coach, almost all of the assistants have decided to leave the program.

Here’s a recap of what has went down so far: [Read more…]

Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin in Football Soon?

Notre Dame Fighting Irish Leprechaun Logowisconsin-logo

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.

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Michigan’s Desmond Howard Leads 3 Big 10 Players into College Hall of Fame

He’s one of the most iconic players in Michigan Wolverines history. Make that college football history. Desmond Howard, the 1991 Heisman Trophy winner and 1997 Super Bowl MVP with the Green Bay Packers headlines the 2011 College Football Hall of Fame class.

Joining Howard at the enshrinement festival today were two fellow Big Ten players, Wisconsin Badgers Athletic Director Barry Alvarez, who played at Nebraska at served as an assistant at Notre Dame. It was his coaching accomplishments in Madison that earned him this accolade however.

Completing the B1G Ten troika was Purdue Boilermakers QB Mark Herrmann, the first quarterback to throw for 8,000 and then 9,000 yards in CFB history. (The game was very different 1977-80).

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Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez Will Soon Join the College Hall of Fame

University of Wisconsin Athletic Director and former Head Coach, Barry Alvarez is set to be enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame on July 15-16.

The festivities will take place at the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Indiana where 19 other football standouts will also be joining Alvarez in this prestigious honor.

“Barry Alvarez took a program that had won six games in the three seasons prior to his arrival and turned them into a perennial powerhouse for more than a decade.  There was never a doubt that he was headed to the Hall of Fame,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell.  “He’s the ultimate competitor, recruiter and tactician, and he has been a great mentor to a slew of current head coaches.” [Read more…]

Barry Alvarez headlines 2010 Hall of Fame class


From the national ballot of 77 candidates and a pool of hundreds of eligible nominees, Archie Manning, chairman of The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame, announced the 2010 College Football Hall of Fame Football Bowl Subdivision Class, which includes the names of 12 First Team All-America players and two legendary coaches. Wisconsin Badgers Athletic Director Barry Alvarez made the cut due to his impressive coaching resume.

By Paul M. Banks

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Northwestern Jumps Wisconsin in Bowl Hierarchy


By Paul M. Banks

You could certainly call this year’s bowl destination for Northwestern a step up from last season’s, and you can say that the selection process gave NU more respect this year than they did last year. In ’08 a 8-4 Iowa team jumped a 9-3 NU squad (which beat Iowa) for the Outback Bowl slot. Unless there’s a two game gap between teams in the standings (head-to-head is not a tie-breaker), the bowl has the right to select whichever team they want. And NU’s poor home attendance was cited as one of the main reasons for the snub.

Northwestern instead went into the Alamo Bowl as the biggest underdogs of the bowl season and lost to Missouri in OT due to a missed extra point. Purple Pride showed it could travel well, and now…DSC03028

An 8-4 NU team managed to jump the 9-3 Wisconsin Badgers. (Although it’s meaningless to the bowls, NU did again win the head-to-head here) Still the Badgers are a bigger national brand and have been a power for most of the last couple decades. But Bucky’s dominion had a couple things going against them. Being to so many Florida bowl games lately, the bowl committee worried their fans wouldn’t travel for this game. And a game out in Hawaii yesterday only heightened those fears.

Of course, when you consider the concept of “bowl-weariness” being a factor in the selection process, it reminds me you that most of these games are truly glorified exhibitions, as long as we don’t have a playoff system. Seriously “bowl-weary” isn’t that the best endorsement for a playoff system? well, that’s another topic for another time.

Back to today, where you can say that Dr. Jim Phillips just out-worked Wisconsin’s Athletic Director Barry Alvarez for it.

Northwestern blog Lake the Posts agrees with me:

“A win on New Year’s Day over an SEC team is about as much of a dream scenario as we could expect when you consider where we were on November 1 of this year. Congratulations to Jim Phillips who must have put on some convincing lobbying presentations for NU to get the nod over 9-3 Wisconsin who throttled Hawaii last night.”

And regarding Phillips’ lobbying, our friends at Spread Far the Fame describe that in detail.

