Not Your Father's Badgers

By Kyle Rowland on November 14, 2012 at 10:00a

Michigan week is still four days away. But that doesn’t mean Ohio State has to wait to take on a rival. The budding distaste Ohio State and Wisconsin share for one another has given the Leaders Division showdown more flavor in recent years. 

It was an all night celebration in Madison in 2010.

Historically, a one-sided affair – Ohio State leads the series, 54-18-5 – 1981 signaled a shift. Prior to that season, Earle Bruce’s third at Ohio State, the Buckeyes held a 39-7-4 advantage in the Wisconsin series and had not lost since 1959. In other words, the Badgers were a pushover, a welcomed Homecoming opponent.

But things have changed dramatically since the ’81 Badgers, coached by the late Dave McClain, upset the nationally-ranked Buckeyes. While the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry has featured one team dominating the other the past 25 years, the Wisconsin series has been relatively even. In the past 27 meetings, Ohio State holds a modest 15-11-1 lead over Wisconsin. Since 1999, Ohio State is just 6-5 against the Badgers.

Three times in the past 20 years Wisconsin has spoiled perfect seasons for the Buckeyes. In 1992, 2003 and 2010, it came in the form of a loss. The 2010 game featured the Badgers upsetting No. 1 Ohio State. The Buckeyes and Badgers tied in a memorable game in 1993. A win would have sent Ohio State to the Rose Bowl.

Now matched up in the same division, the intensity of the Ohio State-Wisconsin rivalry is almost certainly going to heat up. The other four teams in the division – Illinois, Indiana, Penn State and Purdue – aren’t likely to be a threat anytime soon, meaning Ohio State and Wisconsin will likely represent the Leaders Division in the Big Ten championship game for the foreseeable future. The past two games – Wisconsin disrupting a perfect season in ’10 and Ohio State winning on a Hail Mary in ’11 – has added extra oomph, as well.

“It’s always a physical war,” junior center Corey Linsley said. “It’s always decided who is going to be the Big Ten champion. The Team Up North has kind of been out of the picture for a while. Penn State has come in and out. But the last couple years it’s been Wisconsin and Ohio State. That’s the same thing this year.”

Devin Smith helped return the favor in 2011.

Wisconsin has already clinched a return trip to Lucas Oil Stadium in the first week of December. Ohio State is the “real” first-place team, but due to a postseason ban, the Buckeyes can’t appear in the conference title game. One look at the standings, though, shows Ohio State holding a two-game lead over Wisconsin. Win Saturday and Ohio State has the trophy to themselves.

That alone should act as motivation for the Buckeyes. Keeping an unblemished season intact is another selling point. But even if both teams had multiple losses and pride was the only thing at stake, Ohio State and Wisconsin would be up for the action come 3:30 Saturday afternoon.

“I’m sure they hate us,” senior linebacker Zach Boren said. “I’m sure they’re sitting there saying the same thing, about how it’s such a big rivalry.”

That’s not to diminish a certain game played two days after Thanksgiving on the banks of the Olentangy. The Game stands alone.

“It’s in a different ballpark,” Linsley said about Michigan, a word not uttered in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

But playing Wisconsin gives players a different feeling than lining up across from Youngstown State.

“We’ve had such big games against them,” Boren said. “I would say after that 2010 game where we were No. 1 in the country and went up there and got beat, there was just a bad taste in our mouth.”

“There’s just something we don’t like about them,” junior defensive lineman Johnathan Hankins said. “That’s the way it’s going to continue to be.”

Told Wisconsin probably doesn’t like Ohio State either, Hankins responded, “I don’t care.”

“I don’t want to go on record saying I hate Wisconsin more than Michigan, but I hate Wisconsin just as much as Michigan,” junior wide receiver Corey Brown said. “Every year since I’ve been here, they’ve been a nightmare. They ruined our perfect season (in 2010).”

Said Meyer: “I’m learning about it. I think they stole a season. (The players) were telling me that story a little bit. But it’s interesting hearing our players talk about it, especially the guys that have been in some of those big games. This is a rivalry game, and it's a rivalry game because you have to understand who you’re playing and what they’ve done the last few years. They’re a very good team.”

The Leaders Division title is on the line Saturday.

It also might be a rivalry for the head coaches.

During the thick of recruiting season, less than three months after Meyer took the Ohio State job, he was the target of a barrage of negative comments and complaints from Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany eventually got involved and settled the matter with both parties.

