Wisconsin Badgers football

Wisconsin Badgers football
2016 Wisconsin Badgers football team
First season 1889
Athletic director Barry Alvarez
Head coach Paul Chryst
2nd year, 206 (.769)
Stadium Camp Randall Stadium
Seating capacity 80,321
Field surface Field Turf
Location Madison, Wisconsin
Conference Big Ten
Division West
All-time record 68448953 (.580)
Bowl record 1314 (.481)
Claimed nat'l titles 1 (1912)
Conference titles 14 (1896, 1897, 1901, 1906, 1912, 1952, 1959, 1962, 1993, 1998, 1999, 2010, 2011, 2012)
Heisman winners 2
Consensus All-Americans 27
Current uniform
Colors Cardinal and White[1]
Fight song On, Wisconsin!
Mascot Buckingham U. Badger
Marching band University of Wisconsin Marching Band
Outfitter Under Armour
Rivals Iowa Hawkeyes
Minnesota Golden Gophers
Nebraska Cornhuskers
Website UWBadgers.com

The Wisconsin Badgers football team is the intercollegiate football team of University of Wisconsin–Madison. The Badgers have competed in the Big Ten Conference since its formation in 1896. They play their home games at Camp Randall Stadium, the fourth-oldest stadium in college football. Wisconsin has had two Heisman Trophy winners, Alan Ameche and Ron Dayne, and have had nine former players inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. As of December 3, 2016, the Badgers have an all-time record of 684–489–53.[2]

Team name origin

The team's nickname originates in the early history of Wisconsin. In the 1820s and 1830s, prospectors came to the state looking for minerals, primarily lead. Without shelter in the winter, the miners had to "live like badgers" in tunnels burrowed into hillsides.[3]

Team history

The 1903 team

The early years (1889–1912)

The first Badger football team took the field in 1889, losing the only two games it played that season. In 1890, Wisconsin earned its first victory with a 106–0 drubbing of Whitewater Normal School (now the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater), still the most lopsided win in school history. However, the very next week the Badgers suffered what remains their most lopsided defeat, a humiliating 63–0 loss at the hands of the University of Minnesota. Since then, the Badgers and Gophers have met 122 times, making Wisconsin vs Minnesota the most-played rivalry in the Football Bowl Subdivision.[4]

Upon the formation of the Big Ten conference in 1896, Wisconsin became the first-ever conference champion with a 7–1–1 record. Over the next ten years, the Badgers won or shared the conference title three more times (1897, 1901, and 1906), and recorded their first undefeated season, going 9–0–0 (1901). With the exception of their second undefeated season in 1912, in which they won their fifth Big Ten title.

Moderate successes (1913–1941)

The 1912 season would be their last conference title until 1952. The team posted mostly winning seasons over the next several seasons however.

The climb back to dominance (1942–1962)

1942 was an important year for Wisconsin football. On October 24, the #6 ranked Badgers defeated the #1 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes at Camp Randall, catapulting Wisconsin to the #2 spot in the AP poll. Unfortunately for the Badgers, their national championship hopes were dashed in a 6–0 defeat by the Iowa Hawkeyes the following week. Nevertheless, Wisconsin won the remainder of its games, finishing the season 8–1–1 and #3 in the AP, while garnering the Helms Athletic Foundation vote for National Champion. Afterwards, the Badgers struggled to regain their momentum, with their efforts hampered by many of their star players leaving as a result of World War II. In the late 1940s, fans began insisting that head coach Harry Stuhldreher resign, many times chanting "Goodbye Harry", especially during 1948, where the Badgers finished 2-7. Stuhldreher stepped down as head coach, while keeping his duties as athletic director. Stuhldreher then named Ivy Williamson as head coach

The Badgers experienced great success during the 1950s under Williamson, finishing in the AP Top 25 eight times that decade. In one stretch, from 1950-1954, the Badgers went 26-8-3. The Badgers' success during those seasons was defined by a stout defense, dubbed "The Hard Rocks", which usually finished in the top 5 of the nation in overall defense, including leading the nation in 1951. In 1952, the team received its first #1 ranking by the Associated Press. That season, the Badgers again claimed the Big Ten title and earned their first trip to the Rose Bowl. There they were defeated 7–0 by the Southern California, and would finish the season ranked #11 in the AP. In 1954 after a 7-2 season, Wisconsin's Alan Ameche became the first Badger to win the Heisman Trophy. Ivy Williamson stepped down as head coach in 1955 to become athletic director, and was replaced by his former assistant coach, Milt Bruhn. Bruhn would continue Wisconsin's success, after an initial setback with a 1-5-3 record in 1956. Wisconsin returned to the Rose Bowl as Big Ten Champions in 1959, but fell to the Washington Huskies, 44-8.

