It has been said in the comments this week that Wisconsin might be the most difficult team to hate. In many ways, I would agree. They have generally congenial fans, a fun-loving team, a workmanlike and blue collar attitude, and it's not like they have a Brosome coach anymore. No, they're just a pretty good group who drink beer and eat cheese. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Furthermore, you can't just hate a team for beating you because eventually you'll hate everyone -- although I would still be waiting on reasons to hate Michigan State -- and really, where's the fun in that? No, to truly hate a team, you need to have that visceral feelings of disgust and disdain that makes you think horrible thoughts of disfiguring their mascot and throwing the bloody carcass into a burning pile of rubbish where it will melt fur and flesh into a wholly awful mess. That is hate. Disliking someone for a beatdown is just sour grapes. Let me be very clear, this hate is not sour grapes.
No, this cuts a bit deeper. See, if there is one person I hate in this world, it's the guy who talks about every times he 'scores'. Let's all be honest, these things are not created equal, and yet every morning this guy likes to remind you he's getting some. "Bro, last night I met this chick [sidenote: if you ever start a sentence like that, you deserve a swift punch to the junk. No questions asked.] and she ended up in my apartment. High five for me. I scored again." Mind you, last night he went to the same terrible bar he has always gone to, met the same crowd he always meets, got lucky that the slightly more attractive girl had a bad day and figured there would be no commitment, and now this masturbatory memory will be nothing more than another useless notch on his ever-growing belt of sad moments pointing to an unfulfilled life going nowhere. Kind of like the time Wisconsin scored again.
The Rose Bowl
One of the more endearing defenses by Badger fans is this ridiculous streak of Rose Bowls that Broliema helped Wisconsin get on the past few years. Look, I'm not going to hate you for going to the Rose Bowl, that would be Michigan State's job. No, I hate you for actually touting that absurd line of thought. Patting yourself on the back for consecutive losses in a bowl game that was not the National Championship game is about as useful as reminding your friend about that one time in high school that a cheerleader let you go all the way. Only she wasn't a cheerleader - she did have a nice personality though, you didn't go all the way - you got a little excited and made a mess in her moms car, and your friends all know the truth but don't want to burst your bubble. I mean come on, nobody cares who lost the Rose Bowl. Nobody. But hey, congratulations on a three year streak of appearances Wisconsin!
/Wisconsin scores again
Tradition and Barry Alvarez
This is another point of contention for me. I hate that Wisconsin tried so hard to be Nebraska but always came up just a little bit short. Let me explain:
Bob Devaney coaching tree? Check. But the other part was more successful.
History of in-state walk-ons? Check. But Nebraska's walk on program became a mythos as part of a national championship run that would be told over and over again on national TV.
Success with running the ball due to huge OL? Check, and while Wisconsin really has done well with this, let's be honest. Wisconsin's run game now pales in comparison to the Nebraska run game it is modeled after.
White helmets with school initial in red? Check. Solid Reds with White Stripes and Solid Whites with Red Stripes? Check. Simple white pants with red stripes? Check. And yet, who is considered to be more iconic?
There will be some Wisconsin fans who will think these similarities are all some nice coincidence, but that would be false. To quote the great Barry Alvarez, "A lot of my philosophy was based upon the foundation I had starting at Nebraska." So if you're keeping track at home, he built everything at Wisconsin based on Nebraska, but had less success and is now the resident loudmouth who we all laugh at - not with - despite his inflated sense of self. He may have copied Nebraska, but the results haven't been quite the same.
It's like that guy at the bar who constantly asks who he should go hit on, copies the dance moves from the bros in the middle of the dance floor, and ends up taking home the weird friend who decided it had been kind of a dry spell. Sure, he might brag about the outcome - bros always do - but when you don't come up with your own identity, things end up a lot different than the guy who knows what he's doing. So enjoy those traditions Wisconsin. Some people innovate, some people copy, and Wisconsin jumps around a lot.
/Wisconsin scores again
Slightly Off Topic
The Wisconsin Dells suck. It's like you took Branson, Missouri, moved it to an even more insufferable location, added indoor water parks -- because obviously -- and put up signs that said, "WE ARE A GIGANTIC WASTE OF TIME, SPACE, MONEY, AND NATURAL BEAUTY! YOU WILL HATE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS TOWN." I might argue that I hate the state of Wisconsin solely on the Dells. It's an abomination and the simple fact that I actually think I rate Branson, MO as the lesser of the two evils that I may or may not have had to endure on family vacations as a child of a Midwest family makes me cringe. The only analogue I have to keep my meme going right now would be that guy who still talks smack about some 'conquest' he had but it was actually with an ugly goat. That's what the Dells feel like to me. Congratulations Wisconsin, you are claiming the Dells which is like a man doing unmentionable things with an ugly goat and bragging about it.
/Wisconsin kind of scores again but really, we're concerned and think he needs to go see someone about his issues
Your Obvious Climax
This is where I'm going to leave things Wisconsin. Look, I hate that you worked Nebraska over last year in the B1G CCG. While there have been more heartbreaking, brutal, ugly losses than that, I was annoyed that it was coming at the hands of such an obvious fraud of a powerhouse team. We can keep pretending that you are something other than a almost-been, but the reality is a lot of regular season wins over those who are not Ohio State and Michigan are meaningless when the best piece of hardware you have is a Rose Bowl trophy from 1999, a year you lost to Cincinnati -- which almost sounds cool until you realize Cincy won three games that season.
And isn't that just it? I run into a decent amount of good-natured Wisconsin fans all the time. They talk about how excited they are to be considered a football powerhouse. They talk about how respectful I should be that Barry Alvarez likes Nebraska -- because he copied us, remember -- and how awesome it is to be a fan of such a legit team. They like to rib me about the B1G CCG because they think it's awesome how they made it to the Rose Bowl for the third time and despite not winning, they have definitely arrived. But arriving to the Badgers, just like the Wisconsin students to the home games, is kind of a nebulous notion. Arriving usually means you have national respect, but the only national respect the Badgers have is from the B1G offices. And really, why should anyone give them respect? The highest they have finished in the AP poll is 2nd and that was in the 60s. They've basically been a ball of moderate success ever since. Hooray?
Do you know what should be even scarier for Badger fans? There is an extremely good chance that you are living in your heyday and that climax you had? The one with multiple Rose Bowls, some conference championships, and no national respect? Yeah, that was probably as good as its going to get. And you know what? I'm totally fine with that. Because while Nebraska hasn't had the 'success' that you have had recently, we still know what we're striving for. We have been there before by creating our own identity and not settling for meaningless wins. When National Sportswriters think of traditional powerhouses, Nebraska is still in the conversation. And when I think of something funny to write as a meme to remind people of how awesome we are, I write FIVE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS. Sadly, do you know what you write?
/Wisconsin scores again