Spring football practice for Wisconsin included a road trip.
The Badgers herded onto buses for a 137-mile jaunt from Madison to Green Bay. It was a day for history and getting acclimated.
They toured famed Lambeau Field — home of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers — and walked through the Packer Hall of Fame. They also worked out in the Don Hutson Center, the indoor practice facility located across the street.
All in preparation for Saturday when Wisconsin and No. 5 LSU meet in the Lambeau Field Classic (2:30 p.m., ABC), the first major-college game ever at the stadium and the first college contest of any kind since a Division III tilt 33 years ago.
For Wisconsin’s Vince Biegel, the trip was like finding the golden ticket to a chocolate factory.
“I grew up in Wisconsin. I’m a big-time Green Bay Packers fan,” the senior linebacker said. “When you’re playing Big Ten kickoff games for college football, those are the settings you want to be in.
“So we went up to get the jitters out.”
Biegel isn’t the only Badger charged up for Saturday.
Quarterback Bart Houston, a fifth-year senior, will make his first career start. His parents named him for Bart Starr, the former Packers quarterback who won the first two Super Bowls and is in the NFL Hall of Fame.
Sportswriters and columnists are excited, too.
“You guys are probably eating it up,” Biegel said. “The storylines are endless in this game. You can’t make this up.”
Among the topics:
» Last season, Wisconsin led the nation is scoring defense and was No. 2 in total defense. The coordinator was Dave Aranda, who over the winter became the new defensive coordinator at LSU.
“We love Coach Aranda,” Biegel said. “But our defensive success won’t stop just because he’s now at LSU.”
» The first yards in a potential Heisman Trophy-winning season for LSU junior tailback Leonard Fournette. The 6-foot-1, 235-pound freight train rumbled for 1,953 yards and 22 touchdowns as a sophomore.
“Everybody asks how we’re going to tackle him,” Biegel said. “We’ve got to go back to our roots and do what has always made Wisconsin successful. That is tough-nosed football.”
» The first look at whether Wisconsin is ready for its killer schedule. Besides No. 5 LSU, the Badgers will face No. 6 Ohio State, No. 7 Michigan, No. 12 Michigan State and No. 17 Iowa — all by Oct. 22.
“It’s not even Week 1 and people have notions of what our record is going to be,” Biegel said. “When opportunity presents itself in combination with the preparation we have done, it can mean greatness.
“I love the guys in our locker room, and I wouldn’t want to go to battle with anybody else against this daunting schedule.”
Oddsmakers have installed LSU as a 10-point favorite. The Tigers have won 52 straight nonconference games in the regular season. The last loss was in 2002 to Virginia Tech.
Wisconsin, unranked in preseason for first time since 2009, has lost major intersectional openers the past two seasons: 28-24 to LSU in Houston two years ago after holding a 17-point lead in the third quarter, and 35-17 to Alabama last year in Dallas.
In this one, average quarterbacks, strong defenses and premier running backs make this look like a low-scoring day of smashmouth. My pick: LSU 21, Wisconsin 13
Other Big Ten games
Fresno State at Nebraska
7 p.m., BTN: A good way for Nebraska to start, facing a decent foe with good athleticism at home and at night. Should be an easy shakeout session. Nebraska 38, Fresno State 14
Bowling Green at No. 6 Ohio State
11 a.m., BTN: Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer expressed thanks and fond memories this week of his time at Bowling Green, his first head coaching stop. Meyer’s team won’t be nearly as kind. Ohio State 48, Bowling Green 13
Hawaii (0-1) at No. 7 Michigan
11 a.m., ESPN: About the only question left for Michigan entering the season is who starts at quarterback. Most think it will be junior Wilson Speight over Houston transfer John O’Korn. Michigan 49, Hawaii 6
Miami (Ohio) at No. 17 Iowa
2:30 p.m., ESPNU: The Hawkeyes always seem to take a couple of weeks to get going, but the talent and savvy of senior quarterback C.J. Beathard should allow for a quicker start. Iowa 35, Miami (Ohio) 12
Western Michigan at Northwestern
11 a.m., ESPNU: This is the hot pick for national upset of the week. Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck is a fast riser. Northwestern is being called lucky for winning 10 games last season. But I don’t see it. Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald is pretty good when he’s mad, and he doesn’t like the disrespect. Northwestern 24, Western Michigan 14
Kent State at Penn State
2:30 p.m., BTN: The best player in the Big Ten who seems to get the least publicity is Penn State tailback Saquon Barkley. If the offensive focus doesn’t go to him now that quarterback Christian Hackenberg is gone, coach James Franklin is doing something wrong. Penn State 42, Kent State 10
Rutgers at No. 14 Washington
1 p.m., Pac-12 Network: Rutgers hasn’t beaten a ranked team since 2009. Don’t look for that to change here. Washington 38, Rutgers 14
Murray State at Illinois
2:30 p.m., BTN: Coach Lovie Smith makes his Illinois debut after being away from college football for 21 years. The man can coach defense, and there is talent on that side of the ball, especially in the front seven. Illinois 31, Murray State 3
Howard at Maryland
11 a.m., BTN: First-year and first-time head coach DJ Durkin of Maryland gets about as soft an opener as possible. Howard is ranked 114th out of 125 schools in the FCS division. Maryland 42, Howard 7
Eastern Kentucky at Purdue
11 a.m., ESPNews: Why has Purdue struggled in football? This is the eighth straight year the Boilermakers’ starting quarterback to open the season is different from the one who ended the previous season. Purdue 33, Eastern Kentucky 17