Divided Loyalties: Rose Bowl poses mixed feelings for former Badgers

Several University of Oregon professors developed academic roots at the University of Wisconsin-Madison before coming to the University of Oregon, but the allegiance to their alma mater will be tested by the Jan. 2 Rose Bowl football game.

Who to cheer for and what to wear to show fan support are still up in the air, but the menu for game day was a quick decision —Wisconsin brats.

“I don’t miss the cold winters in Wisconsin, but I do miss the bratwurst,” said Marian Friestad, marketing professor emerita.

Pat Bartlein and Patricia McDowell, husband and wife geography professors with degrees from Wisconsin, also plan to eat brats for their Rose Bowl meal.  They tip their hats to Oregon wines and consider beer production to be a tie between the two states.

“We’re basically Ducks now,” said Barlein, who looks forward to watching the Ducks’ innovative style of football match up with Wisconsin, in a game he describes as “tradition versus science.” 

Carrie Beck, reading clinic director for the UO College of Education’s Center on Teaching and Learning, tried to convince her UO alumnus husband to wear a Badger t-shirt in this year’s family holiday photo, but he wouldn’t have it.

“While an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin, going to football games was a big part of the student experience for me,” said Beck. “But it’s hard not to be a Duck at this point.  This has been my home for 18 years.”

Beck plans to watch the Rose Bowl at home with her family, including her sons, ages 10 and 7, who want her to cheer for Wisconsin to fan the flames of rivalry in their home. 

Friestad moved away from Wisconsin 23 years ago, and is conflicted about which team to root for when the Ducks play the Badgers in Pasadena. 

“I hope for a great game, where no one gets hurt and it comes down to a last-minute field goal in the third overtime,” said Friestad.

She wants a close game with many tie scores to indicate that a wardrobe change in needed. 

“Whichever team is trailing, I will change my outfit to encourage them to bring it back to a tie,” she said.

“One of my teams will win and I will be delighted.”

— Story and video by Julie Brown