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The Voice: Saturday's lasting image came before kickoff

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Not long after last Saturday's electrifying game at Camp Randall Stadium, one of the players asked me where I would rank it. "Well, it is certainly on the short list of the all-time best," I responded. Now that truly is insightful analysis, isn't it? 

No doubt my broadcast partner and UWBadgers.com writer Mike Lucas would have another chapter to add in the book he wrote a few years ago, The 25 Greatest Moments in Camp Randall History.

In the days leading up to last week's game, I was trying to compare the hype with the 1999 matchup against Iowa, when Ron Dayne broke the NCAA career rushing record (another book plug -- Justin Doherty's The Dayne Game -- pick it up at your favorite Madison area bookstore), or perhaps the 2003 tilt with Ohio State, when the Buckeyes came to town as the defending national champions and owners of a 19-game winning streak (to my knowledge, there is no book about that game).

What struck me last week is how the media world has changed in the last decade. In the days leading up to the '99 game, the fans were giddy at the chance to see Dayne break the rushing record, and oh by the way, see the Badgers win another Big Ten title.

It was a crazy week, but the game was a regional ABC telecast, and we had no idea about this thing called HDTV. The ESPN College GameDay crew was elsewhere, in part because it already made a visit to Madison several weeks earlier for the conference opener.

Since they handed out a championship trophy after that Iowa game, I still lean to that day for genuine atmosphere, but what might put last Saturday's game as "1-A" on my list -- at least for now -- is the number of cameras and media folks in the stadium.

Lucas at Large: Badgers' trips to Kinnick an adventure

Ben Strickland can remember each of the bus trips that he took from Madison to Iowa City during his playing career at Wisconsin. Some were more memorable than others.

The three-hour ride can be quite picturesque at this time of the year with the explosion of fall colors framing the countryside. Yet, the big picture is always on the mind of the riders.

"With a game coming up, you're obviously thinking about a lot," said Strickland, who's now a graduate assistant coach with the Badgers. "On the bus, I'd review the game plan, and go over some stuff on the scouting report. But I'd also take some time to relax and get my mind off football."

Hit rewind to Nov. 10, 2006. On that Friday afternoon, the UW caravan, numbering four buses, took off for Iowa City. But the No. 3 bus encountered some mechanical problems near Dubuque.

The disabled bus was emptied of players, who jumped aboard the No. 4 bus and bumped the supervisory personnel. In order to stay on schedule, the three team buses got back on the road, while the UW administrators, cheerleaders , etc., got some unexpected ground time in Dubuque until one of the buses came back for them.

The moral of this story is:

A) Never assume you're anything but expendable if you're riding the fourth bus of a four-bus caravan and the team mascot is sitting across the aisle;

B) Never leave home without checking your front air brakes;

C) Never sweat the little things;

D) Never doubt the resolve of a first-year head coach (Bret Bielema) and a first-time starter at quarterback (Tyler Donovan) and cornerback (Strickland);

E) Never underestimate the value of chemistry or camaraderie in team sports.

Speaking to the last point then was Strickland, who replaced the injured Allen Langford in the secondary against Iowa. Langford rolled his ankle during that Tuesday's practice, which Strickland had to miss because of a class conflict. So how was the '06 team defined by chemistry or camaraderie?

Wojta still snaps, despite 'pop' in knee

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Running downfield to cover a punt during Tuesday's practice, Kyle Wojta, the UW long snapper, felt something that every athlete fears.

"I felt two pops in my knee," he said.

While planting his foot to make a cut, Wojta tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

"Watching the film, I was grabbing my knee before I hit the ground," he said. "It was a bad feeling; something that I had never felt before."

Video: ESPN GameDay comes to Madison

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The highlights from today's visit to Camp Randall Stadium by ESPN College GameDay:

The Madness is about to begin

We're about 5 minutes out from the start of Field House Madness, and it's a who's who of Wisconsin basketball history inside the UW Field House.

The current Badgers squad has been split in two, with associate head coach Greg Gard and former Badger Michael Finley coaching the White team and assistant coach Gary Close and former Badger head coach John Erickson handling the coaching duties for the Red team.

In addition to the dignitaries on the benches, the event has also brought out former players Joe Chrnelich, Dick Cable, Rick Olson, Tim Valentyn and Jason Bohannon. Then there's the ESPN tandem of Scott Van Pelt and Madison resident Andy North. The crew from ESPNU Road Trip is also in the house to grab some video.

The scrimmage will consist of two 20-minute halves with a running clock. There will be scheduled timeouts at the 10- and 5-minute marks of both halves to facilitate some of the many contests -- including a shooting contest with new assistant coach Lamont Paris -- and giveaways planned for the day.

