Monday, January 2, 2012

Stubs: 1999 Wisconsin Football

With the Rose Bowl kickoff only a couple of hours away, I thought it would be a good idea to revisit the last season the Badgers won that particular game. Prior to last season's tough loss to TCU, Wisconsin's last appearance the Grandaddy of Them All was January 1, 2000. I was still a student at UW at the time, and the 1999 season was one full of glory. The Big Ten Network recently rebroadcasted the 2000 Rose Bowl against Stanford, which I recorded and will probably watch once I finish this post. The tickets this season were a beautiful rainbow assortment. Let's take a closer look at each one.

September 4: Badgers 49 - Murray State 10
Hall of Fame Day
Head Coach Barry Alvarez adorns this ticket. You can't say enough about the guy who turned the football program around.


September 11: Wisconsin 50 - Ball State 10
Band Day

We are as guilty as anyone for scheduling cupcakes for pre-Big Ten games. The band is great, but I don't understand the need for this particular character with his high steps and baton.


September 25: Michigan 21 - Wisconsin 16
Parents' Day

If you look closely, you'll notice how much closer this seat was than all the rest. For once, my group of friends actually thought to plan ahead. Someone collected our vouchers earlier in the week and then camped out at the ticket office to acquire premier seating. Row 6 was actually the first row, right behind one of those tarp covered sections in the first few rows at Camp Randall. My most vivid memory from that game was of Chris Chambers dropping a sure TD pass in the end zone right in front of us. Apparently Tom Brady was knocked out of this game and had to be replaced by Drew Henson. Following the loss at Cincinnati the week before, the chances of a return trip to the Rose Bowl looked bleak.
The player featured on the ticket is punter Kevin Stemke from Green Bay. And as for Parents' Day, I'm not sure what that means. Players' parents should come and visit? Students' parents? Was this the only day they were allowed to come?


October 16: Wisconsin 59 - Indiana 0
Homecoming

I distinctly remember sweating out the end of this game. Not the outcome, of course, but the just-out-of-reach end of the game itself. As it turned out, I had scheduled a bus trip home to Milwaukee a reasonable amount of time after the game would have ended. Wisconsin, however, kept scoring points, thereby pushing the end of the game farther and farther into the future. I may have even left early. In any case, I got out of Camp Randall as quickly as possible, grabbed my stuff from my apartment, and was able to make it to the Badger Bus depot on time.
As you can plainly see, Ron Dayne is pictured on this ticket. During my time in Madison, I crossed paths with Dayne just once. It was an early weekend morning and I was on my way to the library, walking alone. On the way there, who do I see walking in my direction with a backpack and letterman's jacket but Ron Dayne! As we neared each other I said hi. Dayne politely smiled and said hi back. For all of his talent, he remained such a humble player, a real hand-the-ball-to-the-ref-after-a-touchdown type of guy. I'm happy that our single brief encounter confirmed this view of him.


October 23: Wisconsin 40 - Michigan St. 10
Badger Blast

At this game, this happened.

After yet another Wisconsin touchdown, Bucky Badger decided to pull an innocent mascot prank by sneaking over to the MSU sideline and stealing their flag. A roided-up Michigan State male cheerleader took offense to this and decided the best way to handle the theft was by laying out Bucky. What the video fails to show is the aftermath of this idiotic act, but fans in attendance will surely remember seeing the male cheerleader being escorted from the stadium by university police.


November 13: Wisconsin 41 - Iowa 3
W Club Day

It all came down to this. Between the loss against Michigan and today, the Badgers had recorded four conference road victories, three of them against opponents ranked at the time (#12 Ohio St., #25 Minnesota, and #17 Purdue), putting the team in position to clinch another Rose Bowl berth. What happened that day is best summed up in a list.
*Big Ten Championship
*Rose Bowl Invitation Accepted
*Ron Dayne Becomes All-Time NCAA Rushing Leader (A record which still stands today)
*Ron Dayne Name/Number Revealed on Camp Randall Facade

That was was a great one to be a student in Madison. We got to celebrate a second consecutive Rose Bowl win (this time against a team other than UCLA), and little did we know that a magical run to the 2000 Final Four was a few months away. Let's hope another victorious chapter is written today.

GO BADGERS!!!

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