Earlier this week, my fellow associate editor here at the Herald, Elliot Hughes, made a very compelling argument for the growing intensity of the rivalry between Ohio State and Wisconsin. That was in place of the latter’s rivalry with Minnesota.
Elliot’s argument was spot-on, but also a little eye-opening considering I grew up disliking Minnesota – in Minnesota.
While bragging about the Badgers’ superiority on the football field to my friends back home is great and all, it almost reaches a point where I start to feel sad for how pathetic the Gophers look. Then I remember it’s the Gophers.
Sure, the rivalry between Ohio State is growing stronger, but the Border Battle isn’t completely dead yet.
When it comes right down to it, there is still one exception: Hockey.
Wisconsin and Ohio State don’t meet annually on the men’s side of the ice, so how can a rivalry grow? Simply put, it can’t. So the Border Battle lives on.
In both men’s and women’s hockey, no other rivalry stirs up such intense emotions that ultimately lead to some of the fiercest fights on ice.
As far as the men’s teams go, both Wisconsin and Minnesota are floating in the middle of the conference, with Wisconsin at the No. 5 spot and Minnesota at No. 7.
Despite being two spots ahead of the Gophers, the Badgers only hold a three-point advantage. This weekend could change everything.
Much like Wisconsin has a knack for upsetting Ohio State (this season especially), Minnesota always seems to be a problem for Wisconsin hockey.
Earlier this season, the Badgers shut out the Gophers 6-0 in their first game in Minneapolis. The following night, UW struggled to create the same magic and drew a 3-3 tie.
Last season, as the Badgers fought their way back to the NCAA championship game, the Gophers scored 15 goals through four games, while the Badgers had only 10. UW and UM split the season with two wins each, but no matter when or where these two teams meet, it will be an intense game.
And that’s the point of a rivalry.
As Elliot mentioned earlier this week, any time the Bears and Packers play, it is physically impossible not to get completely jacked up for the game.
This rivalry is by no means fading. In fact, Friday’s game marks the 257th game between two of the most reputable teams in the country. While the rivalry is old, there is no way the punches exchanged aren’t packed with extra feelings of sweet revenge.
But this rivalry isn’t exclusive to the men.
When’s the last time you saw a girl throw a right hook? Well, for the Wisconsin women’s hockey team, it was about three weekends ago against – who else? – Minnesota.
Lately Wisconsin has been able to get the best of Minnesota, especially at the Kohl Center. The last time the Gophers left Madison with a win was in 2007.
Between this season and last year, Wisconsin has only dropped two games against Minnesota, winning the other six decisively.
Don’t let Wisconsin’s recent success fool you.
These two squads are among the best in the country. Between them, they have five NCAA championships and a total of seven appearances in the 10 years women’s hockey has been a part of the NCAA.
These squads basically want to rip off the other’s head.
Unlike men’s hockey, Ohio State is part of the WCHA women’s conference. UW sees OSU four times each year, at the very least.
This year, the Badgers were perfect through all four games against the Buckeyes, barely showing any sign of weakness against a formidable Ohio State squad.
Ohio State has certainly had its moments of triumph over distinguished Wisconsin.
In an off year for the Badgers, the Buckeyes ended their hopes for another NCAA championship run last season, knocking them out of the first round of the WCHA playoffs.
Yeah, it hurt, and Wisconsin probably hated Ohio State with a passion. But that hatred is completely dwarfed by any feelings the squad has for Minnesota.
On the ice with Minnesota, Wisconsin just seems to skate that much harder, want it that much more and put a little something more into each check or punch.
Hatred for Ohio State has certainly started to flare up lately, especially after field- and court-rushing wins against a No. 1 Ohio State team.
Minnesota may not be the scariest team on the football field nor the basketball court, but when it comes to the ice rink the Gophers certainly aren’t any squad to overlook.
The Border Battle is still on in full force. It’s not gone completely, and we have hockey to thank for that.
Kelly is a sophomore intending to major in journalism. Do you think the Border Battle is still alive? Let her know at firstname.lastname@example.org