“I give all the credit in the world to NU Athletic Director Dr. Jim Phillips. Bowls are VERY political, and he did an incredible job convincing the Outback Bowl that NU was the right team for them. I’ve spoken to Dr. Phillips a few times since the Outback snubbed NU last year. He told me that he actually met with their representatives soon after the bowl season ended last year and discussed with them why they chose Iowa over NU.

Then the campaign continued every single month. He would host bowl reps. at his house nearly every Friday night, and in the end all his work paid-off BIG TIME for the program.

Obviously, all his campaigning would have been for naught if the football team hadn’t stepped up and played their best football of the year in November. Pat Fitzgerald’s ‘Cats were able to win their final three games, including an upset of a top 5 team in Iowa, and a victory over the Badgers as well.”

Tonight at the bowl game press conference, I asked Dr. Phillips about how much of the selection process is about money and business, instead of football, or how much is about football and business at the same time.

“One affects the other and as we all know well, the economy is a factor as we try to live through it. And as a program there’s great excitement over the destination and the opportunity. But the economics are important, and it’s going to be important for us to travel well and demonstrate like we have in years past that we are eager to come back to the Alamo Bowl, and we are eager to come back to Florida for the first time in 13 years.

The one thing I will say from my two experiences here, the Big Ten conference does it as well as anyone in the country, there are no back room negotiations financially that we’ll commit to another two thousand, three thousand tickets, you take what the bowl asks you to take that’s agreed upon when the contracts are put together. And so there really is a clean slate relative as to who’s the best team to take, and who would be the most excited or whatever the bowl criteria is, you’ll have to ask them, but I think that helps all the schools in the Big Ten, especially during an economy like what we have right now,” he responded.

The Death of the Media Guide: 3008 to Your 2000 & Late


By Melissa S. Wollering

Statistics crunched in 8,469+ ways—sometimes over more than a century—always encompassing a team’s entire existence.  Can you live without it?  As of the 2009-2010 season, you’ll see the beginning of the end of this desktop reference guide. You’ll be driven to the Web. The University of Wisconsin’s Athletic Department is part of the trend; will your team follow?

On Thursday, three Big 10 schools announced they will stop printing their beloved media guides. Michigan and Ohio State have already stopped production of the guides for all of their sports and say the information will be available on the Web. Michigan and Ohio State estimate they will save a combined $250,000 per year as a result of the decision. That’s enough to purchase approximately 416 Fergie-inspired Hewlett-Packard notebooks to make their athletes smarter.


University of Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez says his department will stop printing media guides for all UW sports.  He says the move will save the school $200,000 and the trend doesn’t stop at the collegiate level. In February, Major League Baseball ceased printing its green and red guides to the National and American leagues.  PDF versions of the information were made available to all media.

At a PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) luncheon that I attended at the Hilton in downtown Madison last week, featured speaker and UW Associate Athletic Director for Communications Justin Doherty addressed the death of the media guide.  He says UW will cease production of the books no later than the 2010-2011 season, possibly sooner.

Doherty says more fans and reporters are turning to his department’s website,, for the same information printed in media guides. It sounds simple.  But if you think sports organizations won’t make the leap to marketing themselves as AP-like wire services, you haven’t fully assessed the impact of the media guide’s passing.


Badger fans can now access live streaming press conferences, player and coach post-game interviews, live game blogs, articles, analysis, pictures and even virtual tours of UW athletic facilities.  Barry Alvarez himself ‘walks’ onto your screen and greets you as enter the UW’s new multimedia experience. Doherty says it all started with an intern and one camera.


“I asked one of our interns to capture the gameday experience one Saturday,” says UW Assistant AD for Communications Justin Doherty.  “All I gave him was a camera and he came back with this great visual story from his photographs. He took pictures of fans tailgating before the game, players on the field and students jumping around in the 3rd quarter.  We had a huge response.”

Doherty himself began to live-blog from the stands at Camp Randall. Soon he had fans and alumni from around the world following along during the game, responding with questions and checking out other parts of the website. UW’s Athletic Department now has pages on both Twitter and Facebook. It sends fans and friends updates on everything from season tickets to travel packages to breaking news.

