Countdown to the B1G move: Wisconsin

Ronald Martinez

As Maryland counts down the days until the school's official move to the B1G, we're getting to know our future conference foes one school at a time. Today, we preview Wisconsin.

School name: University of Wisconsin-Madison

Location: Madison, Wisconsin

Mascot/nickname: Bucky Badger/Badgers

School colors: Cardinal and White

Distance from College Park: 708.1 miles

Enrollment: 42,595 (28,897 undergraduates)

B1G Member since: 1896

Notable achievements: 28 national championships -- eight in boxing, one in men's basketball (1941), five in men's cross country, two in women's cross country, six in men's ice hockey, four in women's ice hockey, one in men's indoor track & field, one in men's soccer. 19 Nobel Prizes, 34 Pulitzer Prizes.

We've been in the ACC since forever. Tell us which ACC school this is most similar to and why.

Wisconsin ranks 41st in the U.S. News' 2014 rankings, tied with Illinois and right ahead of Miami (and below Georgia Tech). The Badgers have one of the few athletic programs nation-wide that sees consistent success in both football and men's basketball, so it's hard to find an exact fit here, but we'll go with Miami, considering their recent basketball success and the proximity in school rankings. Culturally, the two schools could not be more different, but the Hurricanes are the only school that really come close to the multi-sport success Wisconsin sees (besides Florida State, but the Badgers aren't quite that good at football).

Let me phone a friend about this

Our new B1G pals at Bucky's 5th Quarter, SBNation's Wisconsin blog, lets us know what's been going on with the Badgers. Editor Mike Fiammetta:

Football: Things went fine enough in Gary Andersen's first year as head coach, though the loss to South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl felt exceptionally underwhelming since it also snapped Wisconsin's streak of three straight Rose Bowl appearances. Granted, all three of those were losses as well, but there's always consolation in getting to Pasadena. Andersen and his staff have been recruiting well this offseason, and that's gathering some nice momentum throughout the program. Of course, those recruits won't see the field for another year at least, but on the field this season, more of the usual is expected: an elite rushing attack fueled by Melvin Gordon, Corey Clement and a veteran offensive line; yet another quarterback battle, this time between incumbent starter Joel Stave and the mobile fan favorite Tanner McEvoy; a 3-4 defense that enjoys pressuring opposing offenses and a secondary that's young, but skilled. In the weaker-on-paper West Division, Wisconsin seems to have the greatest chance to return to the Big Ten Championship Game, and it feels reasonable to say that the Badgers could match up well with anyone they face there. In short, hopes are very high for Wisconsin entering the College Football Playoff Era

Basketball: Things have arguably never been better for Bo Ryan's team. The Badgers are coming off their first Final Four appearance since 2000, lose only one starter from last season (Ben Brust) and return Big Ten stars in Frank Kaminsky, Sam Dekker and Nigel Hayes. Throw in sophomore point guard Bronson Koenig and some more improved recruiting, and vibes are equally good around the Badgers' basketball program.


Athletic Facilities:

Football plays at Camp Randall Stadium, a 80,000+ capacity monster on campus that is the oldest stadium in the Big Ten. First built in 1917, it's been renovated many times since and now has a turf field.

Men's basketball plays at the Kohl Center, which seats 17,230 for basketball (and 15,325 for hockey).

Non-revenue athletics:

Men's and women's hockey are highly successful, while wrestling are softball are also very good programs.

Food, beer, & Town:

Back to our friend Mike Fiammetta at Bucky's 5th Quarter:

Food: It's good! Real good! If you're in Madison, the best route is to start the bottom of State Street and work your way up toward the Capitol. You can't go wrong with anything on state, though the real gems are around the square; The Old Fashioned, Great Dane, Brocach and more are around there. There's also a few trendy, hip places that serve fancy cocktails and serve organic/locally-grown food, if you're into that; Merchant and Graze are both fantastic. At any of these places, order cheese curds and a brat (or three), and you'll have a wonderful time.

Beer: It's Wisconsin! Try anything from New Glarus, including Spotted Cow, which has become the state's calling card (especially by out-of-staters). Ale Asylum is also a brewery in Madison that's exploding; their Ambergeddon is great, as is the Hopalicious and Bedlam! IPAs. This paragraph could soon become 10; you legitimately cannot go wrong ordering a brew from Wisconsin, in Wisconsin

How likely is Maryland to develop a rivalry with this school?

Meh! I've long said Wisconsin is the kind of program Maryland should strive to be -- strong in both football and men's basketball, but rarely the outright favorite in either, conference-wise. The Terps will never be a consistent 10-to-12 win program (there are less than a dozen in the nation that can be), but between 8-9 with some spurts of double digits? That's doable. Between that and the other regional rivalries already taking place, it's possible that Maryland and Wisconsin become at least slight rivals, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

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