Because the University of Wisconsin escaped its final game of the season with a wild one-point victory over Football Championship Subdivision opponent Cal Poly, the Badgers finished with a 7-5 season that should be good enough to make either the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio or the Insight Bowl in Tempe, Ariz.
With Minnesota's loss to Iowa, Wisconsin is expected to be the sixth team selected for a Big Ten-affiliated bowl, which would be no worse than the Insight. If the Big Ten can get two teams into the Bowl Championship Series – conference champ Penn State to the Rose Bowl, and Ohio State somewhere depending on results around the country – the Badgers would probably head to Texas.
"Yeah, it's cold," UW quarterback Dustin Sherer said when asked if he's relieved to head south. "We knew that this was a game that was obviously going to make us better in the bowl (selections) … we came up with a win, and that's good for us."
Both the Alamo and Insight games would pit the Badgers against a Big XII opponent.
Because the Big Ten does not stage a conference championship game, Wisconsin has traditionally accepted bowl bids earlier than teams around the country.
UW would ideally like to have their bowl location set in stone sometime before Dec. 6, Championship Saturday, to accommodate fans looking to attend the game.
"Just because of the price of airline tickets and travel right now," head coach Bret Bielema said, "anything that we can get out in advance of the traditional naming days on Championship Saturday, would really benefit our fans, which is what we always want."
Soft-spoken kicker Philip Welch nailed all four of his extra-point attempts, including the game-winning PAT in overtime to seal the victory, and thus was mobbed by reporters in the UW weight room who wanted to know about extra points, perhaps the most mundane part of football.
Welch seemed amused by the "extra" attention, but was just happy to have done his job once again.
"I just went into it like a regular PAT, and hoping not to miss it," said the redshirt freshman, who is 34-of-35 on extra points. "I probably would have been killed or something."
One wonders about the fate of Welch's counterpart, Cal Poly junior Andrew Gardner, who missed three out of five point-after kicks, including one to start out overtime which gave Wisconsin the free shot at the victory with just a touchdown and PAT.
"I kind of feel bad for that kid, coming from California, he's probably not used to kicking in the cold," said Welch, a native of cold-climate Fort Collins, Colo."Just a bummer for him."
Welch has arguably been Wisconsin's most consistent player all year long, and the late-game theatrics didn't seem to faze him at all.
"The best thing with Philip is (to) just leave Philip alone," Bielema said. "He's got his own little routine, he takes a warm bath. I haven't asked him, because I don't want to know, I've been told there's molasses or oatmeal or something involved in his bath."
Welch denied the "molasses or oatmeal" allegations.
"It's just a regular hot bath to get the legs going," Welch said with a grin.
Despite the student section being only 75 percent full and plenty of empty seats to be seen, the announced attendance was still 80,709. It marked the 39th consecutive sellout at Camp Randall Stadium. The Badgers have drawn at least 70,000 fans to 102 consecutive home games (among those 102 games, 92 have been sellouts). UW has played in front of at least 80,000 fans in 33 straight home games.
More Extra Points
This was the Badgers' first overtime game since the 2002 Alamo Bowl, a 31-28 victory over Colorado. UW is 4-2 lifetime in overtime games … sophomore wide receiver David Gilreath caught four balls for 125 yards, his first 100-yard game … junior Aubrey Pleasant, who had 11 tackles this season coming into Saturday, led UW with a career-high 12 tackles … Wisconsin, the No. 1 time of possession team in the Big Ten entering Saturday, had the ball for just 20:01 … Cal Poly was 9-of-17 on third-down conversions, and also got first downs on both 4th-down attempts … Junior running back P.J. Hill ran for 59 yards, becoming the second Badger in school history (Ron Dayne is the other) to run for at least 1,000 yards in each of his first three seasons. Hill's third-quarter TD run was the 43rd of his career, moving him into third place on UW's career list, one behind Billy Marek for second.
Benjamin Worgull Contributed to this Report