General

Alvarez’s Wisconsin Remains Blueprint For Illini

MBRSaturday’s column from CBS Chicago

(CBS) There was a time when Wisconsin football was Illinois football.

In fact, it was even worse.

Heading into the 1990 season, the Badgers hadn’t posted a winning record since 1984, and had won a total of just seven Big Ten games over the previous five years. Back during the 1980s, going to football games in Madison wasn’t even about football. It was about tailgating.

But then new head coach Barry Alvarez set out to change all that.

And he did.

Come 1993, the Badgers steamrolled the Big Ten, compiling a 10-1-1 record and making the school’s first Rose Bowl appearance in 30 years. Then out in Pasadena, Wisconsin beat UCLA 21-16 that was just the program’s second bowl victory in its history, but it set the stage for many more.

After that breakthrough season, Alvarez went on to win or sharetwo more Big Ten titles and capture another pair of Rose Bowl crowns, racking up a career record of 118-73-4 over 16 seasons and turning Wisconsin into a new pillar of the Big Ten along the way.

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