Doubling back to profile our draft picks in the SB Nation Conference Re-Draft ...
School: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Colors: Cardinal and White
Mascot: Bucky Badger (Buckingham U. Badger)
Location: Madison, WI
Varsity Sports: 23
Football Stadium: Camp Randall Stadium (cap. 80,321)
Basketball Arena: Kohl Center (cap. 17,230 basketball)
SBN Blog: Bucky's 5th Quarter
On to the vitals:
TV Revenue Potential. With 42,099 students enrolled at UW, Wisconsin is one of the fifteen largest public universities in the country. Nearby Milwaukee is a top 35 TV market, while there are more than a few Wisconsin alum that settle in nearby Chicago, the third largest TV market in the country. The Chicago chapter of the Wisconsin Alumni Association is the largest contingent of alum outside of Wisconsin with over 20,000 alumni residing in Chicagoland.
At 80,321 seats, Camp Randall is the 18th largest stadium in Division I-A. Combined with Clemson, that's five Twelve Pack stadiums that seat 80k+. Wisconsin also ranked fifth in total revenues in 2007-08. The Twelve Pack was able to nab the Badgers with the 24th overall pick. Value pick!
Academics. Along with Texas, Wisconsin is one of the highest ranked public universities in the country. We good.
Co-eds. Wisconsin is more than holding their own with the "Girls of the Big Ten."
Weather/Desirability of Destination. While I haven't visited Madison on game day, I did get a chance to attend the Camp Randall Hockey Classic outdoor hockey game between Wisconsin and Michigan. Easily one of my favorite college hockey experiences. Madison is one hell of a college town.
Historic Success. Wisconsin ranks 35th in Division I-A all-time wins (tied with BC, oddly enough). The Badgers also boast a strong hoops program and National Championship-calibre men and women's ice hockey.
Finally, to get readers a bit more familiar with the pick, we asked Adam Hoge of Bucky's 5th Quarter six questions on the Wisconsin Badgers:
Commissioner: Tell us more about your football and basketball program, in 300 words or less (grad school essay style).
Bucky's 5th Quarter: If you were to ask me to describe how Badgers fans feel about their football and basketball programs in just one word, my answer would be "under-appreciated". Most people have no idea that Wisconsin is the only school in the country to make a bowl game and the NCAA tournament in every season since the 2002-03 academic year. The next closest schools aren't even in the same galaxy as Michigan State and BYU have a streak of four years. Granted, the Badgers lack the Final Fours and National Championship Game appearances to make them elite, but there are few schools that boast the consistent success Wisconsin has in both football and basketball over the last decade. Quite frankly, that makes Wisconsin a steal as the last pick in the fourth round.
Bret Bielema is currently taking what Barry Alvarez started to the next level. Alvarez took a football program that was historically dormant and turned the Badgers into three-time Rose Bowl champions. But while he was able to develop an in-state pipeline of talented linemen and running backs, Alvarez never made Wisconsin a place attractive to four- and five-star recruits from across the country. Bielema, meanwhile, with his youthful energy and ability to relate to players, is starting to do that. The recent transfer of Russell Wilson and the verbal commitments of four four-star recruits on the heels of a Rose Bowl appearance is evidence of that.
As for basketball, Bo Ryan's program is a model of consistency. Always doubted and rarely respected, the Badgers have never finished worse than fourth place in the Big Ten under Bo Ryan and have won three Big Ten titles and two Big Ten Tournaments under his leadership. Still, winning in the NCAA Tournament has been a problem as Ryan only has one Elite Eight appearance to show for it.
Commish: What is your school's best non-revenue sport? What is that program's defining moment / crowning achievement?
B5Q: Well the obvious answer here would be hockey, but because they lead the country in attendance every year and sell out the Kohl Center a lot, the hockey team actually turns a profit. Thus, we'll have to go with the women's hockey team, which has won four National Championships in the last six years.
Commish: What excites you most about joining this conference?
B5Q: I'm excited about the competition. I've heard a million times that Austin, Texas is the Madison of the south and the Longhorns seem like a natural rival. In fact, the basketball teams just played a competitive home-and-home basketball series a few years back. Georgia seems like a comparable opponent from the SEC and the other schools appear comparable to other teams Wisconsin currently plays in the Big Ten.
Commish: If you are in Madison for a football game, what's the #1 local spot -- bar, restaurant, attraction -- you have to visit before you leave?
B5Q: Well, if you are there for a football game, I would tell you to spend your pre-game on Regent Street by the stadium and your post-game on State Street at night.
Commish: Which conference road trip are you most looking forward to and why?
B5Q: Texas, for all the reasons above.
Commish: Last one. If you could pick one rap song that captures what this conference is all about, what is it?
B5Q: Stronger by Kanye West.