MADISON - Maybe it's the Oregon influence. Maybe it's the stage.
Maybe it's a little bit of both.
Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema told reporters that he's planning on tweaking UW's uniform in time for it's BCS appearance Jan. 2nd.
The details are still being worked out, but expect UW to play off the name of the bowl game it will be participating in.
"I was a marketing major for those of you that don't know it," Bielema joked during his Monday press conference. "I realize Oregon is a premier school for Nike and they do a lot of specific things with Phil Knight and all that goes into being out there. It's a matchup between an Adidas school and a Nike school.
"It's kind of a unique situation because you've got Wisconsin, which is red and white on road uniforms. To incorporate a rose theme in that type of environment is going to be pretty cool."
Bielema said he still needs to finalize the look and run it past his athletic director, Barry Alvarez.
"We know he doesn't like change," Bielema said. "I guarantee we won't be wearing red pants. I do know that."
Wisconsin lost to TCU a year ago in the same bowl game while wearing red pants.
Keeping focused…most of the time:
Some of the early talk this bowl season, from both players and Bielema, have centered on staying focused throughout the course of the weeklong trip to Los Angeles. Montee Ball has gone on record to say his team was a bit wide-eyed the last time out there, and that they let some unnecessary distraction heed their focus entering the game.
This time, most everyone you talk to that will play some sort of role in the outcome of the Rose Bowl is hell bent on treating it as a business trip. They understand what the Rose Bowl is about, how it's played on the biggest of stages and most importantly, what it feels like to lose.
Though that is an admirable and believable attitude, a trip to the 'City of Angels' is also meant to be fun. Bielema is going to make sure his guys have an opportunity to enjoy what they've worked so hard to accomplish.
Part of the fun of making it to Pasadena is the area it resides in and part of accomplishing some of the team goals the Badgers set forth back in August will get rewarded.
"I'm taking them to a Los Angeles Lakers-New York Knicks game," Bielema said. "I thought I was going to get a standing ovation for that one. Only a certain amount of guys get to go. There will be little things that we get to do that are rewards for them.
"Those are the neat things."
Wagner returning for his senior season:
Bielema has mentioned in the past that only Montee Ball and Peter Konz will have a serious decision to make regarding their collegiate and NFL future following the season, but that doesn't mean other players haven't been receiving interest from agents.
Ricky Wagner, a junior and first-year starting left tackle, has been garnering plenty of interest from potential agents that are hoping to land him as a client. It got to the point that Wagner needed to sit down and discuss his options with Bielema.
"Any of my junior that have even had a limited amount of success I'll just be up front and honest," Bielema said. "Is this something that you're actually thinking about? Little birdies had been in my ear saying that he had possibly been contacted by people and was weighing his options.
"We just sat down and he came straightforward with me. He just wanted to make sure that he hadn't broken any rules with those people contacting him."
The fourth-year player will be back for his fifth and final season in Madison next fall.
"He's a real quiet kid and he's got a plan in mind," Bielema said. "He's come a long way (to get to) where he is today."
Konz still not practicing:
Peter Konz has yet to participate in a full practice during bowl prep and will seek a second opinion on his injured left ankle later this week. Bielema hopes to get Konz back for practice when the team arrives in California next week, if not sooner.
There haven't been any discussions at this point as to whether Konz will play in the Rose Bowl.
Should he be unable to play, Bielema did acknowledge how the injury could play a factor in Konz's upcoming NFL decision-making process.
"What we're trying to do for Pete and Montee, really all the guys in this situation, is gather as much information as we can," Bielema said. "We want to give them accurate information. Kids get enamored and wowed when agents start throwing out dollar figures. One thing an agent does when he hires you is he starts taking your money.
"It kind of takes a couple of years for that to settle in. Obviously with this second opinion if there is any extended medical issues it's going to affect his status."
Bielema on a potential NFL future for Bradie Ewing:
"The Green Bay Packers were in here and they were kind of taking a specific look at him. I got a lot of questions and I told coach Thomas Hammock that I didn't know if I could tell Bradie that the Packers were asking about him. He might faint."