Having a Ball at the Bowl

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Fans cheer as the Badgers try to push the ball across the goal line. The Badgers came up short on this drive and in the game, losing 20-14.  Photo: Jeff Miller.

Fans cheer as the Badgers try to push the ball across the goal line. The Badgers came up short on this drive and in the game, losing 20-14. Photo: Jeff Miller.

WAA tour gives Badger fans that rosy feeling.

Loyal Badger fans made the trek to California to re-paint Pasadena red over New Year’s, as the UW football team won its third straight Big Ten title and became the first squad in UW history to reach the Rose Bowl for three years in a row. Many of those fans traveled on the Official Badger Bowl Tour, presented by WAA and Wisconsin Athletics.

Cumulatively, WAA has taken nearly 5,000 alumni and friends to Rose Bowl games since 2011. And though a rose by any other name might smell as sweet, a Rose Bowl victory would have been sweeter — but the 2013 team lost to Stanford, as the previous teams had lost to Texas Christian and Oregon in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

“Despite the game, I think this was the best of the Rose Bowl trips I’ve been on,” says traveler Jack Hinnendael ’80. “WAA did a wonderful job, and [its representatives] were great hosts.”

The football Badgers’ new coach, Gary Andersen, meets with alumni at a reception the night before the Rose Bowl game. Photo: Jeff Miller.

The football Badgers’ new coach, Gary Andersen, meets with alumni at a reception the night before the Rose Bowl game. Photo: Jeff Miller.

This year’s WAA travelers had a more immersive experience than in past bowl trips. In addition to the Tournament of Roses Parade and the game, participants in the official tour stayed at the team hotel, giving them the opportunity to mingle with players and coaches in the days leading up to the game. At a New Year’s Eve reception, attendees had a chance to meet incoming football coach Gary Andersen, who succeeds Bret Bielema.

It was enough to have fans California dreaming — and hoping a fourth time will be the charm.

Published in the Spring 2013 issue

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