Holy Cow, it's nearly game week, and I still have a whole set of preseason Q&A's with our upcoming Big Ten conference opponents! Normally during the offseason we only post on the weekend if there's breaking news. It's time to end that because, well, it's time for college football season to start. It's time to get back in weekend game shape.
The Wisconsin Badgers start us off. For this I contacted Andy Coppens of Madtown Badgers, and Andrew Rosin of the SB Nation Wisconsin site Bucky's 5th Quarter. I met Andy on my trip to Madison last season, and we shared a fair number of beers, had a good time even though Nebraska got destroyed. Andrew is new to SB Nation, just now taking over for Adam Hoge, who previously ran the Bucky's site.
Name one thing you learned about Nebraska or its fans that stood out last season.
Andy: I learned they are loud and proud and will let you know about it. No seriously, they travel WELL! I had a blast getting to know the fans of the Huskers I met, they were all pretty nice people and I'm always a fan of a team that hates the Hawkeyes. :) Oh, and they also have an amazing obsession with people sporting dead Badgers on their heads. [JJ - seriously, man, who wears dead animals on their head in this day and age?]
Andrew: Cornhusker fans are always nice. It's like the old joke goes. That's why they call it the Heartland. But absolutely. And seeing as we're going to share common rivals. We can always be personable. Unless we cross paths in the title game.
Now that Nebraska's honeymoon season is over, is there anything you'd like to say to Husker fans before the 2012 season starts?
Andy: Life in the Big Ten isn't as easy as you thought huh? At least you are wising up and trying to recruit talent from the state of Wisconsin, lol. I hope you find the Big Ten more to your liking in terms of the other fanbases and teams, to me it's about as natural a fit as Penn State was.
We'd also love to know where good places to tailgate and enjoy a few libations would be in Lincoln?
Andrew: Regarding that home loss to Northwestern? BTB. And I agree with Mister Coppens regarding a night in Lincoln. We need some places to go.
Which sucks more, Nebraska's alternate uniforms or yours?
Andy: Easily Nebraska's. Not being a homer here, but at least our uniforms have a bit of actual history behind them in terms of the block W on the helmets. I get the whole "blackshirts" thing, but not a fan of how they changed your red and used a flat black at all.
Andrew: Nebraska's are definitely worse than Wisconsin's. Throwback uniforms are ugly in general, but the Badgers uniforms don't offend the eyes. But yours could be worse. I mean, look at Notre Dame's. Any uniform looks better than those Japanese RPG rejects.
Have you ever heard of a good beer from Nebraska? Is there any food that Nebraska offers that you don't have in Wisconsin that intrigues you?
Andy: Food wise... um.... um.... Nothing I can really think of (Other than some of the best corn in the world, it really makes a difference when it's fresh like you can get it in Nebraska or Iowa). Beer wise I've had Granite City beers before (I did attend Iowa State, so a trip to Omaha wasn't that difficult to make) and I'm a fan of the Nebraska Brewing Co. in general, they do it up right there.
Andrew: I have to say no. I haven't been to Granite City. I don't have a Leinenkugel's bias. Just I'm not superbly beer literate. Now that being said? I enjoy a good steak. And Nebraska's a place where a man can get 16 ounces of bliss. The corn is optional.
Question about football: How's it feel to be given your division's title before the season actually starts? (Is there any way possible for Wisconsin to not win it?)
Andy: It felt nice to book our hotel rooms early so we could get a cheaper rate, that's for sure. But, nothing is handed to you and we've got to go out and take care of business against the Purdue's and Illinois' in our division before we can really talk Big Ten Championship. It's all about 1-0 at Wisconsin.
Andrew: It's definitely one of those years where week to week the Badgers aren't in a high stakes scenario. Not to be so cute as to say they've got it on lock. Illinois is a team with a lot of physical talent, especially in their front seven, and after a tough road game against Nebraska, a team that gets the benefit of a post Zook bounce? Is more dangerous than you think.
But clearly, this is a team that has the rough equivalent of having a pair over pair against the the rest of the league for the title this year. Not a guarantee, but like Andy said, you're feeling comfortable enough to hit the hotel sites for an early December in Indianapolis.
Pre-season game prediction, what do you think happens this year in Lincoln?
Andy: I think Wisconsin pulls out a win, but it'll be much closer than last year. The main reason is it's in Lincoln. I'm just worried they won't be able to see those Nebraska helmets and you may pick off a ball or two that shouldn't have been thrown to keep it close. I'll say 31-23 Wisconsin.
Thanks for the opportunity and look forward to a fun game in Lincoln this season.
Andrew: I also am feeling confident in the Badgers chances. Sure, the Cornhuskers are going to be the first defensive line that the Badgers have that's not exactly going to be polite about letting Montee Ball find open spaces. But the Badgers aren't exactly going to be genteel with Burkhead either. And if it comes down to the passing game? I'll trust the mercenary. It'll be a little more fun than last season. But the Badgers get out of Lincoln with a win. 31-17.