UW might play Oct. 1 game vs. Nebraska under the lights
MADISON When Big Ten Conference officials compiled the 2011 football schedule to include Nebraska, the Big Ten’s 12th member, the honor of facing the Cornhuskers in their first game in the league was given to Wisconsin.
The matchup was set for Oct. 1 at Camp Randall Stadium.
It was anticipated the Big Ten would do what it could to promote the historic meeting, and on Monday UW coach Bret Bielema noted the game could be played at night.
“There has been talk about it,” Bielema said. “Nothing has been confirmed. If I’m a person who watches Big Ten football, I know that is a pretty big game.
“I think if we’re doing things right and Nebraska continues to (win), it will be a showcase game.”
UW opens the season with a night game, Sept. 1 against visiting Nevada-Las Vegas. Kickoff time is to be determined. The Badgers then host Oregon State on Sept. 10, play Northern Illinois on Sept. 17 at Soldier Field in Chicago and then host South Dakota on Sept. 24.
Nebraska opens Sept. 3 against visiting Tennessee-Chattanooga, hosts Fresno State on Sept. 10, hosts Washington on Sept. 17 and then plays at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 24 at Wyoming before traveling to Madison.
Since 1998, UW is 8-2 in home night games. UW has won 26 of its last 29 night games.
UW played two night games last season. The Badgers opened the season Sept. 4 with a 41-21 victory at UNLV and beat then-No. 1 Ohio State, 31-18, on Oct. 16 in Madison.
Spring game changes
The annual spring game, set for 1 p.m. Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium, will feature one dramatic change.
According to Bielema, the No. 1 offense and No. 1 defense will face each other, along with the No. 2 offense and No. 2 defense. In past years, the No. 1 offense faced the No. 2 defense and the No. 2 offense went against the No. 1 defense.
“I think (this) will give a true assessment of where we are at,” he said. “We’ll let guys compete and I think it will be a cleaner game.”
UW had held three extended scrimmages this spring and the No. 1 units have been paired against each other, followed by the No. 2 units.
Tight end Jacob Pedersen suffered a sprained right ankle during the scrimmage Saturday and is expected to miss the spring game.
UW officials for the first time are charging fans to attend the game. Tickets are $5, with all proceeds going to the UW School of Nursing.
“I’m expecting the crowd to be hopefully as good as it’s been in the past,” Bielema said, noting 4,000 tickets have been sold so far. “That’s been anywhere from 12,000 to 20,000.”
“Obviously, the reason we did it was to help different causes. But the bottom line is I’d like to see our guys have some type of crowd there.”