In 1962, the Badgers had another landmark season, spearheaded by the passing combination of Ron Vander Kelen to All-American Pat Richter. The Badgers standout victory was an upset of #1-ranked Northwestern, who were coached then by the legendary Ara Parseghian. The Badgers finished 8-1, earned their eighth Big Ten title, and faced the top-ranked USC Trojans in the Rose Bowl. Despite a narrow 42–37 defeat, the Badgers still ended the season ranked #2 in both the AP and Coaches polls (post-bowl rankings were not introduced until later in the decade).

Limited successes (1963–1989)

Following the successful 1962 campaign, Wisconsin football scuffled, and Milt Bruhn resigned in 1966 after three straight losing seasons. Wisconsin chose former assistant coach John Coatta. The Badgers finished even worse under Coatta, going winless for 23 straight games from 1967-1969, and winning only 3 games overall during Coatta's short reign, each of the wins occurring during the 1969 season. What stung even worse for Badger fans during the three season, was the coach that Wisconsin supposedly turned down for the head coaching role, Bo Schembechler, who would become a coaching legend at Michigan.

In 1970, new athletic director Elroy Hirsch named John Jardine as head coach. While the Badgers weren't a consistent winner under Jardine, the program regained stability, and also brought excitement in running backs Rufus "Roadrunner" Ferguson and Billy Marek. The Badgers went 37-47-3 under Jardine, who stepped down in 1977.

After more subpar seasons from 1978-1980, the team had a string of seven-win seasons from 1981–84 under Dave McClain. During that time the Badgers played in the Garden State Bowl (1981), Independence Bowl (1982), and Hall of Fame Classic Bowl (1984). McClain's death during spring practice in 1986 sent the Badgers into free fall. From 1986 to 1990, the Badgers won a total of nine games.

Return to Glory with Alvarez era, "From Red Ink to Roses" (1990–2005)

By the end of the 1989 season, the Wisconsin football program was in disarray, and loss of popularity, barely able to even get 30,000 fans coming to the 77,000-capacity stadium, Camp Randall Stadium, and shouldering a debt of over $2 million. New athletic director, Pat Richter, named Barry Alvarez, the defensive coordinator at Notre Dame, as the new head coach. To bring stability and interest in the program again, Alvarez targeted the top high school players in Wisconsin, "building a wall" around the state, and also encouraged players not recruited to join the program as walk-on's. Though Alvarez won his first game as head coach over Ball State, the Badgers finished 1-10 in 1990, but brought encouragement by following with back-to-back 5-6 seasons, including barely missing out on a bowl game in 1992. In 1993, the Badgers finished 10-1-1, winning their first Big Ten championship since 1962 and beat UCLA 21–16 to claim its first Rose Bowl victory.

After the surprise success of 1993, the Badgers fell back into mediocrity, though they still remained competitive, going 2-1 in bowl games from 1994-1997, with victories in the Hall of Fame Bowl in 1994, and the Copper Bowl in 1996. Alvarez was able to retool the team with a new batch of talented recruits during this stretch of seasons, and they came to full fruition in 1998 and 1999. Among the standouts on the Badgers included corner back Jamar Fletcher, wide receiver Chris Chambers, quarterback Brooks Bollinger, offensive linemen Aaron Gibson, Chris McIntosh, and Mark Tauscher, and their signature star player, running back Ron Dayne. With "The Great Dayne" leading the way, the Badgers won back-to-back Big Ten championships, and won back-to-back Rose Bowls over UCLA in 1999, and Stanford in 2000. Ron Dayne set a new NCAA record for career rushing yardage, and won the Heisman Trophy in 1999.

Going into 2000, there were high hopes of the Badgers winning their third Big Ten championship in a row, with the possibility of winning an unprecedented three straight Rose Bowls. However early into the season, Wisconsin's football and basketball programs were hit with controversy in what became known as "The Shoe Box scandal", where a local shoe store gave university athletes over $23,000 in discounts for footwear. Wisconsin athletic programs, including football, were put under 5 years of probation, and several players were suspended by the NCAA. The Badgers had a down season, finishing 9-4, with a victory over UCLA in the Sun Bowl.

Hurt by the NCAA's probation, the Badgers struggled through the 2001-2003 seasons, never finishing higher than 7th in the Big Ten. By 2004, with the probation ending, Alvarez was able to rebuild the program, and the Badgers returned back to the top 20 in the AP polls in 2004 and 2005, with a victory in the Capitol One Bowl in 2005. In 2004, Barry Alvarez was named athletic director, replacing the retiring Pat Richter. The strain of working as athletic director and head coach became too much for Alvarez, and he announced that he was stepping down as head coach after the 2005 season.

Alvarez coached the Badgers for 16 seasons, finishing with a 118-73-4 record during those seasons, three times finishing in the Top 10 in the AP polls, and the only Big Ten head coach to win back-to-back Rose Bowls.

