How did the Huskers and Badgers become a thing so soon? These are some pretty good reasons.
The series history isn't very long. Wisconsin holds a 5-4 lead in the series. Since joining the Big Ten Conference, Wisconsin has dominated Nebraska. In 2011 Nebraska lost its first ever Big Ten game 48-17 in Madison. Russell Wilson torched the defense and Nebraska had Taylor Martinez had 3 interceptions. In 2012 Nebraska beat Wisconsin 30-27 in Lincoln. Nebraska came back from a 17 point deficit and defeated the Badgers. But in the Big Ten Championship game, Wisconsin ran the ball for 539 yards and killed Nebraska 70-31. And of course last season, in 2014 Wisconsin won 59-24. Melvin Gordon ran for 408 yards on the Blackshirt defense. Needless to say, Wisconsin owns Nebraska in the series so far.
Nebraska and Wisconsin fans really don't like each other. Since joining the Big Ten, Nebraska has needed to find a true rivalry. Everyone thought it would be Iowa, but the series hasn't meant anything since joining the conference. Nebraska fans want Wisconsin as their main rival. Wisconsin fans are a lot like Colorado fans, mean and nasty. In 2011 Nebraska fans told stories of how poorly they were treated in Madison. Wisconsin can be the new 'Nebraska-Colorado rivalry'. The game in Lincoln on Saturday should be a hostile crowd. Husker fans will be upset from the beatdowns the Badgers have handed Nebraska in the past. They will also want to take that Illinois loss out of their mind. The crowd should be very hostile come game time. I think it will be almost like the 2014 Miami game, hatred from Nebraska fans. The student section will be hostile too.
The Freedom Trophy
Yes fans hate the trophy. A lot of Nebraska fans don't like that every Big Ten West team plays for some sort of 'rivalry trophy'. Nebraska also plays for the Heroes Trophy with Iowa on Black Friday every season. And they play for the "$5 Bits of Broken Chair Trophy" with Minnesota. But I think players will really enjoy playing for this trophy. The Nebraska and Wisconsin traditions are almost identical. Same colors, same idea of the power run game. Hell, even Barry Alvarez adds some fuel to the fire. I think the trophy itself is pretty cool too. With Camp Randall Stadium and Memorial Stadium on the top, it has a neat look to it. I think as the series continue, it really will be a fierce rivalry.
But in order for it to be real, Nebraska needs to win some games. Nebraska needs to make Wisconsin hate them. This starts on October 10, 2015. Go beat the Badgers and take that trophy from Wisconsin.