As this is silly season for college football, albeit within sight of the start of a new season, I thought I would add a little something in the way of Wisconsin's rivalry with our No. 1 nemesis and current No. 1 foil, the University of Minnesota.
Normally, silly season is the only time we find Gerbil fans here on our board because once the season starts the fans of maroon and gold don't have much to talk about. But because a few of them simply can't behave like civilized humans (that would be you, Piper), some of our favorite buffoons are no longer allowed in Buckyville. I have to assume Roopie the Magnificent will be along some day to spout his usual illogic about the state of the Gerbil program. But in lieu of that, here's a little UW-UM tidbit to chew on.
Most of you know that Minnesota was a major power in college football before World War II. Those of you who don't know that should go find a Minnie fan who will be able to sing chapter and verse of the Gerbils' dominance in the 1930s, a time before even Ol Badger was born. Because of this, Minnesota always enjoyed a healthy advantage over our beloved Badgers when it came to head-to-head match ups. As this is a series that has been played continually since 1890 (with one brief respite thanks to T.R.), the numbers of wins and losses can get pretty significant.
And most of you also know that since the arrival of one J. Barrett Alvarez, affectionately known as the Emperor in these parts, the tide has turned in this rivalry. Significantly turned. Actually the tide turned right after World War II. Since 1946 Wisconsin holds a 37-26-3 edge over the Gerbils. Since 1990, when Barry became coach, the Badgers are 17-5. And, of course, the Badgers have won 8 in a row and Coach B has never lost to UM. Some of you who are really into statistics will know that Minnesota's edge in the series since 1890 is down to 58-55-8. Only a couple of more wins and the series is tied, right?
This is the year we get even. Not in the overall series but in the Big Ten series. That's because six of the games were played between 1890 and 1895 -- UM was 4-2 -- and the Big Ten wasn't formed for football until 1896. The record in Big Ten play is Minnesota 54 Wisconsin 53 and 8 ties. So after Jerry Kill's boys get boat-raced in Camp Randall this October, the series, at least as far as the Big Ten will be concerned, will be tied. After this year, the Badgers can start adding to the margin, take over the lead in the overall series and then maybe Gerbil fans can shut up about "Six National titles." Well, OK, that may be too much to ask but at least now you've got some historical ammo to throw back at 'em.