University of Wisconsin–Madison

Rose Bowl Badgers 101

By Käri Knutson

In case you haven’t been aboard the Badger bandwagon this football season, now is a great time to hop on. Here’s a helping informational hand.

What’s the big deal about the Rose Bowl?

Well, it started in 1902 and is the oldest bowl game, earning itself the title of “The Granddaddy of Them All.” It traditionally features top teams from the Pac-12 and Big Ten. (The UW is in the Big Ten, but there are 14 teams in the conference. Confusing, I know.) An estimated 18 million people will be watching the game, with more than 91,000 in attendance.

Where is the Rose Bowl?

The game is played in the titular Rose Bowl stadium, located in Pasadena, California, which is about 11 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. The stadium is the 15th largest in the world, and boasts a capacity of 92,542. It served as the track cycling venue for the 1932 Olympic Games, and hosted FIFA World Cup matches in 1994 and FIFA Women’s World Cup matches in 1999.

How many times have we Rose Bowled?

This is our 10th trip. Our Rose Bowl record is 3-6. It took three tries before we got our first victory in 1994, followed by wins in 1999 and 2000. The UW has lost in its last three trips to Pasadena, to TCU in 2011, Oregon in 2012, and Stanford in 2013.

How did we get there?

The Badgers finished first in the Big Ten Conference West Division by virtue of a win in the last week of the regular season versus the rival University of Minnesota Gophers. (Welcome home, Paul Bunyan’s Axe!) Though they lost in the Big Ten Football Championship Game against Ohio State, the Rose Bowl committee selected the Badgers to face the University of Oregon Ducks.

I guess this means we’ve had a good season?

Yes. A great season with a record of 10-3. While we lost the last game of the season, we put up a valiant offense the first half and led at halftime. The second half was tough. Ohio State cemented their undefeated season with a record of 13-0, and will be playing in the 2019 College Football Playoff semifinals on Dec. 28.

Wait. Who are we playing?

The Oregon Ducks. (No, really. That’s what they’re called.) It’s a rematch of 2012 when we lost 45-38. We haven’t won a Rose Bowl game since 2000. Watch out, Ducks. We’re due.