In what has been a longstanding tradition several days prior to the Rose Bowl, the ‘big uglies’ on both sides of the Big Ten-Pac 12 rivalry belly up to the table in the battle to win the ‘Beef Bowl’.
For the second straight season, the Wisconsin Badgers have taken home the prize, eating 619 pounds of prime rib. Those fancy-schmancy West Coast kids? Stanford’s linemen only ate 602 pounds of meat.
Before we get into the details of this year’s carnivore carnage, we take a look back at a few year’s past. This is the third year in a row that the Badgers have earned a trip to the Rose Bowl. The worst results came back in 2010-11, when the Badgers lost to TCU both at the dinner table (670-650) and on the football field (21-19).
Last year, the Badgers absolutely dominated dinner, putting away a mind-boggling 723 pounds of prime rib compared to Oregon’s 612. However, the Ducks probably had the right idea in staying lean, as they won the game, 45-38.
The coach on both of those losing teams, Bret Bielema, is now at Arkansas. In his place is Badgers legend Barry Alvarez, making a one-game cameo after winning three Rose Bowls in his time on Wisconsin’s sidelines.
With that perfect 3-0 record, Alvarez was asked his opinion — or game plan, whatever — heading into the Beef Bowl. Basically, he just let the big boys have their day.
“I didn’t tell them anything,” Alvarez said. “I was going to say something, but these guys are smart enough. Especially the starters. If we want somebody to eat a lot of beef to set a record, they’ve got to be a scout squad guy. Somebody that’s not going to play in the game.”
Of course, there was the race to see who could eat the most individually.
By all accounts, that one ended in a tie — an amazing, disgusting tie.
Stanford freshman offensive guard Joshua Garnett, a 6-foot-5, 325-pounder, ate seven (seven) of the 24-ounce cuts of prime rib during the Cardinal’s turn Thursday night. No other Stanford players were believed to have eaten more than four cuts of meat, slackers.
“He wasn’t even fazed at the end,” Cardinal tight end Zach Ertz told the Stanford athletics website. “He said he could have eaten at least three more pieces. He said it could have easily been 10, but he ran out of time.”
On the other side of the table, the Badgers had two guys that were chasing the individual crown. Center Travis Frederick, who ate eight cuts two years ago and seven last year, purposefully dialed it down this year, allowing sophomore Dallas Lewallen to go after the glory. At 6-foot-6 and 309 pounds, Lewallen was certainly up for the challenge.
He also ate seven cuts of meat, and Frederick claimed that he used his knowledge to help get his younger teammate ready for the big event.
“The training has to do with the eating regimen the week before,” Frederick said. “He’s always been a big eater. You’ve got to be careful the night before. You’ve got to stretch out your stomach. You’ve got to eat a lot. Last year I went to a restaurant and had a lot of wings and did what I could to stretch it out and took the day of fasting to get myself ready. I think he’s followed that same plan.”
It’s funny that Stanford’s Ertz mentions 10, because apparently that is the official individual record for cuts of 24-ounce prime ribs in the ‘Beef Bowl’. Back in 1978, Michigan’s Ed Muransky plowed his way into double-digit glory.
But while Garnett simply ran out of time, Frederick came into the afternoon knowing there would be no run at the all-time mark.
“This year the focus for me is really on the game,” Frederick said before the event. “I think sometimes events like this can be a little bit distracting. I do love the food here. It’s really delicious. I’ll definitely eat my fill, but hopefully not eight this year.”
And of course, while Alvarez did not directly game plan with these guys regarding the event, he is definitely breathing a sigh of relief that one of his starters is going to be able to move on the field (and not have to shimmy over to the bathroom, to put it mildly) come Jan. 1.
“I want to make sure that he can bend over the ball,” Alvarez said. “We have a lot of big guys that I’m sure can put away a lot of beef. He doesn’t have to try to impress anybody.”
All we can say to that is, On Wisconsin!
Quotes from Fox Sport Wisconsin were used in this report
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