We'll have updates as the scrimmage progresses.

Badgers and Buckeyes head into third dimension

Tonight's matchup between No. 16 Wisconsin and No. 1 Ohio State isn't just available on ESPN, but is also being broadcast live by ESPN 3D. We went behind the scenes of the network's production to learn what it takes to put on a 3D broadcast.

ESPN GameDay kicks off Badgers' game day

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Photos:  GameDay Setup - Friday  |  ESPN College GameDay

The gates opened at 6:30 a.m., the show started at 8 and, by 11 a.m., the fans that made their way to Camp Randall Stadium for Saturday's broadcast of ESPN College GameDay were cheering as Lee Corso returned to the stage dressed as Bucky Badger from head to toe.

Corso, famous for announcing his picks by donning the heads of mascot costumes, went the extra mile in Madison by putting on the full Bucky outfit to show his confidence in a Badgers win tonight against No. 1 Ohio State.

The move capped an exciting morning that saw Corso, Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and Erin Andrews go around the world of college football over the course of their three-hour show.

Beyond Corso's pick, the highlight for UW fans was the inspiring story of Jaxson Hinkens, a 6-year-old cancer patient befriended by Badgers quarterback Scott Tolzien and his teammates. Tolzien helped tell the story of how he and Jaxson grew close through phone calls and visits to American Family Children's Hospital in Madison.

Head coach Bret Bielema and Jaxson's parents also were featured to help tell the special story.

The UW Marching Band and spirit squads were in attendance, as well. We'll have a full photo gallery and video recap of the event soon at UWBadgers.com

Ready for some Madness?

The UW men's basketball team makes its first public appearance of 2010-11 later today with Field House Madness, a scrimmage beginning at 2:30 p.m. at the UW Field House.

The event, which is free and open to the public, marks the Badgers' first appearance at the Field House since 1998. Doors open at 2 p.m.

Marianela of ESPNU Road Trip did a little freelance work for us at UWBadgers.com on Friday, getting Jon Leuer and Jordan Taylor's thoughts on opening the season. The Badgers had their first official practice of 2010-11 on Friday. Check out the video:

Video: Previewing a Badger Weekend

A look just at some of what's on tap as part of Badger Weekend:

Let the Weekend of the Badger begin

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In case you haven't noticed -- and it's been impossible not to notice if you work at Camp Randall Stadium -- Madison has spent the past two days being transformed into the center of the college sports universe.

It began Thursday when crews from ESPN, ESPN 3D, ESPN Radio, ESPN College GameDay, ESPNU Road Trip and the Sports Illustrated College Football Experience literally invaded Camp Randall to begin setting up for Saturday's matchup between No. 16 Wisconsin and No. 1 Ohio State.

The madness has continued today and quickly enveloped the men's basketball and men's hockey teams, as well. Both programs have already been the subject of pieces filmed for the ESPNU Road Trip show.

'The Herd with Colin Cowherd' broadcast live this morning from the terrace at the Memorial Union. 'The Scott Van Pelt Show' is airing live as I type this with co-host Ryen Rusello orginating his portion of the broadcast from the lawn in front of the Camp Randall Memorial Sports Center.

That set is the same one that Rusello and company will use for the day-long College GameDay on ESPN Radio broadcast Saturday.

Then there's the live broadcast of ESPN College GameDay live from inside Camp Randall beginning at 8 a.m. Gates open at 6:30 for those of you who want to join Chris, Lee, Kirk and Desmond.

And that's all before ESPN and ESPN 3D offer their live broadcasts of the showdown between the Badgers and Buckeyes. That's what we're all here for, remember.

But that's not stopping ESPNU Road Trip from picking up some color from around town by stopping by men's hockey practice and getting ice cream at the Union with Jon Leuer and Jordan Taylor of the men's basketball team.

The hockey Badgers take on Alabama-Huntsville at 7 p.m. tonight to open their weekend series, with the basketball team then taking over the UW Field House at 2:30 p.m. Saturday for Field House Madness.

And we're going to be there. Keep checking back here all weekend for behind-the-scenes access and updates from hockey, College GameDay and Field House Madness, among others.

We'll chronicle the Weekend of the Badger here on the UWBadgers.com blog, on the Wisconsin Athletics YouTube  channel and on Twitter through @UWBadgersdotcom. If you're tweeting, be sure to use the #beatohiostate hashtag.

It's going to be a fun ride over the next 48 hours. Buckle up.


ON WISCONSIN