Beat the heat? Try not to worry

Badgers' early start time at Arizona could be tough on both teams

When Wisconsin takes the field at Arizona Stadium Sept. 18 to face the Arizona Wildcats, it will likely be in the mid 90s with temperatures potentially rising above 100 degrees.

Not ideal weather for strapping on pads and jerseys and playing football. Not ideal for sipping lemonade, for that matter.

But rather than play the game at 7 p.m., as originally scheduled, the contest was bumped up in June at the behest of television.

"I didn't really have any choice," Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez said during Big Ten media days. "It wasn't like I had a vote or anybody came to me and said, ‘Listen. We'd like to move it. Would you go along with it?'

"Here's the rule on TV as I understand it: there are so many hours—anytime there's a contract, there are so many hours before or after that they can move the game to."

The change, though, is not entirely unhelpful. With the Big Ten opener a week later against Penn State, the earlier start time will better enable the Badgers to rest and prepare.

"If we played that night game, we wouldn't get home until early in the morning, seven or so in the morning," Alvarez said. "That hurts the players and that really hurts us in our starting preparation for the Big Ten season."

The heat, though, could also hurt. According to The Weather Channel's historical archive of average daily temperatures, the average high in Tucson Sept. 18 is 94 degrees, with a record high of 105. And you can bet the heat will be its most ferocious during the 1-4 p.m. local time slot for the game.

Last year, temperatures reached 106 degrees for a Sept. 21 game the Green Bay Packers lost to the Arizona Cardinals in Tempe, 20-13.

"It's going to be just as tough on them as it is us. I talked to Rob Ianello," Alvarez said, referring to his tight ends coach, who coached at Arizona for eight years. "Rob said they don't play any afternoon games (during that time of year); they never have the whole time he was there."

How do you beat the heat?

"Hopefully we have more depth than they do," Alvarez said. "And I've already told our guys, we'll try to play some guys to establish some depth at every position…We've talked to the Packers, we've talked to other people who have played in that type of temperature just so we can try to be proactive when we go out there. I don't want to be so concerned with weather that we forget about playing but I want to take some precautionary measures and do whatever we can for our players to make it as easy a game, as simple a transition as possible."

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