The Badgers "1-0" philosophy worked time and again. Until this most recent Saturday that is. This time it blew up in a 49-14 loss to Michigan State.
But do not expect UW's team mantra to crumble after one setback.
"If we lose that now then what was the point of having it all season?" senior right tackle Morgan Davis said.
After nine 1-0 weeks, Wisconsin is 9-1 overall, 6-1 in the Big Ten and is facing the daunting task of traveling to Iowa (7-2, 6-1) this week to take on the Hawkeyes and their 17-game home winning streak.
"It will be something different for us but we just have to stay focused and hungry and hone in on Iowa to come out victorious," junior receiver Brandon Williams said. "We can't have another letdown."
"This is where your 1-0 comes in," Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez said. "It's about 1-0 next week too. It's not about 9-1 or anything else. It's about 1-0. Let's play next week."
That does not mean it will be easy for the Badgers to forget their first 0-1 week.
"This feels real fresh right now," senior cornerback Scott Starks said following Saturday's game, as tears adorned his words. "We've got to try to get rid of it and worry about next week. We still have a lot to play for right now."
"There is nothing we can do about this game right now," Starks added, as if speaking were a salve. "It is time to move on, worry about next week. We got Iowa next week and we just learn from our mistakes in this game."
A win in Iowa City coupled with a Michigan loss at Ohio State and the Badgers would head to the Rose Bowl. If the Wolverines (9-1, 7-0) close out an undefeated conference slate and seal a trip to Pasadena, a win at Iowa would likely ensure UW a slot in at minimum the Capitol One Bowl and would leave open the remote possibility the Badgers could be invited to a BCS bowl as an at-large team.
A loss at Iowa would send the Badgers reeling into third place and would likely propel the Hawkeyes to the Capitol One in Orlando, Fla. Wisconsin's consolation prize would be another New Year's Day event, the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla. Not a bad season-ending reward, but far from what was envisioned just a few days ago.
Wisconsin, however, was not worried about Roses or Oranges before the loss to Michigan State and they are not analyzing the bowl picture now.
"The Rose, that's really not my concern right now," junior linebacker Dontez Sanders said.
"It's up to us to win this next game and the rest we can't control it. We have to wait," Davis said.
It is an uncomfortable feeling.
"It's tough because we were playing well and we wanted to be able do things on our own. We have to rely on some other people now," junior tight end Owen Daniels said.
But as Sunday turns to another week of preparation, 1-0 once again takes precedence in Madison.
"It happened," Daniels said. "We are just focused on what we can control right now."
"We've got to regroup and go back to playing how we have played," Alvarez said. "We have a lot to play for. It's a big game, last game of the year. We just have to rebound."