Bret Bielema era (2006–2012)

Following the 2005 season, Alvarez resigned as head coach in order to focus on his duties as athletic director, a position he had assumed in 2004. He named his defensive coordinator, Bret Bielema, as his successor. From 2006 to 2011, Bielema led the Badgers to six consecutive bowl appearances, going 2–4. In 2010, the Badgers won a share of the Big Ten Championship and returned to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 2000. There they were defeated 21–19 by the #3 ranked TCU. In 2011, the Badgers were once again crowned Big Ten Champs when they defeated Michigan State in the first-ever conference championship game. The victory sent Wisconsin back to the Rose Bowl for a second consecutive year, where they were defeated by the Pac-12 champion Oregon Ducks, 45-38.

The 2012 season ended with the Badgers winning a third consecutive Big Ten title. Despite finishing with a 7-5 record and third in the Leaders Division, the Badgers advanced to the Big Ten Championship game by virtue of the fact that Penn State and Ohio State were ineligible for postseason play. A dominating rushing performance led Wisconsin to a 70-31 victory over #12 ranked Nebraska in the Big Ten Championship game. Only days later, Brett Bielema resigned to become the head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks. Gary Andersen, formerly coach of Utah State University, was named head coach on December 19, 2012. At the request of the team captains, Barry Alvarez named himself interim coach for the 2013 Rose Bowl, where the Badgers lost, 20-14 to Stanford.[5]

Gary Andersen era (2013–2014)

Gary Andersen was hired in December 2012 after Bret Bielema resigned to become the head coach for the University of Arkansas. Andersen was previously the head coach for Utah State where he went 26-23 in his four years at Utah State with his last season being 11-2 and finishing first in the Western Athletic Conference. Andersen's first win as the Badgers coach was a 45-0 win against Massachusetts. His first Big Ten football victory was a 41-10 victory over Purdue. The Badgers ended 2013 with a 9-4 record after losing to #8 South Carolina Gamecocks in the Capital One Bowl.

The Badgers started out the 2014 season ranked #14 in the AP Poll and their season opener was against #13 LSU Tigers in Houston, after leading the Tigers through three quarters the Tigers came back from a 24-7 deficit to defeat the Badgers 28-24.[6] The Badgers recorded their first road shutout since 1998 in a 37-0 victory over the Big Ten newcomers Rutgers Scarlet Knights.[7] On November 15, junior running back Melvin Gordon broke the all-time FBS single-game rushing yards record with 408 yards in a 59-24 victory against the Nebraska Cornhuskers.[8] However that record only lasted a week as Samaje Perine from Oklahoma rushed for 427 yards the very next week. The 2014 regular season ended with the Badgers taking 1st place in the West Division with a 10-2 record. Wisconsin played Ohio State for the conference title in the 2014 Big Ten Championship Game where the Badgers lost to Ohio State 59-0. It was the first time since 1997 that the Badgers were shutout and the worst loss since 1979 when Ohio State defeated the Badgers 59–0.[9]

Andersen departed Wisconsin four days later, taking the vacant head coaching position at Oregon State.[10] Andersen cited family as his rationale for taking the Oregon State position; however, it was reported by some media outlets, such as Fox Sports and Sports Illustrated, that Andersen was frustrated with the University's high academic standards for athletes.[11][12] Those reports turned out to be accurate, and were confirmed by Andersen in January 2015.[13] Andersen had to pay a $3 million buyout for departing within the first two years of his contract, which was set through January 2019.[14] At the request of the teams' seniors, Barry Alvarez named himself interim coach for the 2015 Outback Bowl vs. Auburn on January 1, 2015.[15] Wisconsin won the game 34–31 in overtime.[16]

Paul Chryst (2015–present)

After the departure of Gary Andersen former Badgers offensive coordinator (2005-2011) and Pitt head coach (2012-2014), Paul Chryst, was hired as the next head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers. The only assistant coach to remain on the coaching staff after Andersen's departure was defensive coordinator Dave Aranda. Chryst brought over six coaching staff from the University of Pittsburgh, Joe Rudolph (OC), John Settle (RB coach), Inoke Breckterfield (D-line), Chris Haering (special teams), Mickey Turner (TE coach) and Ross Kolodziej (strength and conditioning). From 2005 to 2011 Rudolph (TE coach) and Settle (RB coach) were assistant coaches under Chryst (OC). Mickey Turner and Ross Kolodziej are both former Badgers players, Turner was a tight end from 2006-2009 and Kolodziej was a defensive tackle from 1997-2000.[17]

In Chryst's first season the Badgers went 10–3 and finished 1st nationally in scoring defense (13.7 points per game) and 2nd in total defense (268.5 yards per game). All three losses came to teams that were in the AP top 25 at the end of the season, eventual national champions #1 Alabama, #9 Iowa and #23 Northwestern. Chryst also won the Holiday Bowl against USC, whom the Badgers had a 0-6 record against before the game, with their last meeting being the 1963 Rose Bowl. Two days after their victory over USC it was announced that the Badgers defensive coordinator, Dave Aranda, would be taking the same role for the LSU Tigers, whom the Badgers open the 2016 season against at Lambeau Field.

