Follow along for regular updates throughout the first day of competition at the 2013 Big Ten Indoor Track & Field Championships, live from the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio. Brian Mason of UW Athletic Communications will offer updates during both days of competition while also taking your comments and questions.
The Badgers put in their penultimate practice for the Rose Bowl on Sunday, but not before being energized by thousands of fans who have descended on Los Angeles for the game.
Prior to heading back to The Home Depot Center for drills, the team made an appearance at LA Live for a special Rose Bowl Pep Rally. Around 3,000 UW fans showed up for the event, which included a performance from the UW Marching Band and remarks from special guests like UW-Madison Chancellor David Ward and Badgers legend Ron Dayne.
The biggest cheer, however, came when the team emerged from the Staples Center onto a balcony overlooking the plaza at LA Live, tossing T-shirts and autographed footballs into the crowd. Following some words from interim head coach Barry Alvarez, defensive captains Chris Borland, Shelton Johnson and Mike Taylor spoke to the fans, as did Travis Frederick, Curt Phillips, and finally, Montee Ball.
For Alvarez, the event followed one last media availability leading up to game day, a morning press conference for both head coaches at the Rose Bowl media hotel in downtown L.A.
Monday's schedule has the Badgers heading to Pasadena to take a team photo outside the Rose Bowl, followed by one final practice session and a screening of the movie "Jack Reacher."
A rainy morning in Los Angeles made it an easy decision for the Wisconsin coaching staff to call of practice for the day, but the inclement weather brought with it a silver lining.
The Badgers called an audible and held a walk-through at the team hotel instead of busing to The Home Depot Center for what was scheduled to be a quick 12-period practice. Interim head coach Barry Alvarez told the team that the staff's focus for Saturday was aimed at mental preparation anyway, so the hotel walk-through fit in well with the schedule.
After the offensive and defensive units finished their walk-throughs in adjacent ballrooms at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, the Badgers had the opportunity to host guests from AbilityFirst, an L.A.-area charity aimed at "expanding possibilities" for children and adults with special needs.
The group had originally planned to join the team on the practice field, but the change in venue brought an opportunity for the Badgers to bring their guests into the players' game room and lounge at the hotel.
No one from either side was complaining when a pool table, ping pong and video games were thrown into the mix, as evidenced by junior LB Chris Borland's tweet:
The Badgers' walk-through and time with the guests from AbilityFirst came after the entire squad bused to The L.A. Hotel Downtown for the Rose Bowl's annual media day. Players and coaches spent 30 minutes being interviewed, including some who took time to join an onsite crew from BTN captained by Rick Pizzo, Glen Mason and fromer Badger Brandon Williams.
From takeoff in Madison to touchdown in Los Angeles and beyond, the latest episode of UWBadgers.com's video series "Path to Pasadena" takes you behind the scenes of the Badgers' preparations for the Rose Bowl.
If nothing else, it's worth watching Beau Allen go from searching Disneyland for princesses to telling Darth Vader he's making the switch to the Dark Side.
For many of Wisconsin's players, the highlight of the week leading up to the Rose Bowl came Friday as the Badgers descended on Lawry's The Prime Rib in Beverly Hills for the annual Lawry's Beef Bowl.
A part of the Rose Bowl since 1957, the event gives both participating teams in The Granddaddy of Them All to have one grand meal.
Over the years, the Beef Bowl has also developed into an unofficial competition between the Rose Bowl opponents. Last year, the Badgers consumed 723 pounds of prime rib to easily defeat Oregon and its total of 612 pounds.
Travis Frederick led the way by putting away what is believed to be a record eight servings of prime rib. That came on the heels of his seven servings in 2011.
Frederick's mark was in danger of falling on Friday once sophomore OL Dallas Lewallen picked up his fork and knife. However, Lewallen's night came to an end after he finished seven servings to match the effort of Stanford freshman OL Joshua Garnett from the Cardinal's appearance at Lawry's on Thursday.
"They couldn't bring the meat out fast enough," said Lewallen, who simply ran out of time to eat before he was forced to return to the team buses in order to make the trip back to the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza.
Frederick still managed to take center stage, however, getting the honor of being the "salad spinner" and applying Lawry's signature dressing to the first bowl of salad.
Not to be outdone, junior DT Beau Allen -- considered by many of his teammates to be a challenger to Frederick's throne going into the event -- drew the duty of making the ceremonial "first cut" of prime rib. Wearing a chef's coat and hat, Allen served the first cut to Badgers interim head coach Barry Alvarez.
Preparations continue on practice field The Badgers' day began with LB Chris Borland, DT Ethan Hemer, S Shelton Johnson, CB Devin Smith and LB Mike Taylor accompanying defensive coordinator Chris Ash and co-defensive coordinator Charlie Partridge to a morning media session at The L.A. Hotel Downtown.
After position and special teams meetings, the Badgers returned to the practice field at The Home Depot center and worked for 16 periods. The practice again featured live contact in short scrimmages between the offensive and defensive units.
New head coach Gary Andersen, who takes the helm at UW following the Rose Bowl, was a guest on the sideline for the practice session after arriving from Logan, Utah. His arrival into L.A. came a day later than planned due to winter weather that grounded air travel out of Utah on Thursday.