“We have the advantage,” says Doherty. “We have full access to our own locker rooms and our coaching staff.  We are the best-equipped to provide fans with information.”


Could the end of your favorite media guide signal the end of your traditional sports reporter? Will athletic departments eliminate the need for a ‘middleman’ if consumers trust their websites as primary sources? Will consumers fully understand that athletic departments still control the message and will proactively and strategically release information for their benefit? Have communications and public relations professionals found a way to put traditional press releases to bed along with media guides? What if WE create the news before it becomes news with our own podcasts, streaming news conferences and online articles?

Remember when your friends left journalism and reporting for the PR world?  Remember when they came back and urged you to join the ‘dark side’?  This TSB contributor is pretty glad she’s done both. My new job may become my old job faster than you can look that stat up in the ‘08 media guide on your desk. Boom, boom, boom. Let me hear that…


Wisconsin Badgers vs. Fighting Irish?

By Melissa S. Wollering
It has been less than three months since non-academically affiliated fans of the Fighting Irish won our founder’s version of the TSB Douchebracket Regional Championship. This week, those insufferable fans are talking football as University of Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez talks with Notre Dame’s Jack Swarbrick about the possibility of a non-conference game between the two organizations.

During a 1070 AM radio interview here in Madison, Alvarez discussed a window between 2012 and 2015 when both organizations may consider scheduling non-conference game(s). He says Notre Dame’s AD Jack Swarbrick is considering removing Purdue from their annual schedule and playing them less frequently. That could open the door for an occasional Badger/Irish duel.
UW and Notre Dame have united over the pigskin 16 times throughout the schools’ histories but haven’t played each other since 1964. Nine of the 16 games were played in Madison, Wisconsin, four in South Bend, Indiana, two in Milwaukee and one in Chicago. The Fighting Irish have had the most ‘luck’, leading the series 8-6-2.
The last time Notre Dame won a national championship was in 1988, under Lou Holtz. Ironically, Barry Alvarez was an assistant on that staff.  Less than two years later, Barry was named head coach at UW thanks to the infamous Donna Shelala and Pat Richter.

The Irish’s football program has been fighting throughout coach Charlie Weis’ first four seasons. After a combined record of 19-6 over his first two seasons, Weis went just 10-15 over the last two seasons in South Bend.
Irish fans learned to luau in the 49-21 victory over Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl last season.  That win snapped a string of nine consecutive bowl losses. Historically, Notre Dame has the second best winning percentage in NCAA history (.736) behind Michigan (.738).
Meantime, the Wisconsin Badgers are coming off of five consecutive bowl appearances, the last two of which have been losses. UW has made 20 bowl appearances since 1952 with an overall winning percentage hovering around 56% (604-462-53).
What would the match up mean for UW’s program? Probably more national television exposure on NBC, considering the Irish have an exclusive contract with the network. UW’s Athletic Department could take advantage of increased ticket sales, not that they need them. UW has one of the highest season ticket renewal rates, certainly in the Big 10, with a 96% renewal rate for the 2009-2010 season.
Currently, King Barry likes to mandate at least 7 home games at Camp Randall.  When considering Notre Dame, Barry says he wouldn’t mind hosting 8 home games per season, which certainly has the potential to impact season records as well as non-conference and conference match ups/schedules.
Barry also returned to the discussion of expanding the Big 10 conference to encompass twelve teams.  Notre Dame has been brought up in previous conversations about this before. Alvarez says he believes it should probably be an East Coast team, in order to take advantage of what Penn State has brought to the conference.  He believes, from a media perspective, Penn State truly put the Big 10 on the map and another East Coast addition would increase Big 10 visibility on a national level.

Lastly, the idea fuels the Irish fire.  If your school has fans with no legitimate connection to you, the likelihood they will travel to a city such as Madison is quite high.  The good news: Madisonians don’t rolling out the red carpet so you can spend your money, drink on State Street, stay in our hotels and fill Camp Randall.  The bad news: just remember that your green and gold will only be small specks in our sea of cardinal and white. Plus, we have every intention of re-nominating you for next year’s TSB Douchebracket Tournament.