Aranda was replaced with Justin Wilcox, who was previously USC's defensive coordinator from 2014 to 2015, he was fired in early December 2015 after the Trojans finished 50th nationally in scoring defense (25.7 points per game) and 65th in total defense (400.8 yards per game).[18]

The Badgers started 2016 on a high note by upsetting the #5 ranked LSU Tigers 16-14 in their season opener at Lambeau Field, the first ever major college football game in the historical stadium.

Coaching staff


Name Position First season Alma Mater
Paul Chryst Head coach / Quarterbacks coach 2015 (2nd) Wisconsin
Joe Rudolph Associate head coach / Offensive coordinator / Offensive line coach 2015 (2nd) Wisconsin
Justin Wilcox Defensive coordinator 2016 (1st) Oregon
John Settle Running backs coach 2015 (2nd) Appalachian State
Mickey Turner Tight ends coach 2015 (2nd) Wisconsin
Ted Gilmore Wide receivers coach 2015 (2nd) Wyoming
Jim Leonhard Defensive backs coach 2016 (1st) Wisconsin
Tim Tibesar Outside linebackers coach 2015 (2nd) North Dakota
Inoke Breckterfield Defensive line coach 2015 (2nd) Oregon State
Chris Haering Special teams coordinator 2015 (2nd) West Virginia
Ross Kolodziej Strength and Conditioning coach 2015 (2nd) Wisconsin

Head coaching history

Coach Years Record Conference
Bowl Appearances Bowl Record NCAA
Runner Up
Alvin Kletsch 1889 0–2
Ted Mestre 1890 1–3
Herb Alward 1891 3–1–1
Frank Crawford 1892 5–2
Parke H. Davis 1893 4–2
Hiram O. Stickney 1894–1895 10–4–1
Philip King 1896–1902 57–9–1 16–6–1 1896, 1897, 1901
Arthur Curtis 1903–1904 11–6–1 0–6–1
Philip King 1905 8–2 1–2
Charles P. Hutchins 1906–1907 8–1–1 6–1–1 1906
Thomas A. Barry 1908–1910 9–4–3 5–4–2
John R. Richards 1911 5–1–1 2–1–1
William Juneau 1912–1915 18–8–2 10–7–2 1912
Paul Withington 1916 4–2–1 1–2–1
John R. Richards 1917 4–2–1 3–2
Guy Lowman 1918 3–3 1–2
John R. Richards 1919–1922 20–6–2 12–6–2
John J. Ryan 1923–1924 5–6–4 1–5–3
George Little 1925–1926 11–3–2 6–3–2
Glenn Thistlethwaite 1927–1931 26–16–3 10–14–2
Clarence Spears 1932–1935 13–17–2 7–13–2
Harry Stuhldreher 1936–1948 45–62–6 26–45–4
Ivy Williamson 1949–1955 41–19–4 29–13–4 1952 1 0–1
Milt Bruhn 1956–1966 52–45–6 35–37–5 1959, 1962 2 0–2 1962
John Coatta 1967–1969 3–26–1 3–17–1
John Jardine 1970–1977 37–47–3 25–38–1
Dave McClain 1978–1985 46–42–3 32–34–3 3 1–2
Jim Hilles 1986 3–9 2–6
Don Morton 1987–1989 6–27 3–21
Barry Alvarez 1990–2005 118–73–4 65–60–3 1993, 1998, 1999 11 8–3
Bret Bielema 2006–2012 68–24 37–19 2010, 2011, 2012 6 2–4
Barry Alvarez (Interim) 2012 0–1 1 0–1
Gary Andersen 2013–2014 19–7 13–3 1 0–1
Barry Alvarez (Interim) 2014 1–0 1 1–0
Paul Chryst 2015– 20–6 13–4 1 1–0
Total 1889–present 684–489–53 364–372–41 14 27 13–14 0 1

Updated on: December 3, 2016 All Data from The Wisconsin Football Fact Book[19]

All-time records

Victories over #1 ranked teams

Year Opponent Result Site
1942 vs. Ohio State W 17–7 Madison, WI
1962 vs. Northwestern W 37–6 Madison, WI
1981 vs. Michigan W 21–14 Madison, WI
2010 vs. Ohio State W 31–18 Madison, WI
Source: Wisconsin State Journal, 10/16/2010

Bowl history

The Badgers have appeared in 27 bowl games and have a record of 13 wins and 14 losses (13–14). Their most recent bowl game was in the 2015 Holiday Bowl. The Badgers have participated in a season-ending bowl game 14 consecutive seasons and snapped a four-game bowl losing streak with a 34–31 overtime victory over Auburn in the 2015 Outback Bowl.[16]

