VARSITY TEAMS: 22
INTRAMURAL SPORTS: 25
FAMOUS ALUMNI: CHRIS CHELIOS, BUD SELIG
EXTRA CREDIT FOR: TRADITION-STEEPED FIELD HOUSE
Since the fall of 1993, when Wisconsin earned its first Rose Bowl berth in 31 years, sports enthusiasm has raged in Madison. "Badgers fans stuck by struggling teams for ages," says junior Scott Tappa, sports editor of the student-run Daily Cardinal. "When we finally started winning, fans went overboard."
Football Saturdays in Madison still have a certain quaintness. At 9:00 a.m. a bright-red, cheerleader-bedecked, antique fire engine called the Bucky Wagon begins winding its way around campus, roaring and honking (much to the dismay of the hungover). Festivities continue through the "fifth quarter," a postgame celebration in Camp Randall Stadium during which the marching band entertains fans with old favorites played in polka rhythm.
Wisconsin is the only college in the nation with two student daily newspapers. The Daily Cardinal and The Badger Herald, and thus the only one with dueling daily sports pages. The papers have plenty of good news to report: Gridiron wins—an average of almost eight per season since 1993—and consistent success in a passel of nonrevenue sports have put the Badgers in the top 20 of the national all-sports rankings for the last three years.
The largest student organization on campus (2,800 members) is Hoofers, which offers activities such as mountain biking, hang gliding, horseback riding, mountaineering, sailing, skiing and spelunking. "People who love outdoor sports are happy here year-round." says Hoofers president Paula Bersie, a senior from Minnetonka Beach, Minn. For the Greater Mendota Open ice golf tournament, members drill into frozen Lake Mendota and play nine holes. The scuba club hosts annual events in the same lake, including underwater pumpkin carving on Halloween and naked dives after the spring thaw.
Sports-minded students can also head for 18-hole University Ridge, among the 10 best college courses in the nation; Nielsen a Tennis Stadium, one of the country's finest facilities; or the 200-meter indoor track. Or they can kick back with copies of the Cardinal and the Herald and, rather than dive into the world of Wisconsin sports, simply read all about it.