Since Nebraska joined the Big Ten in 2011, the Cornhuskers have played Wisconsin five times.
In four of those games, at least one of the teams was ranked and Saturday will be the second time both squads are in the Top 10. The Big Ten West runs through Saturday’s 7 p.m. kick in Madison.
This, among other reasons, has led ESPN’s Jesse Temple to say the Husker-Badger meeting is turning into a new college football rivalry.
In his column, Temple reels off the reasons that the annual meeting between the teams means more than just a Big Ten matchup.
Both schools are the only FBS school in the state and both have over 50 in-state players on their roster.
Wisconsin Athletic Director and former coach of the Badgers Barry Alvarez played linebacker at Nebraska and took a lot from the team when he went to coach in Madison.
Temple says current Badger coach Paul Chryst got his first coaching job under Husker coach Mike Riley in the World League of American Football in 1991. They also worked with each other at Oregon State and with the San Diego Chargers.
Temple also says the first conference meetings between the two teams came in primetime in 2011 with College Gameday in town.
The writer noted that the Badgers have won four of the five games including the last three with important moments in each and they also now play for the Freedom Trophy, invented in 2014.
“Saturday has all the makings to add to the list of memorable games between the teams,” Temple writes. “And although Nebraska-Wisconsin can’t match the historical significance of other games, the appeal will grow over time, particularly if the teams maintain national relevance.”
At the end, he added that something good has come from conference re-alignment.
“A new-age rivalry with an old-school feel that is worth watching every year,” he wrote.