All-time Big Ten records

This chart includes both the overall record the University of Wisconsin Badgers have with the all-time Big Ten members, as well as the matchups that counted in the Big Ten standings. Wisconsin has been a member of the Big Ten since its creation in 1896. Michigan rejoined the league in 1917 after leaving in 1906. Chicago withdrew after 1939, and then Michigan State (1953), Penn State (1993), and Nebraska (2011), Maryland and Rutgers (2014) joined the Big Ten conference bringing the league total to 14 teams. (As of November 19, 2016)

Team Big Ten Wins Big Ten Losses Big Ten Ties Pct. Overall Wins Overall Losses Overall Ties Pct. Streak First Meeting Last Meeting
Chicago Maroons 18 15 5 .539 19 16 5 .538 Won 1 1894 1937
Illinois Fighting Illini 40 36 7 .524 40 36 7 .524 Won 7 1895 2016
Indiana Hoosiers 39 18 2 .678 39 18 2 .678 Won 9 1907 2013
Iowa Hawkeyes 44 43 2 .506 45 43 2 .511 Won 1 1894 2016
Maryland Terrapins 2 0 0 1.000 2 0 0 1.000 Won 2 2014 2015
Michigan Wolverines 14 50 1 .223 14 50 1 .223 Lost 1 1892 2016
Michigan State Spartans 19 29 0 .396 23 30 0 .434 Won 1 1913 2016
Minnesota Golden Gophers 58 54 8 .517 59[20] 59[20] 8 .500 Won 13 1890 2016
Nebraska Cornhuskers 4 1 0 .800 7 4 0 .636 Won 4 1901 2016
Northwestern Wildcats 54 34 4 .609 58 35 5 .617 Won 1 1890 2016
Ohio State Buckeyes 18 57 5 .256 18 58 5 .253 Lost 4 1913 2016
Penn State Nittany Lions 7 8 0 .467 9 9 0 .500 Lost 3 1953 2016
Purdue Boilermakers 44 27 8 .608 45 29 8 .598 Won 11 1892 2016
Rutgers Scarlet Knights 2 0 0 1.000 2 0 0 1.000 Won 2 2014 2015
357 369 41 .492 380 383 43 .498

All Data from The Wisconsin Football Fact Book[19]

Conference championships

Season Conference Coach Overall Record Conference Record
1896 Big Ten Philip King 7–1–1 2–0-1
1897 Big Ten Philip King 9–1 3–0
1901 Big Ten Philip King 9–0 2–0
1906 Big Ten Charles P. Hutchins 5–0 3–0
1912 Big Ten William Juneau 7–0 5–0
1952 Big Ten Ivy Williamson 6–3-1 4–1-1
1959 Big Ten Milt Bruhn 7–3 5–2
1962 Big Ten Milt Bruhn 8–2 6–1
1993 Big Ten Barry Alvarez 10–1-1 6–1-1
1998 Big Ten Barry Alvarez 11–1 7–1
1999 Big Ten Barry Alvarez 10–2 7–1
2010 Big Ten Bret Bielema 11–2 7–1
2011 Big Ten Bret Bielema 11–3 6–2
2012 Big Ten Bret Bielema 8–6 4–4
Conference Championships 14
† Denotes co-champions

Updated on: December 31, 2015 All Data from The Wisconsin Football Fact Book[19]


Running Back U

"Running Back U" is a nickname that has emerged during the regime of Hall of Fame college football coach Barry Alvarez ('90–'05) and continued by his successors. Running plays have become a staple of the Wisconsin offensive attack ever since. The Badgers have produced a number of top-rated players at the running back position, including two Heisman Trophy winners and three Doak Walker Award winners. Standouts have included Howard Weiss, Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch, Alan Ameche, Joe Dawkins, Rufus "Roadrunner" Ferguson, Brent Moss, Terrell Fletcher, Ron Dayne, Michael Bennett, Anthony Davis, Brian Calhoun, Montee Ball, James White and Melvin Gordon.

Jump Around

"Jump Around" made its debut at Camp Randall on October 10, 1998, when the Badgers hosted the Purdue Boilermakers and their star Quarterback Drew Brees.[21]

College Gameday

Lee Corso has worn the Badger head gear on 6 occasions.[22]

The Badgers have appeared on ESPN's College Game Day 14 times since 1999, with 3 bowl appearances. Wisconsin is 5–9 in games played when College GameDay has traveled to Badger games. Wisconsin has hosted the program 5 times. The most recent visit came in 2016 when Ohio State played in Madison. The Badgers have a 3–3 record when Gameday is on campus.


