After a dominating win against Rutgers last weekend, the Wisconsin Badgers will welcome the Iowa Hawkeyes to Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday for the second of back-to-back home football weekends.
These Big Ten teams have met for over 100 years, beginning in 1894 with a 44-0 shutout win for the Badgers. Wisconsin leads with 49 wins to Iowa’s 45 over their storied history.
There are some strange crossovers within the programs after a century of consistent play.
One crossover between these two programs is the former head coach for Wisconsin from 2006 to 2012: Bret Bielema. He started off as the defensive coordinator under Barry Alvarez in 2005 and became Alvarez’s successor starting in the 2006 season. Bielema had great success at Wisconsin, becoming the third coach in NCAA history to win 12 games in his rookie season and being named Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2007. He continued to be successful throughout his career at Madison, but Bielema’s origins in football lay with another team: the Hawkeyes.
Bielema played as a defensive linemen at Iowa from 1989 to 1992 under Hayden Fry. He was a walk on, but he had grit that earned him a scholarship and the honor of serving team captain his senior season. Bielma was a part of the 1990 Iowa team that won part of the Big Ten Title.
Even when Bielema left Iowa, a part of his alma mater is always with him — Bielema tattooed the Iowa logo on his leg. In an interview with Yahoo Sports. Bielema revealed that he always wore high socks to hide his secret from the Badgers fanbase.
The pride that coaches, players and fans have from both of these programs is enormous. While Wisconsin has come out on top over the last few matchups, the series has been evenly matched throughout its history. Both teams come to play year after year, with many games in the last decade being decided by less than 10 points. These teams are playing for the satisfaction of respect at their schools, so everything is left on the line.
Even head coach Luke Fickell prioritizes understanding this Big Ten rivalry. Fickell calls himself a traditionalist when it comes to rivalries and knowing how important they are to a school. He believes in understanding the history and how the rivalry games have a different feel than other matchups.
The Badgers begin a new chapter in this series against the Hawkeyes at 3 p.m. on Saturday, looking to continue their undefeated streak in conference play and retain the pride of the Madison community.