At Big Ten media days in July, the coaches spoke glowingly of one another and did so again this week. But many believe there is still a silent feud, or Cold War if you will, between the two.

“We’re fine,” Meyer said on Monday. “That was kind of a lot of stuff that was blown up. I’ve never had any issue other than they’re a good team.”

Bielema echoed Meyer’s comments on Monday and added that he learned early in his coaching career that friends are lost along the recruiting trail.

“Bad blood,” Meyer said inquisitively. “I think whenever you have two good teams that have played for a lot in the past three, four years, if that's considered bad blood – it’s an intense respect. 

“I always worry about the ones they don’t have respect for. That’s when we have to rah rah and cheer them on and scream and yell and throw things and all that. 

"Other than teaching technique, we didn't have to teach them to go hard (Monday), and that's an indication of the respect they have for the team they’re playing.”

On the field, Wisconsin and Ohio State have played a similar brand of football since they first started handing off pigskins. It’s Midwestern football at heart – big linemen, physical running backs and hard-hitting defenses.

When the Buckeyes and Badgers get at it, collisions are the norm.

“Every time you play Wisconsin you’re going to be beat up at the end of the day,” senior defensive end John Simon said. “We’re going to find out who’s tougher.”

More often than not, you’ll also find out who’s the Big Ten’s best in a rivalry that’s developed into a barometer of conference supremacy.


Comments Show All Comments

Run_Fido_Run's picture

You're right, Kyle. Unlike today's Badgers crowd, my father's Badgers could hold their liquor.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

I want to watch baby Bret tear up on the sidelines after Urban bludgeons him stupid on Saturday!  I want to see the 'respect' baby Bret has for Urban while watching Braxton or Kenny G fire a 35 yard TD pass with 2 minutes left in the 4th quarter when we're already up by 28!!! It will be spectacular!!!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

Maestro's picture

Kill those mother-effers.
I actually had a Badger fan ask me recently, "How can anyone be an Ohio State fan?"  What a dumbass.

vacuuming sucks

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

A perfect example of the brain damage done by years of cheese and cheap beer abuse!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

cinserious's picture

lacross, blatz, schlitz, strohs, hamms, milwaukee's beast, ol milwakee, the list of trash goes on and on...

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

I get a headache and need Tums just thinking about drinking that swill

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

One Bad Buckeye's picture

Dude! Don't knock Schlitz! To heck with the rest, but NOT THE SCHLITZ!!!

"I'm One Bad Buckeye, and I approve this message."

bassplayer7770's picture

Wow.  Yeah.  Uh...

klfeck's picture

I had a druken badger fan  yell the exact same thing back in 09. I promptly told him to STFU. Only encounter I have ever had in 4 years of season tickets. F'em.



Proud parent of a Senior at The Ohio State University

brylee's picture

wow...i always thought that about wisconsin...

DJRoss926's picture

“We’re fine,” Meyer said.

I'm assuming Meyer meant they're fine like a woman is "fine" when you ask her what's wrong. And if that's the case, Bielema and the Badgers are about to enter a new world of pain Saturday.

Scott K's picture

My father's and grandfather's badgers are mounted on wood and hanging on the wall.

"There's a fine line between stupid, and....clever.  David St. Hubbins/Nigel Tufnel

BME_Buckeye's picture

Was it 2004 or 2005 when Wiscosin beat OSU in Columbus and danced on our logo? Those P.O.S. Badgers, Meyer needs to crush them....
I hope my 2012 trip goes better than my 2010 trip...

Look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see.


robert goulet's picture

Oh, there was a whole back-and-forth of logo dancing "back in the day".  I think they danced on ours in '99 after Ron Dayne started his Heisman campaign by going HAM in the 2nd half.  Then we returned the favor in Maidson the next year, sparked by Derek Combs' shoeless run.  In 2001, back in the Shoe, Wisconsin won but the players met at midfield & prayed.  In related news, JT took over as coach that year.

Idaho Helga's picture

^^lol. Now I have coworkers asking what's so funny.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Thanks, Helga.
How do you like living in Idaho? Certain states have looked more enticing to me lately - e.g., Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and Utah.

Buckifan4Life's picture

I hope coach keeps his foot on their throat all game long and if the Bucks are up big late in the game, he goes for two after throwing for a TD. I don't care much for their coach. He acts like a shady little baby...

Go Bucks, have a great game!

