You read that headline right, a bowl game is coming to Madison, Wisconsin.
Us folks from the midwest have long dreamt about of a postseason college bowl game featuring at least one team from the south having to brave the snowy conditions and blustering winds to play. You can only imagine what kind of bowl gifts would be good for that type of situation.
Full disclosure time: While it is being billed officially as a "bowl game," this one won't be featuring a team like Georgia or Florida.
Instead, the Culver's Isthmus Bowl will be a game featuring two teams from two of the best small college conferences in Division III. It will include one team from the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) and one team from the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW).
The WIAC is home to perennial D-III power Wisconsin-Whitewater and Wisconsin-Oshkosh while the CCIW boasts a number of perennial top 25 programs like Wheaton and Illinois Wesleyan as well as the defending national champions in North Central.
“The Culver’s Isthmus Bowl was created to further showcase the two best conferences in NCAA Division III athletics nationwide,” Mike Shaw, Founder and Bowl Game Director shared in the release of the event.
“Putting together the first bowl game in Wisconsin state history is exciting, but bringing it to my hometown of Madison, WI is a dream come true. When Culver’s agreed to become the major sponsor, everything started to come together. They have been tremendous to work with.”
The game will kick off on November 20th, 2021 at the brand new Verona Area HS stadium and it has a special cause attached to it as well, as a portion of the ticket sales will benefit Special Olympics of Wisconsin.
The way the D-III playoffs are setup, with conference winners getting an automatic bid for the playoff and a handful of at large bids up for grabs (with second and sometimes third place teams in these leagues often holding a compelling case to take those spots) this game could still end being a really fun and competitive event.
For decades, there has been talk about which league is the toughest in small college football, with the OAC with Mount Union and John Carroll always being discussed as one of the others.
This bowl game should be a fun way to add some fuel to the fire of that conversation.