When I was young, the idea of my Wisconsin Badgers being in the Rose Bowl was a distant dream. I knew the history, they had been there in 1953, 1960, and 1963. Before I was born. And they had lost all three of those games.
But then came the dream come true. 1994, with Coach Barry Alvarez, they were back. I was in Grad School at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, after doing my undergrad there. And I was born and raised in Madison, WI. It was exciting beyond description for us. And I remember ecstatically watching that game, in which they beat UCLA 21-16.
And then they would be back in the Rose Bowl in 1998 and 1999, winning again both times.
That thing that once seemed a distant dream was becoming relatively common.
And they went back again in 2011 and 2012. Even though they lost, still, they were in the Rose Bowl!
Which brings us to this year. After heartbreaking losses, almost all in overtime and by less than 3 points, they are back in the Rose Bowl only because two other teams are sanctioned and unable to play post-season, but then by an unexpected victory over Nebraska 70-31. Conference championship games just shouldn't have scores that big!
Getting back there this year feels again like a dream come true. So, job well done, gentlemen. Win or lose, I'm always so proud to be a Badger. And to see Barry Alvarez coach again today will be such a fond thing.