Bucksfan's picture

Three losses to the Badgers in the last 20 years when we were undefeated going up against them?  The only team that ties that mark is Michigan (93, 95, 96).  I went back over the last 20 years and looked, and Ohio State survived Wisconsin only 4 other times while going into it undefeated (93 (T), as was mentioned, 95, 02, 07).  So...3-3-1 when undefeated?
Maybe it really is a rivalry.

ajbosu1's picture

That's good hustle, Bucksfan

WC Buckeye's picture

Well done, Bucksfan. You earned your sticker on that one.

The only thing that's new in the world is the history that we have forgotten.

Dougger's picture

damn you badgers!!!!!

I like football

Yamosu's picture

I can't stand doucheconsin.  It starts at the top with their two jerk head coaches and crap trickles down.  Last year I went back for the game and 4 of us were debating which one we wanted more, Wisconsin or Michigan.  It was 2-2.

3technique's picture

If Urban has them up for this game it should be a blow out! Load the box and wear your hardhats!

cinserious's picture

"Freinds are lost on the recruiting trail". Thats implying urban was your freind to begin with. wrong. He would'nt be freinds with a scumbag like bielema.

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

tedglover's picture

Fuck Wisconsin.  In the ear.  With a claw hammer.

German Buckeye's picture

Which station/channel is carrying the game? 

BME_Buckeye's picture

ABC/ESPN2 mirror

Look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see.


BrewstersMillions's picture

I am going to a wedding this weekend. My fiance's sister is marrying a mouth breathing Wisconsinite. He's an otherwise cool dude until College Football comes up. To make matters worse, the fiance's family are all in the "We are Irish so we have to love ND crowd". Holliday parties are generally full of suckage given my obvious allegiance to a superior breed of football players.
So naturally this Saturday will be an odd day for me. There are going to be about 150 of these cheese curd sweating, Leinenkugel drinking, Packer Backing Badger fans. I've already been 'warned' that a few friends and family are so intense in their love for Wisconsin that I should "not admit I'm an Ohio State fan, win or lose".
Now of course that won't be happening because, well, I'm not a hill billy who will get heated at a wedding like the cheeseheads I'll be sharing a reception hall with will be. I also never hide my loyalties. I'm told the DJ has instructions to announce the score of the game over the intercom once all the wedding pleasantries\daddy daughter dances are over. I am waiting on baited breath for the grown of the crowd when they announce the outcome.

Earle's picture

I guess you can't wear your jersey to the ceremony, but a nice gray suit paired with a scarlet tie would be acceptable wedding attire, no?

Have you tried Not Your Father's Root Beer?  It tastes just like the real thing, but it packs a punch (5.9%ABV).  It's a little sweet for me though.  Two is my limit.

BrewstersMillions's picture

You sir are correct. I've also been warned to expect at least one guest minimum wearing an Aaron Rodgers jersey.
These people are an entirely different breed.

hail2victors9's picture

I'm guessing you see 6 "Discount double checks."

Those who stay will be CHAMPIONS!

~Bo Schembechler

BrewstersMillions's picture

Whats worse...I work for State Farm.

hodge's picture

So, let me get this straight:  I can sing, "Like a good neighbor, Brewster is there" and you'll just appear out of thin air?  HOW THE HELL DO YOU GUYS DO IT?

BrewstersMillions's picture

HAHA yes, except if you use my 11W name I show up half cocked with an empty bottle of Bulleit in my hand.

Earle's picture

State Farm?  I would have more likely pegged you as the Mayhem guy from that other insurance company.

Have you tried Not Your Father's Root Beer?  It tastes just like the real thing, but it packs a punch (5.9%ABV).  It's a little sweet for me though.  Two is my limit.

BrewstersMillions's picture

HAHA, nope. 4 years and counting now.

Oyster's picture

Gonna go out on a limb here, but my bet is that they really aren't as big of fans as they are made out to be.  Why?  The wedding is during an OSU/Wisky game?  When I got married, the OSU schedule was on the table as she was picking dates.  Nope, Nope, it will have to be a noon wedding, nope, it will have to be an evening wedding, nope, maybe, wanna just wait, nope, nope, just wanna keep living together...  

"Scrolling hurts my finger"

(and FitzBuck was clearly the winner)

BrewstersMillions's picture

Ahh well you fail to underestimate the importance of the bride. She is an Illinois resident and could give 0 effs about college football. Also, hubby is a Navy guy and they had to schedule the wedding around his availability so the game certainly didn't factor.

Oyster's picture

Do you feel ok?  You seem a tad, pale...

