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Why Wisconsin Football Will Take the Axe Back From Minnesota

Here’s why the Wisconsin football team will reclaim Paul Bunyan’s Axe.



Wisconsin Badgers Football vs Minnesota
Nov 26, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Jackson Acker (34) rushes with the football in front of Minnesota Golden Gophers linebacker Donald Willis (15) during the fourth quarter at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

After a regular season full of ups and downs, Wisconsin football (6-5, 4-4 B1G) will play its final game before bowl season, which will be on Saturday. It’s rivalry weekend in college football, which only means one thing: it’s Axe week.

After owning Minnesota for most of the 21st century, the Badgers have slipped, losing three of the last five battles for Paul Bunyan’s Axe.

Here is why the Wisconsin Badgers will take the axe back in 2023.

Wisconsin Football was able to right the ship last week against Nebraska

Going into last week’s game against Nebraska, it seemed like the sky was falling in Madison.

A loss would’ve put the program in danger of missing a bowl game for the first time since 2001. Instead, they picked up a big win and gained bowl eligibility for the 22nd straight season.

It was an important win for the program. Following a competitive fight against Ohio State, the Badgers embarrassed themselves in back-to-back weeks with losses to Indiana and Northwestern. The team was beginning to question who was putting their best effort out on the field. Although a win over a mediocre Nebraska team is not usually worth celebrating, the Badgers badly needed a get-right game.

Wisconsin Football can play spoiler against their biggest rival

Whereas Wisconsin has already made themselves bowl-eligible, the same is not true for their rival Gophers. Minnesota needs a win on Saturday to become bowl-eligible.

If the team can’t find motivation anywhere else, which would be highly concerning considering the importance of rivalry week, they should at least play their hardest to spoil Minnesota’s season. There’s no better way to go into bowl season than to have the axe at home and make P.J. Fleck sad.

Final Thoughts

The Badgers last took down Minnesota in an overtime win in 2020. Three years seems like a short time, but it feels like 30 years instead in a rivalry. Luke Fickell’s first season as Badgers head coach hasn’t gone according to plan so far, but ending the regular season on a positive note with the axe will go a long way regarding the program’s confidence in him moving forward.

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Lucas Valind is a correspondent for covering Wisconsin football and basketball. His previous bylines covering the Badgers can be found at FanSided's Badger of Honor and Dairyland Express.