Andersen met with members of the media following practice and said he hopes to announce the bulk of his coaching staff over the next few days.
Saturday morning is Rose Bowl media day, with the entire Badgers roster set to head to the media hotel downtown for availability with members of the local and national media.
The fun and games of Wednesday's trip to Disneyland behind them, the Badgers got back to work on Thursday by returning to the practice field at The Home Depot Center.
After being relegated to an artificial surface on Wednesday due to wet field conditions, UW drilled for 18 periods on natural grass Thursday to better simulate the turf they'll play on in the Rose Bowl.
Prior to practice, Jared Abbrederis, Montee Ball, Travis Frederick, Curt Phillips and James White accompanied offensive coordinator Matt Canada to the Rose Bowl's media hotel in downtown Los Angeles for a morning press conference.
The biggest news of the day came from Canada, who told reporters that junior QB Joel Stave will be cleared to play for the game. Canada said Stave, who has been recovering from a broken collarbone suffered vs. Michigan State on Oct. 27, will be worked into the game plan in some capacity, while Phillips will be the starting quarterback.
"There's a chance you'll see him out there at times," Canada said of Stave.
That came as news to Stave -- who had yet to be officially cleared for game action -- when reporters questioned him on the development following practice.
"I figured by the way I was practicing without any pain that I'd get cleared sooner or later," he said.
Back to the fun and games, the Badgers' last stop for the day was the Improv in Hollywood to take in a stand-up comedy act. The annual stop has become a favorite of the players over their past two trips to the Rose Bowl,
Wednesday brought the first on-site practice for the Wisconsin football team in Los Angeles, with the Badgers working through 12 periods of drills at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
Their Rose Bowl preparations done for the day, the team loaded buses and headed for Anaheim for an afternoon at Disneyland.
Seniors Montee Ball, Shelton Johnson, Curt Phillips, Mike Taylor and Rick Wagner joined interim head coach Barry Alvarez for a special introduction ceremony welcoming both the Badgers and Stanford to the "Happiest Place on Earth." The welcome event included a brief session of media interviews before the players got a VIP tour of the park.
The first stop was The Matterhorn, with Wagner drawing the unfortunate duty of cramming his 6-foot-6 frame into the front car of the Badgers' train. All five made it through the classic ride without incident and then were whisked away to the California Adventure park.
The Badgers had the chance to ride the Radiator Springs Racers ride inside the new Cars Land area of California Adventure and then posed for a group photo before heading out to experience the rides of their choice. At a minimum, Phillips planned to lead the group to the Tower of Terror and Space Mountain before they headed back to the team hotel in Century City.
A number of other players were planning to take advantage of a team meal at the ESPN Zone at Downtown Disney, adjacent to the park.
Wednesday's schedule begins with a news conference for offensive coordinator Matt Canada and selected offensive players at the Rose Bowl's media hotel in downtown L.A. The team then returns to the practice field for an 18-period session, followed by a team trip to the Improv comedy club.
All families have their holiday traditions. For the Wisconsin football family, it's become a Christmas tradition to pack up and head west for Los Angeles.
The Badgers did just that for the third-consecutive year on Tuesday, as they returned to L.A. to continue their preparations for the 99th Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1.
The team met for a conditioning session in the morning before loading buses bound for the Dane County Regional Airport. After a four-hour flight, the Badgers' Delta charter touched down at LAX just after 3 p.m. local time and the team hopped on some specially-decorated buses to head to the Rose Bowl for a first look at the stadium.
Interim head coach Barry Alvarez said he likes taking the team to the field immediately to give the players a chance soak in the setting and enjoy taking some photos so they arrive for the game on Jan. 1 focused on the task at hand.
After the brief sightseeing excursion, the Badgers settled in at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza and met briefly as a team before enjoying a less-than-traditional take on Christmas dinner -- with pizza, pasta and chicken fingers.
The work truly begins for the Badgers on Wednesday, when they take the practice field at The Home Depot Center for the first of six scheduled practices leading up to game day. Of course, it won't be all work and no play for the team, which heads to Disneyland in the afternoon.
Montee Ball, Rick Wagner, Mike Taylor, Shelton Johnson, Curt Phillips will join Alvarez for a short press conference in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle before getting a chance to ride the new attractions at Cars Land in Disney's California Adventure park. The rest of the team can roam the grounds until they meet for dinner at the ESPNZone to cap their first full day in L.A.
It's no secret that Camp Randall Stadium provides some very friendly confines for the Wisconsin football team. The Badgers are 42-3 at home since Bret Bielema took the helm in 2006.
With that in mind, it will feel good for the Badgers to return home Saturday after suffering a tough loss on the road at Nebraska last week.
Beyond the fact that UW loses so rarely at home -- the Badgers are 21-3 in Big Ten games at Camp Randall under Bielema -- history says that last week's setback won't derail Wisconsin's league title aspirations.
In the previous five seasons in which the Badgers lost their first Big Ten road game, UW went on to post a combined record of 24-7 after suffering that initial road loss.
That includes a 5-1 mark last season and a 7-0 record in 2010 after losing conference road openers at Michigan State.
Wisconsin has won 18 Big Ten games since the start of the 2010 season, tying with the Spartans for the most league wins of any conference team over that span.
In other words, don't write these Badgers off just yet.