Bret Bielema’s Wisconsin Badgers unveiled their alternate Adidas Unrivaled uniforms a few weeks ago. It would be generous to say the uniform got mixed reviews.
What the actual alternate uniform looks like, however, is unimportant.
Under Barry Alvarez and Bret Bielema, Wisconson has not been a “sexy” program. They rely on a bruising ground game, have eschewed the spread offense and generally prefer the tried-and-true over the cutting edge.
Never was the gulf between the new-school college programs and the old-school Wisconsin philosophy more apparent than last year’s Rose Bowl. The Oregon Ducks, a team built on innovative offensive concepts and Nike money, wore shiny black helmets that seemed inspired by intergalactic bounty hunters. Wisconsin, on the other hand, barely modified their uniforms, adding only the faint outline of a rose to the logo.
Wisconsin’s new threads show that they are tired of being left out of the college football limelight. Alternate uniforms are a flashy way to get media attention. It seems the program tired of doing nothing but win (60-19 in the last six years), while not getting the exposure of similarly successful teams.
Wisconsin embracing special game uniforms is proof of a new direction for the Badgers. Games featuring alternate uniforms create buzz and media hoopla. With this alternate uniform, Wisconsin is announcing that it is ready, and now expects, to get the same treatment as the big boys of the BCS.
The Badgers, with back-to-back Rose Bowl berths, are already in the college football elite. Now they plan on dressing the part.
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