Current rivalries


Badgers celebrating their win by carrying Paul Bunyan's Axe around the stadium after the 2009 game

The UW-U of M series is the nation’s most-played rivalry in Division I football and has been played continuously since 1907. Much prestige was always associated with the game, and the significance was emphasized with its place on the schedule. Between 1933 and 1982, the Wisconsin-Minnesota game was always the final regular-season contest for each school. The series took an added twist in 1948 when more than state bragging rights were on the line. After a 16-0 setback that season, the Wisconsin lettermen's group, the National 'W' Club, presented Minnesota with an axe wielded by Paul Bunyan. He was the mythical giant of Midwestern lumber camps. Each year since, the winner of the annual battle between the Big Ten rivals is presented with the axe, complete with scores inscribed on the handle, for display on its campus. Series is tied 59-59-8.[20]


Iowa is Wisconsin's other archrival. Although the rivalry started in 1894, the Heartland Trophy was inaugurated in 2004 and goes each year to the winner. The trophy was designed and crafted by artist and former Iowa football player Frank Strub. The trophy, which is a bull mounted on a walnut base (native to both Wisconsin and Iowa), has been inscribed with the scores of all games in the long-time series. With Big Ten expansion, the Wisconsin and Iowa football teams were placed in separate divisions, thus ending their annual rivalry. However, with the addition of Maryland and Rutgers, Iowa and Wisconsin were placed back in the same division in 2014. Wisconsin leads the series at 44-43-2.


Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland tackles Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez during the 2012 Big Ten Football Championship Game

Nebraska is Wisconsin's newest rival. With the inclusion of the Cornhuskers in the Big Ten in 2011 the first three games between the two programs were significant, the third being the 2012 Big Ten Football Championship Game where the unranked Badgers defeated the heavily favored #14 ranked Cornhuskers, 70-31. Prior to their next matchup in 2014, the University of Nebraska and the University of Wisconsin announced that moving forward the two schools would play for the Freedom Trophy. The trophy sits on a wooden base and features a depiction of Nebraska's Memorial Stadium on one side and Wisconsin's Camp Randall Stadium on the other. The trophy has an inscription honoring the nation's veterans and symbolizes that Memorial Stadium was built in their honor at Nebraska while Camp Randall Stadium in Wisconsin was built on the site of a former Civil War training site. The score of each year's contest will be inscribed on the trophy. Wisconsin leads the series 4-1-0.

Inactive rivalries


From 1904 to 1960 Wisconsin forged an intense rivalry with the Marquette Golden Avalanche. During this time these two schools were the only two Division I football in the state of Wisconsin (Marquette being located in Milwaukee). These two schools played every year from 1932 to 1960 until Marquette terminated their football program. The Badgers won the series record 32-4. Marquette no longer has a Division I football program.

Individual school records

Note ‡-indicates NCAA FBS Record, †-indicates Big Ten Conference Record

Rushing records

Melvin Gordon in 2014

Passing records

Russell Wilson under center in 2011 against Purdue

Receiving records

Jared Abbrederis in 2013

Scoring records

Montee Ball in 2012

Kickoff/Punt return records

Defensive records

Chris Borland in 2013

Note ‡-indicates NCAA FBS Record, †-indicates Big Ten Conference Record

All Data from The Wisconsin Football Fact Book[23]


Retired numbers

Elroy Hirsch
Wisconsin Badgers retired numbers
No. Player Position Career
33 Ron Dayne RB 1996–99
35 Alan Ameche FB 1951–54
40 Elroy Hirsch RB, WR 1942
80 Dave Schreiner E 1939–42
83 Allan Shafer 1 QB 1944
88 Pat Richter E, WR, P 1960-62

1 Shafer played only six games in 1944 before his death from injuries received in a game on November 11. He was 17 years old.[24][25]

College Football Hall of Fame

Beginning with George Little and Dave Schreiner in the 1955 class, the Badgers have had 13 former players and coaches inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame

Pro Football Hall of Fame

Wisconsin has had 3 former players, graduates enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Individual award winners and finalists

The following players have been nominated for national awards. Players highlighted in yellow indicate winners:

