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Minnesota vs Wisconsin: Oral History of Wisconsin Football With Harrison & Ryan

The Daily Gopher historian Ryan Barland aka @hipstergopher and TDG regular Harrison Tenpas (@harrisontenpas) discuss the long history of Wisconsin football.


Harrison: You know, Ryan, as Americans, we're indoctrinated with some pretty egregious lies: the flouride in our water isn't rat poison, Einstein invented electricity or whatever, Iowa is a playoff team, etc. But perhaps the biggest whopper pulled on us sheeple is Rutgers University being the "Birthplace of College Football," when in all actuality, that title belongs to the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Presented without comment.

Ryan: That's a great point and it's lost on so many. Wisconsin fans assume that football began in 1993. In fact Wisconsin has been cheating and lying about football for over 100 years! Big Ten Network Studio Host Dave Revsine even wrote a book "The Opening Kickoff," all about the cheating lying ways of those early Wisconsin teams.

Is Wisconsin's greatest player even American? You decide!

Harrison: It was an interesting editorial choice to have our readers think we're starting off with two pretty different premises here, but it's a choice I'll stand by, nonetheless. Anyways, I'm pretty sure "The Opening Kickoff" is actually a novel? There's a lot of bizarre misinformation in there about football existing before 1993 that could only come from an imaginative and, in my opinion, pretty messed up and demented mind. I read it and was like, whoa, I've already seen "The Matrix," and thanks but no thanks.

Ryan: Let's not get bogged down debating if Wisconsin had football before 1993. Let's talk about what they've been doing with football since then. Now from what I understand the year of the Badger (1993), Wisconsin had a chance to win a national championship, but they shit the bed against Minnesota?

Harrison: That is correct. It's my understanding that Darrell Bevell had been informed before the game that the guys in maroon jerseys were on his team too, which could explain the 4 interceptions by an admittedly stout defense (a trademark of the Wacker era). A very important takeaway from this game is that it set the groundwork for Wisconsin's streak of getting to big games and then deciding, you know what, let's not get cocky, we should probably lose this one.

Shovel Bucky shovel!

Ryan: Christ, the 1993 Golden Gophers (led by Justin Conzemius aka "The Fargo Flash," but you already know what it is) were not a dominant team. That Wacker squad went 4-7. So after winning the Rose Bowl in 1993 the Badgers must have really turned up for the rest of the 1990s huh?

Harrison: The Badgers were indeed playing football at a sub-championship level on the field, but can we talk about how Barry Alvarez's son Chad was basically the 1995 Cornhuskers of off-the-field hilarious college pranks?

Oh no.

Ryan: Microwaving a parrot is one of the most Madison things I've ever heard. As a historian I believe it is important to preserve the past so that we can learn from it. So I will repeat. In 1999 Barry Alverez's son Chad microwaved his frat brothers pet bird to death.

A lot of questions should get asked. Questions such as, "WHY?" or, "how does a college student even come to own a parrot?" But then you realize that Chad probably has issues and you hope the Badger family made sure this never happened again. Well you'd be wildly incorrect, Big Barry had Ron Dayne prospering so Chad only did 10 days in jail. The FREE CHAD movement was strong in anticipation of the 1999 Rose Bowl.

Harrison: Ryan, do you remember that time in college (Yale M.B.A. ‘69 (Nice)) when we stole that keg from that lame party and brought it to a different, better party? I thought that was a prank, but holy moly was I wrong--roasting an exotic bird on the popcorn setting takes it to whole ‘nother level. Apparently, Chad did this because he was also getting roasted in an email chain, which sounds like an antiquated form of cyberbullying that's due for a comeback, in my opinion.

Now, Ron Dayne, he really kicked off the long-standing legacy of Wisconsin running backs having really good NFL careers, correct?

Ryan: Having failed to win a national championship the next step for any great Badger is to quickly flame out. And it's not just players who fail to prosper after leaving Madison, look at those coaches, Gary Andersen and Bert Bielema. Fun fact Big Boy Bielema has the highest winning percentage of any Badgers coach ever!

The Holy Trinity.

Harrison: Bret Bielema and Gary Andersen: one is literally the size of a dairy cow and the other's beverage of choice is a glass of warm milk. Fitting. You got a score prediction for this Saturday? I'm going Gophers 24 Wisconsin 10. I'd give Bucky more points but I'm keeping in mind Paul Chryst's new strategy of not running the football for some reason.

Ryan: The largest margin of victory was the first game these two teams played against each other in 1890 when the Gophers won 63-0. I'd like to say Minnesota wins by even more, but I'll be realistic and compare this game to the 2003 edition when grinnin' Glen Mason beat Barry ‘da god' Alvarez 37-34, only there won't be that much offense here in 2015. 17-7.