"Scrolling hurts my finger"

(and FitzBuck was clearly the winner)

bassplayer7770's picture

I am waiting on baited breath for the grown of the crowd when they announce the outcome.

Oh, how sweet that will be.  Just for you, I hope it will be 70-10, Buckeyes.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Sorry - he can't be a fan if he is actually getting married on Saturday, the day of the OSU / Wisc game!  He is a poser and I would chastise him immediately by saying no true Buckeye man would ever get married on a Buckeye football game Saturday unless the wedding was performed at halftime while standing on the 50 yardline!!! 
My god, that sounds like a completely hideous weekend!!!  It was bad enough being surrounded by Wisc fans but then you had to throw in the domer plague - uff da, no way - call in sick!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

BoFuquel's picture

Just spent a couple of hours watching 2008 game,Ahh when it was fun to be a Buckeye fan. GO BUCKS!

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

USMC11917's picture

I am not nit picking your column Kyle, not at all, I have read this elsewhere and I disagree with the sentiment.

Wisconsin disrupting a perfect season in ’10 and Ohio State winning on a Hail Mary in ’11 – has added extra oomph, as well.

I think to term that pass as a hail mary diminishes the effort and skill that Braxton used in delivering that ball. He didn't throw that ball into a crowd with three seconds left in the game. He found blown coverage and a wide open Devin Smith and recognized that during a scramble, throwing the ball on the run. That takes IT. A Hail Mary doesn't require any of the talent that Braxton possess, only that whomever delivers the ball is close enough to the end zone to make it there and the a receiver as the best position upon delivery and preferably great ups. I just cringe when I read a statement like that. When i think hail mary, I think of a receiver and a defensive back with equal opportunity to go get a thrown ball. I didn't see that at all.

Earle's picture

See:  NW @ UM last week.  Agree completely.

Have you tried Not Your Father's Root Beer?  It tastes just like the real thing, but it packs a punch (5.9%ABV).  It's a little sweet for me though.  Two is my limit.

Dougger's picture

that's a hail mary

I like football

walshy's picture

Excellent read.

"Without winners, there wouldn't even be civilization."

dot it 41's picture

this site is just too much fun... mixing the buckeyes, weddings, claw hammers and wall mounts can't be beat! love it, Kill them badgers, GO BUCKS!

Come here and take your medicine little skunk bear

Doc's picture

Come on Buckeyes!  Beat those crying baby bret's.  I hope this game is "over" in the first half.  Steamroll those cheese curds.

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

Grayskullsession's picture

Hopefully we will win on Saturday and shut up the Badger fans for another decade.

"if irony were made of strawberries, we' d all be drinking a lot of smoothies right now."

Dublin68's picture

This is a scary game guys; Wisky is 10-0 at Camp Randall Stadium in games played in Nov since crying Bielema took over as coach in 2006.  Even though Bielema is 1-5 against the Bucks

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I agree that the Buckeyes players and coaches better not take Bucky lightly (it doesn't matter whether the fans do), but that's kind of a cherry picked stat.
Going into those November games at Camp Randall, the combined record of those 10 opponents was 52-35 (obviously, they're combined record after those games at Wisc was 52-45).
Wisconsin played a few decent teams in compiling that cherry picked stat: 2006 PSU, 2007 Michigan, 2010 NW, 2011 PSU. Yet all of them had at least two losses before facing Wisconsin. Two of the not decent teams on your list were Buffalo (in Nov. 2006) and Cal Poly (in Nov. 2008).   

osubuckeye4life's picture

About to be 1-6 and 10-1.

Buckifan4Life's picture

The difference this year is their QB isn't an experienced upper classman or an experienced transfer upperclassman. Let's see how well they do with Sabino back and a loaded box...

I like the Bucks chances!

bucknut24's picture


pjtobin's picture

A badger there, is our groundhog here, right? I have never taken the time to research this question. Only assuming. I cannot stand crybrety. I hope we run over these beat up vadgers without any brakes or looking back. Full throttle with Braxton behind the wheel. I'm so withdrawing for my bucks. It sucks 2 more games! Against worthless animals I wouldn't waste ammo on. Just feed em some poisonous nuts and watch em shit their tiny brains out. Man I am pumped. Go bucks!!!!!!!!!!

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

rkylet83's picture

Wisconsin was the only team that Coach Tressel didn't have a winning record against (4-4).  I hate them and their coach.  Looking forward to Coach Meyer bettering that mark.