Heisman Trophy
Year Athlete Place
1938 Howard Weiss 6th
1942 Dave Schreiner 10th
1953 Alan Ameche 6th
1954 Alan Ameche Winner
1959 Dale Hackbart 7th
1962 Pat Richter 6th
1962 Ron Vander Kelen 9th
1999 Ron Dayne Winner
2011 Montee Ball 4th
2011 Russell Wilson 9th
2014 Melvin Gordon 2nd
Maxwell Award
Year Athlete Place
1999 Ron Dayne Winner
2011 Russell Wilson Semi-finalist
2012 Montee Ball Semi-finalist
2013 Melvin Gordon Semi-finalist
2014 Melvin Gordon Finalist
Walter Camp Award
Year Athlete Place
1953 Alan Ameche Winner
1999 Ron Dayne Winner
2012 Montee Ball Semi-finalist
AP Player of the Year
Year Athlete Place
1999 Ron Dayne Winner
Doak Walker Award
Year Athlete Place
1998 Ron Dayne Finalist
1999 Ron Dayne Winner
2001 Anthony Davis Semi-finalist
2005 Brian Calhoun Semi-finalist
2006 P. J. Hill Semi-finalist
2010 John Clay Finalist
2011 Montee Ball Finalist
2012 Montee Ball Winner
2013 Melvin Gordon Semi-finalist
2014 Melvin Gordon Winner
Davey O'Brien Award
Year Athlete Place
2006 John Stocco Semi-finalist
2011 Russell Wilson Semi-finalist
Dave Rimington Trophy
Year Athlete Place
2002 Al Johnson Finalist
2011 Peter Konz Finalist
Outland Trophy
Year Athlete Place
1998 Aaron Gibson Finalist
1999 Chris McIntosh Finalist
2006 Joe Thomas Winner
2010 Gabe Carimi Winner
Lombardi Award
Year Athlete Place
1998 Aaron Gibson Finalist
2000 Wendell Bryant Semi-finalist
2001 Wendell Bryant Semi-finalist
2004 Erasmus James Finalist
2005 Joe Thomas Semi-finalist
2006 Joe Thomas Semi-finalist
2012 Chris Borland Semi-finalist
2015 Joe Schobert Semi-finalist
Wuerffel Trophy
Year Athlete Place
2006 Joe Thomas Finalist
Draddy Trophy
Year Athlete Place
2004 Jim Leonhard Finalist
2006 Joe Thomas Finalist
Paul "Bear" Bryant Award
Year Coach Place
2006 Bret Bielema Finalist
2010 Bret Bielema Semi-finalist
2011 Bret Bielema Finalist

Chuck Bednarik Award
Year Athlete Place
2004 Erasmus James Finalist
2009 O'Brien Schofield Semi-finalist
2010 J. J. Watt Semi-finalist
2013 Chris Borland Semi-finalist
2015 Joe Schobert Semi-finalist
Dick Butkus Award
Year Athlete Place
2013 Chris Borland Semi-finalist
Bronko Nagurski Trophy
Year Athlete Place
2004 Erasmus James Finalist
Ted Hendricks Award
Year Athlete Place
2004 Erasmus James Finalist
2010 J.J. Watt Finalist
Fred Biletnikoff Award
Year Athlete Place
2001 Lee Evans Finalist
Ray Guy Award
Year Athlete Place
2000 Kevin Stemke Winner
Lou Groza Award
Year Athlete Place
1998 Matt Davenport Semi-finalist
1999 Vitaly Pisetsky Finalist
2006 Taylor Mehlhaff Semi-finalist
2007 Taylor Mehlhaff Finalist
2008 Philip Welch Semi-finalist
Jim Thorpe Award
Year Athlete Place
1991 Troy Vincent Semi-finalist
2000 Jamar Fletcher Winner
2004 Jim Leonhard Semi-finalist
Mosi Tatupu Award
Year Athlete Place
1999 Nick Davis Semi-finalist
1999 Vitaly Pisetsky Finalist
2001 Nick Davis Finalist
Ronnie Lott Award
Year Athlete Place
2004 Jim Leonhard Finalist
2010 J.J. Watt Winner
2013 Chris Borland Finalist
2015 Joe Schobert Semi-finalist
John Mackey Award
Year Athlete Place
2006 Travis Beckum Semi-finalist
2007 Travis Beckum Finalist
2010 Lance Kendricks Finalist
Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award
Year Athlete Place
2010 Scott Tolzien Winner
2011 Russell Wilson Finalist
Joseph V. Paterno Award
Year Coach Place
2010 Bret Bielema Semi-finalist
Frank Broyles Award
Year Coach Place
2010 Paul Chryst Finalist
Burlsworth Trophy
Year Athlete Place
2012 Jared Abbrederis Semi-finalist
2013 Jared Abbrederis Winner[27]

Consensus All-Americans

dagger Unanimous selection

List of Consensus All-Americans showing the year won, player and position[A 1]

