Wisconsin football is in the midst of a season many would like to forget. At the least, the hope is 2023 is viewed as an anomaly in Luke Fickell’s tenure as head coach. Win in the immediate future, and many will quickly forget the past.
We’ll deal with the Minnesota contest as the days pass — hopefully having it not decide whether or not Wisconsin’s 22-year bowl streak is extended.
Up now is Nebraska. It is a game Wisconsin cannot lose for one simple reason: the long and storied history of the Freedom Trophy is at stake, and the Cornhuskers have never held it.
(Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)
The trophy was introduced in 2014 as the two schools tried to manufacture a rivalry. Since that point, Wisconsin has defeated Nebraska in every season except 2020. That streak can’t end this year.
The two programs are actually in interestingly-similar positions. Wisconsin just hired Luke Fickell to attempt to compete with the ‘big boys’ in college football, while Nebraska hired Matt Rhule to try to resurrect the program.
Given two opposite sets of expectations entering the year, it’s hard to not say Rhule has had a more successful season.
That aside, Saturday could be a rebirth of a rivalry that has never existed. It’s necessary Fickell does not let that happen, so Wisconsin can be bowl eligible yet again and we can continue to make fun of a meaningless trophy.