After the Cardinal finally agreed on a date to engrave upon their tombstones, the greatest game ever played returns to Vilas Park Saturday afternoon for the fall classic between the Badger Herald “Gentle Clowns” and the Dirty Birds.

On a day that will soon be known as the Hindenburg disaster of Daily Cardinal athletics, the Gentle Clowns will teach a group of filthy birds what it really means to be independent.

(But in their defense, yes, The Daily Cardinal is probably the most independent student newspaper operated and housed rent free inside of any university-owned building on the University of Wisconsin campus.) 

While these delusional birds have been flying into windows trying to prove their independence, renowned local badass Riley “My Beard is as Long as My Hair” Vetterkind and the Gentle Clowns have been upholding the reputation of the nation’s largest fully independent student newspaper.

Adorned in her iconic hoodie with the ripped sleeves, Hayley “Dear Leader, Who is a Perfect Incarnation of the Appearance that a Leader Should Have Sperling will command a fearless clown posse to imminent victory.

“We’re ready to play and we’re ready to drink,” Sperling said between chugging probably too many cans of Hamms. “But mostly drink.”

The Dirty Birds’ excuse for a quarterback Ethan “Worst Bust Since Jamarcus Russell” Levy will have a hard time with the Gentle Clowns’ ruthless defense.

An anonymous filthy fowl who whispered into the ear of the Gentle Clowns’ coaching staff reported that the Dirty Birds would be without a few players too. The Birds’ sports section’s self-proclaimed Editor-in-Douche, Tommy “One Beer” Valtin-Erwin, was placed on the permanently disabled list after failing to recover from a finger injury during the last meeting more than a year ago.

“I think you’ve got a better chance of getting into a party with a SOAR lanyard draped around your neck than completing a pass on that defense,” Dan “Still in Da Club” Chinitz said.

The Dirty Birds may have underestimated one of the Gentle Clowns’ new key weapons in quadruple-threat quarterback David “I ain’t come here to play school” Hayes, source said.

With his Forrest Gump-type speed in the flat, look for the Alabama-native football deity to summon the Sweet-Home holy trinity of Nick Saban, the un-dead spirit of legendary head coach Paul Bear Bryant and the ever loyal Brandon Chicken to lead the Gentle Clowns to a decisive victory.

“He’s a perfect cross between a Tom Brady and Bo Jackson-type, with the physicality of a 16-foot bayou alligator,” Gentle Clown Teymour “Check Out My New Boots” Tomsyck said.

Under suspiciously coincidental circumstances, the Gentle Clowns will be without veteran talents Chris “I Would Have Started a Fight for the Third Straight Year” Bumbaca and Ben “Snapchat Stalking is Not Journalism” Cross.

Cross recorded the only tackle between both teams in last year’s showdown, when he punished a defenseless receiver with the disregarding brutality of the Kool-Aid Man crashing through a wall.

The Gentle Clowns will have to rely on new faces like class act Luke “Pacman Jones” Geistlinger to step up in crunch time.

“I’ll tell ya what, I love this ‘L-Murder’ Geistlinger kid,” Managing Editor Nina “I Know the Names of Every UWPD Horse” said. “You can count on him so much that he might as well be a calculator, man. Wow. He equals something special.”

The only way the Dirty Birds will have an advantage this game is if the number of players on the field equals the number of reporters they send to Wisconsin football media availability (20, conservatively).

The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook gave the Gentle Clowns a slight advantage with a -74 line for those looking to cash out in Saturday’s game.