INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The No. 15 Wisconsin Badgers (10-2) are preparing to play the No. 13 Michigan State Spartans (10-2) for the inaugural B1G 10 Conference Championship Game on Saturday. Michigan State has won the last two meetings, both in East Lansing, including the Hail Mary winner earlier this season.
The Badgers were two Hail Mary passes away from contending for the National Title this season. Michigan State and Ohio State beat the Badgers on back-to-back weekends to end the BCS Championship hopes for Wisconsin. However, the Badgers are not looking for revenge against MSU, they are seeking redemption for the 2011-12 season.
With a win, the Badgers would make their fourth Rose Bowl appearance since the 1999 season. It won’t come easy against the champions of the Legends Division, but Wisconsin is confident at the neutral site in Indianapolis. Sparty took full advantage earlier this season of the uncharacteristically careless penalties by Wisconsin, a blocked field goal and blocked punt, a safety, no penalties by MSU all game and then a Hail Mary pass, proving it’s better to be lucky than good.
This week, Badgers head coach Bret Bielema addressed the media for the inaugural B1G 10 Championship Game, explaining why this game is seen as redemption, rather than revenge.
“I don’t get into the revenge factor, really, at all. I understand the point,” said Bielema. “And, obviously, Michigan State beat us a year ago, but I think the key factor to last year’s thing was when we went to Iowa and beat Iowa at Iowa. They had failure. We had success. And because of the timing of it, during the year, that’s probably what led to the end result more than anything.”
The head coach went on to say, “I haven’t really heard that out of my kids. I mean, I get it why people say it, but I don’t really think that’s existed,” Bielema said. “I think our kids want to play a game where they can play a four-quarter game, and, hopefully, have success.”
Anyway you slice it, Saturday’s first-ever B1G 10 Title Game should be a great match-up with an electric atmosphere. Anybody who says the Badgers are looking for revenge against Michigan State and overlooking the title game and Rose Bowl on the horizon obviously have no clue what they are talking about. The revenge is a good story line for the casual fan, but there is going to be nothing casual about the first B1G 10 Championship Game in history on Saturday night from Indy.