Evening State Sports Briefs: Badgers to play Alabama in 2015Wisconsin Sports
-- The University of Wisconsin's football team has been trying to upgrade its non-conference schedule in recent years and those efforts got a big boost this afternoon with the announcement the Badgers will play national champion Alabama in 2015.
MADISON - The University of Wisconsin's football team has been trying to upgrade its non-conference schedule in recent years and those efforts got a big boost this afternoon with the announcement the Badgers will play national champion Alabama in 2015.
The game will be played on Sept. 5, 2015 at the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas which seats over 100,000 fans. The game will be the season-opener for both squads. As a league we decided that we needed to upgrade our non-conference schedule," UW Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez said in a press release. "We understand that strength of schedule will be a factor in determining which teams earn the right to participate in the new four-team playoff system and we want to be in that mix. There's no better way to do that than by playing the defending national champions. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to play a storied program like Alabama in a terrific venue like Cowboys Stadium. It will be a great experience for our program, our players and our fans."
Wisconsin last played Alabama in 1928 in Madison and won that game 15-0.
The University of Wisconsin women’s golf team beat out 14 others to win the Entrada Classic in Saint George, Utah. The Badgers completed the 54-hole tournament at 24-over-par 888, six strokes ahead of second-place Minnesota. The host school, BYU, placed fifth. Also, Wisconsin’s Kimberly Dinh won the individual title at even-par-216. Her teammate Kris Yoo placed second at one-over and Osceola's Lindsay Danielson finished ninth.
Major League Baseball vice-president Rob Manfred denies that Milwaukee Brewers’ All-Star Ryan Braun is the main target of its latest probe into performance-enhancing drug use. USA Today says Braun is “Public Enemy Number-One” in baseball’s investigation of the players who were reportedly listed as clients or creditors of Bio-Genesis. Braun has insisted that he was only on the list because clinic owner Tony Bosch was a consultant for his successful appeal last year of a 50-game suspension for being caught taking synthetic testosterone. Braun said his drug sample was mishandled. And the overturning of his suspension reportedly angered baseball executives at the time, and resulted in new testing procedures. National reporters questioned Braun’s explanation about Bosch, saying Bosch was not a credible consultant for the appeal. A few weeks ago, ESPN uncovered new records showing that Braun on a four-player list from the clinic, with an amount of money next to his name. USA Today quoted Braun as saying, quote, “I’ve always tried to do everything right in life, and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished. You get to the point where you almost don’t care what people think. But anybody that knows me, and who has ever known me, knows who I am. They know the way I live my life. They know I’m a good person.” Braun did not elaborate at Spring Training today.
The Brewers traded right-hander Darren Byrd to Oakland today, in exchange for third baseman Stephen Parker. The 25-year-old Parker has spent four years in the minors, batting .277 over that stretch with 43 homers and 262 R-BI’s in 448 contests. In 2010, Parker batted .296 for Class-“A” Stockton with 21 homers and 98 RBI’s. Byrd spent three years in Milwaukee’s minor league system. He appeared in one game for the Brewers at Spring Training.
The Green Bay Packers joined other NFL owners today in approving a controversial rule change involving hits by players’ helmets. Packers’ president Mark Murphy said the vote was 31-1 in favor of the new rule – in which players cannot lower their heads and drive the crowns of their helmets into opponents outside the so-called “tackle box.” That box is between the tackles, and three yards on either side of the line of scrimmage. Violations will result in a 15-yard penalty and possible fines. Murphy said the Packers support it because it’s a part of making the game safer for players. He said the debate centered on the officials’ ability to call the helmet crown violations – and they were convinced that they could enforce it fairly. Cincinnati was reported to be the only team against it. Also, NFL owners voted to end the so-called “tuck rule.” From now on, if the quarterback starts a tuck motion while being it, a fumble will be called if the ball comes out. Owners also okayed a change in the instant replay rules. If coaches inadvertently throw the red challenge flags on plays that are automatically reviewable, the play can still be reviewed. That wasn’t the case last year, and it may have cost Detroit coach Jim Schwartz a Thanksgiving Day victory over Houston. There’s a still a penalty for the violation – either a time-out if a team has one, or 15 yards.
Unlike some other ex-Packers who left for Minnesota, Greg Jennings is not bad-mouthing his old team. Just the opposite, actually. Today, Jennings put out full-page ads in the Milwaukee and Green Bay newspapers, thanking fans for quote, “making Green Bay an easy place to love and call home.” He said the business side of the game brought about his move – and Jennings said he and his family would quote, “be forever indebted to the Packers organization and fans for giving us the opportunity to be a part of an amazing culture.” Jennings played his first seven NFL seasons in Green Bay before his contract expired, and he left for the Vikings as a free agent.
The new Big East Conference officially added three new members today, for a total of 10 including Marquette. Butler, Creighton, and Xavier will begin play next season in the basketball-accentuated league. They’ll join the so-called “Catholic-Seven” – including Marquette – which pulled out of the former Big East after that conference put a new emphasis on football schools. The other members of the new league are Georgetown, Providence, Villanova, Saint John’s, DePaul, and Seton Hall. They’re reported to have a TV contract with Fox. The AP says it’s apparently a 12-year deal worth $600-million dollars.
The first Big Ten Conference men’s hockey game is still a few months away – but starting next week, you’ll be able to buy tickets to the first conference tournament. Seats go on sale Monday for a six-team playoff March 20th-through-22nd of next year at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul. Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State are leaving their present conferences to form the new Big Ten hockey circuit. Penn State is starting a program from scratch. Under the new tournament format, the top two teams in the regular season will get byes – and the other four will compete for spots in a semi-final round.
Chas Cross of UW-Platteville has been named a regional player-of-the-year in Division III men’s basketball. The honor comes from the national coaches’ association, which also included Cross on its All-West Regional first team. Cross, a junior center, was recently named the WIAC’s player-of-the-year after averaging 16 points and eight-and-a-half rebounds per game. Trevor Hass of UW-Stevens Point made the coaches’ all-West Regional second team.