Year Player name Position
1912 Butler, RobertRobert Butler T
1913 Keeler, RayRay Keeler G
1915 Buck, HowardHoward Buck T
1919 Carpenter, CharlesCharles Carpenter C
1920 Scott, RalphRalph Scott T
1923 Below, MartyMarty Below T
1930 Lubratovich, MiloMilo Lubratovich T
1942 Schreiner, DaveDave Schreinerdagger E
1954 Ameche, AlanAlan Amechedagger B
1959 Lanphear, DanDan Lanpheardagger T
1962 Richter, PatPat Richter E
1975 Lick, DennisDennis Lick T
1981 Krumrie, TimTim Krumrie DL
1994 Raymer, CoryCory Raymer C
1998 Gibson, AaronAaron Gibson OL
1998 Burke, TomTom Burkedagger DL
1999 McIntosh, ChrisChris McIntoshdagger OL
1999 Dayne, RonRon Daynedagger RB
2000 Fletcher, JamarJamar Fletcher DB
2004 James, ErasmusErasmus James DL
2006 Thomas, JoeJoe Thomasdagger OL
2010 Kendricks, LanceLance Kendricks TE
2010 Carimi, GabeGabe Carimidagger OL
2011 Ball, MonteeMontee Ball RB
2011 Zeitler, KevinKevin Zeitler G
2012 Ball, MonteeMontee Ball RB
2014 Gordon, MelvinMelvin Gordondagger RB

Future opponents

Big Ten West-division opponents

Wisconsin plays the other six Big Ten West opponents once per season.

Even Numbered Years Odd Number Years
at Iowa vs Iowa
vs Minnesota at Minnesota
vs Nebraska at Nebraska
at Northwestern vs Northwestern
vs Illinois at Illinois
at Purdue vs Purdue

Big Ten East-division opponents

Year Indiana Maryland Michigan Michigan State Ohio State Penn State Rutgers
2016 Away Away Home
2017 Away Home Home
2018 Away Away Home
2019 Home Home Away

Sources: 2016,[28] 2017,[29] 2018,[30] 2019[31]

Non-conference opponents

Announced schedules as of August 13, 2015
In 2015 the Big Ten announced that starting in 2016 it will no longer allow its members to play Football Championship Subdivision teams, and will also require at least one non-conference game against a school in the Power Five conferences (ACC, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC). Games against FBS independents Notre Dame and BYU will count toward the Power Five requirement.[32] Any game schedule prior to the announcement were allowed to stay on the schedule.

██ P5 opponents
2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025
vs LSU* at BYU vs BYU at South Florida vs Syracuse at Syracuse vs Washington State at Washington State vs Virginia Tech at Virginia Tech
vs Akron vs Florida Atlantic vs New Mexico vs Central Michigan vs Hawaii at Hawaii
vs Georgia State vs Utah State vs Western Kentucky vs North Texas


* The 2016 game against LSU will be played at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Current professional football players

National Football League

Wisconsin Badgers in the NFL
NFL Draft selections
Total selected: 261
First picks in draft: 0
1st Round: 28
NFL achievements
Hall of Famers: 3
Pro Bowlers 25
= Pro Bowler[34]
Name Position Current Team Draft year
Jared Abbrederis Wide Receiver Green Bay Packers 2014
Beau Allen Defensive Tackle Philadelphia Eagles 2014
Jonathan Casillas Outside Linebacker New York Giants 2009
Marcus Cromartie Cornerback San Francisco 49ers undrafted in 2013
Alex Erickson Wide Receiver Cincinnati Bengals undrafted in 2016
Travis Frederick Center Dallas Cowboys 2013
Melvin Gordon Running Back San Diego Chargers 2015
Ryan Groy Guard Buffalo Bills undrafted in 2014
Rob Havenstein Offensive Tackle Los Angeles Rams 2015
Darius Hillary Cornerback Cincinnati Bengals undrafted in 2016
Lance Kendricks Tight End Los Angeles Rams 2011
DeAndre Levy Outside Linebacker Detroit Lions 2009
Chris Maragos Free Safety Philadelphia Eagles undrafted in 2010
Tyler Marz Offensive Tackle Tennessee Titans undrafted in 2016
Tanner McEvoy Safety Seattle Seahawks undrafted in 2016
Brad Nortman Punter Jacksonville Jaguars 2012
Joe Schobert Outside Linebacker Cleveland Browns 2016
Joel Stave Quarterback Seattle Seahawks undrafted in 2016
Joe Thomas Offensive Tackle Cleveland Browns 2007
Scott Tolzien Quarterback Indianapolis Colts undrafted in 2011
Austin Traylor Tight End Dallas Cowboys undrafted in 2016
Kraig Urbik Guard Miami Dolphins 2009
Ricky Wagner Offensive Tackle Baltimore Ravens 2013
Derek Watt Fullback San Diego Chargers 2016
J.J. Watt Defensive End Houston Texans 2011
James White Running Back New England Patriots 2014
Russell Wilson Quarterback Seattle Seahawks 2012
Kevin Zeitler Guard Cincinnati Bengals 2012


Arena Football League

Canadian Football League



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  19. 1 2 3 4 http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/wis/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/2013-14/misc_non_event/Fact_Book_2013.pdf
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  30. http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/big10/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/2013-14/misc_non_event/2018B1GFBSchedule.pdf
  31. http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/big10/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/2013-14/misc_non_event/2019B1GFBSchedule.pdf
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Further reading

External links

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