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Talking about the Badgers

With its big win over Miami in Tuesday's Champs Sports Bowl, the Wisconsin football team seems to have assumed a place back on the college football radar. A 10-win team expected to return 16 of its 22 starters and both of its kickers will tend to do that.

Archived Gameday Blog: 2009 Champs Sports Bowl

Please join Brian Mason as he chronicles all the action from tonight's Champs Sports Bowl between the No. 24 Badgers and No. 14 Miami live from Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando with the Gameday Blog.

Gameday Link-a-Rama

We're just about 4 hours away from tonight's Champs Sports Bowl. The team is leaving from the hotel in about an hour, but before we go, I'll share some links from around the 'net to get you ready for the game.

Badger fans ready for Champs Sports Bowl

The Badgers have spent five days in Orlando preparing for the Champs Sports Bowl, but Monday was all about a final tune-up for the fans.

An impressive contingent of Badgers fans turned out to get set for tomorrow night's game against Miami, joining the UW Marching Band, spirit squads and head coach Bret Bielema for a spirited pep rally at the Pointe Orlando shopping center, site of the Bowl-a-Palooza FanFest.


Monday Link-a-Rama

A collection of links to the latest coverage on the Badgers' Champs Sports Bowl preparations from the far reaches of the World Wide Web.

Countdown to kickoff

Tomorrow is game day! In preparation for that, the team has the Champs Sports Bowl Kickoff Luncheon and its normal Friday walkthrough on the schedule.

Practice report #3: Final preparations

Wisconsin went through its third practice on Sunday in preparation for Tuesday night's game against Miami in the Champs Sports Bowl. The practice consisted of 12 periods, or roughly one hour, with most of the work coming against the scout teams.

Day for Kids at DisneyQuest

The Wisconsin football team took a break from football on Sunday morning to give back to the Orlando community. Wisconsin, along with players from Champs Sports Bowl opponent Miami and Capital One Bowl participants Penn State and LSU, partnered with underprivileged local youths for the Florida Citrus Sports Foundation's Day for Kids at DisneyQuest.

Sunday Link-a-Rama

Just watching former UW linebacker Jonathan Casillas make his first NFL start, but thought I'd share a collection of links to the latest coverage on the Badgers' Champs Sports Bowl preparations from the far reaches of the World Wide Web.

Giving back

This morning one of the most important bowl events is planned. Though the players all enjoy going to Universal Studios and definitely prefer the 60- and 70-degree weather to the snow back in Madison, today's Day for Kids event is something they all feel is special.

Practice Report #2: Staying focused

After dealing with rainy conditions on Friday, the Wisconsin football team returned to practice on Saturday and again was greeted by less than ideal weather. It was unseasonably cool with a temperature hovering in the mid-50s as the Badgers worked on a practice field outside of Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium.

Saturday Link-a-Rama

Heading off to practice in a little bit, but first, here's a collection of links to the latest coverage on the Badgers' Champs Sports Bowl preparations from the far reaches of the World Wide Web.

Back to work

The first two days in Orlando for the Badgers included things like trips to Universal Studios, SeaWorld and Disney World, a visit from Santa Claus and a Best Buy shopping spree. Oh yeah, the team also practiced for about two hours yesterday. Well today is all about preparing to face Miami.

Practice report #1: Getting down to business

The Badgers endured a heavy rainstorm but still got through their first practice on Christmas Day on one of the practice fields adjacent to Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando, Fla., as they prepare for the Champs Sports Bowl against Miami on Dec. 29.

Friday Link-a-Rama

A collection of links to the latest coverage on the Badgers' Champs Sports Bowl preparations from the far reaches of the World Wide Web.

Working on Christmas

And people think that Walgreen's is the only place open for business on Christmas Day. Both the Badgers and the Hurricanes will take to the practice field in rainy Orlando today in preparation for Tuesday's Champs Sports Bowl. It's supposed to rain on and off today so we'll see if that affects practice at all. But UW will get a little holiday cheer in before putting on the pads.

'I hope the rides are big enough for me'

It was a new twist on an age-old issue. While a number of children were hoping they'd be tall enough to make it past the "You must be this tall to ride" signs, several of the players among the busload of Badgers that made the trip to Universal Studios on Thursday were concerned about the size limits of theme park attractions, too.

Just in a different way.

Thursday Link-a-Rama

A collection of links to the latest coverage on the Badgers' Champs Sports Bowl preparations from the far reaches of the World Wide Web.

A day to get settled

Today is the Badgers' first full day in Orlando after arriving at the team hotel around 8 p.m. Wednesday night. The itinerary is fairly light as the team will not practice today. With a full week in Orlando, head coach Bret Bielema is treating this like a normal game week. In that scenario, Thursday=Monday, which is the players' usual off day.

Champs Sports Bowl Travelog - Arrival

The Badgers' trip to Orlando is underway after buses began pulling out of Camp Randall Stadium around 2 p.m. I'll be back with updates throughout the day of travel, so check back often.

The grass is literally greener

Here is a look at the short-term forecast for both Madison and Orlando, via weather.com. Let's just say I'm glad our plane leaves at 4 p.m. today.

Madison
... WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO NOON CST THURSDAY...

Making the most of your time

For a number of years now the cry has been the same: The Big Ten has too much of a layoff between its final regular-season games and its bowl games. Well, after facing Hawaii on Dec. 5, Wisconsin doesn't fit into that scenario this year.

While 23 days may seem like a long time between football games, especially when you consider the usual time is six days between games, bowl games are unusual in a number of ways. It's also 11 days fewer than UW had before last year's Champs Sports Bowl.

Time to start locking in

With the Champs Sports Bowl less than two weeks away, the Badgers have started shifting their focus from snow and finals to warmth and Miami. One of the first steps in that process was Sunday's practice.

The Badgers practiced for 18 periods, using the first portions of practice to work on Miami with the one and twos on offense and defense both getting some work in against the scout teams. However, one of the benefits of bowl practice is getting an extended look at some of the young players who didn't get much time during the regular season.

On the road again

Saturday marked the official start to the bowl season with the New Mexico Bowl and the St. Petersburg Bowl. It also was an unofficial start to Wisconsin's preparations for the Champs Sports Bowl on Dec. 29.

Though the Badgers practiced four times last week, including some early prep work on Miami, the bowl game and the trip to Orlando is becoming more of a reality and that point was driven home on Saturday. That's when UW's equipment truck, full of the team's equipment and luggage for players, coaches and staff members, started the 21-hour drive from Madison to Orlando.