THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Pedersen And Badgers Seek Rose Bowl Success
Former Menominee Maroon standout Jacob Pedersen is a serious football player. He simply expects to win. It's a part of who he is, an intricate component to his personality.
And rightly so. As the starting tight end for the University of Wisconsin Badgers and a critical piece of the team's offense, Pedersen has experienced the peaks of success at all levels in his young career on the gridiron.
He was a big part of Menominee High School's state championship teams of a few years back and, as a current junior with the Badgers, he has already played in two Rose Bowls, with a third on the horizon. Pedersen and the rest of the 8-5 UW squad are currently prepping for this years pilgrimage to Pasadena where the Stanford Cardinal will be waiting for a shot at redeeming a 2000 loss to the Badgers in the Rose Bowl game.
"Winning has just always sort of been with me," Pedersen said when asked to reflect on his time in Menominee and how his successes there translate to the college game. "It's been great but it can make losing a lot more difficult."
Which means that, right about now as the lull between the final game of the Division 1 season wraps up and the week leading into the Parade of Roses begins, Pedersen's football mind is focused squarely on making the most of his third shot at Rose Bowl glory.
There's a lot to consider. As mentioned, the 11-2 Cardinal are going to be fired up to get back at UW for the 17-9 result of 13 years ago. And, given the tumultuous type of season the Badgers have had, fans in Palo Alto have to be liking their team's chances.
In their first season since the departure of phenom quarterback Russell Wilson to the NFL, the Badgers have put three different passers on the field. There's the now infamous departure of coach Bret Bielema, followed by the return of legend Barry Alvarez to the sidelines, not to mention the general disarray of the Big 10 this year with both Penn State and Ohio State finding themselves ineligible due to suspension.
But according to Pedersen, the Badgers, who are coming off a 70-31 hammering over the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Big Ten title game, aren't distracted by all of the extra chatter regarding their odds of finding victory on New Years Day.
"All of our losses this season were very close," commented Pedersen. "Through all of the injuries and all of the transitional stuff this year, we still went into every single game expecting to win."
And individually, Pedersen has heard it before.
"I remember the first year we won the state title," said Pedersen. "Every single playoff game, it was always 'Menominee's going to lose, they've never seen a team like this before', and then we would just go out and kill whoever. So I'm used to hearing it all. This whole team couldn't care less about what anyone is saying about our chances now. We've got a legend on the sidelines. How many guys can say they got to play for a Hall of Fame coach? When we called coach Alvarez and asked him to coach us and he accepted, my excitement level for this game went up quite a bit, same for all of our other players. Obviously, we haven't had the type of season we wanted to have. But we know that if we can go to Pasadena and win the Rose Bowl, nobody is going to remember an 8-5 record. We're focused on the fact that this one game wipes the slate for us. We believe in each other and that's all we need as far as I'm concerned."