Wisconsin football to arrive in San Diego

Posted at 11:29 AM, Dec 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-24 14:29:38-05

The Wisconsin football team is scheduled to arrive in San Diego Thursday, two days before USC, its opponent in Wednesday's 38th annual Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium.

"Our kids are excited to come to San Diego," Badgers coach Paul Chryst, the San Diego Chargers tight ends coach from 1999-2001, said at a Dec. 16 news conference. "I was fortunate to live here for three years and know what a great place this is."

The team will stay at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in downtown San Diego and practice at Mesa College in Clairemont.

Wisconsin will visit SeaWorld on Sunday and join the Trojans in a tour Monday of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, which was based in Norfolk, Virginia, but has been homeported in San Diego since last month.

The Badgers (9-3) will be making their first appearance in the Holiday Bowl, which has been played annually since 1978.

The Holiday Bowl's contract with the 14-team Big Ten Conference guarantees it a "top-tier team," said Mark Neville, the executive director of San Diego Bowl Game Association, which operates the Holiday Bowl and the other bowl game played at Qualcomm Stadium, the Poinsettia Bowl.

The conference had three teams in the New Year's Six games -- conference champion Michigan State (Cotton Bowl, one of the two College Football Playoff semifinals); West Division champion Iowa (Rose Bowl); and Ohio State (Fiesta Bowl).

Conference officials then decided how to assign the next three teams -- Michigan, Northwestern and Wisconsin -- to the Holiday Bowl, the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida, and the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Florida, Neville said.

"Since Wisconsin had been to Florida the last two years, the Big Ten Conference fortunately sent them our way," Neville told City News Service.

This is the first meeting between the teams since 1966. USC leads the series, 6-0, including a memorable 42-37 victory in the 1963 Rose Bowl Game.

The Trojans led 42-17 in the fourth quarter when Ron VanderKelen led the Badgers on three touchdown drives in a comeback that ended when Wisconsin's Louis Holland fumbled away a punt.

The San Diego Bowl Game Association is in the second year of a six-year agreement with the Big Ten Conference to supply a team for the Holiday Bowl.

The Holiday Bowl had an agreement with the Big Ten Conference to annually supply a team from 1992-94. Big Ten teams played in the Holiday Bowl six times between 1979 and 1991, when an at-large team was chosen to play the Western Athletic Conference champion.