First impressions, second thoughts and the third degree:

Championship banners will no longer hang from the rafters at the Kohl Center, news that’s probably going to disappoint the traditionalists among University of Wisconsin basketball and hockey fans.

Apparently there’s too much clutter and not enough room for expansion.

Apparently there’s a concern that having so many cardinal and white banners draped from above means some are obscured from public viewing.

The high-tech alternative is to put virtual banners on the electronic ring beam that bisects the arena.

The display will change for each tenant, whether it’s men’s or women’s basketball or men’s or women’s hockey.

For perspective, picture the content on the east side of Camp Randall Stadium, where Big Ten Conference titles, Rose Bowls and retired numbers are on display, albeit permanently.

Before committing to the virtual concept at the Kohl Center, UW officials might want to consider this alternative to the clutter: Limit the display to banners that actually commemorate conference or NCAA championships.

One banner can be used to display all the league titles per sport. Of course, national championships should get their own stand-alone flag.

Banners for NCAA and NIT berths are all well and good, but that’s where things got messy.

A championship banner should be raised slowly with fanfare, not celebrated instantly with a flick of a switch.

AN INQUIRING MIND: Because someone asked and because it’s worth noting for the record, the Brewers were 33-32 while disgraced left fielder and former National League Most Valuable Player Ryan Braun served his 65-game suspension for lying and for performance-enhancing drug use.

A SENSE OF FUTILITY: An ad hoc committee of the UW Athletic Board has been formed to improve the atmosphere at Camp Randall.

You know what that means, right? Someone else is going to take a crack at trying to get UW students to retire their infamous cheer.

Directives from chancellors, athletic directors and coaches over the years have failed miserably, so why not try the old study group approach?

Order pizza, grab a 12-pack and let the brainstorming begin.

TWO QUIET GUYS: It would be educational for us all if someone got Matt Kenseth and Steve Stricker to share a stage and talk about their approach to fame.

They’re two guys from small-town Wisconsin — Kenseth from Cambridge and Stricker from Edgerton — who happened to make it huge in NASCAR and the PGA, respectively.

They seem to have the same personalities and sensibilities. They seem to be comfortable in their own skin. They seem to have the same quiet, good-guy reputations among their peers.

Most important, they seem to have a sense of humility that runs counter to their competitive cultures.

What would Kenseth and Stricker say if they sat down together? Not much, perhaps. But that would be a lesson unto itself.

AWKWARD MOMENT: The College Football Playoff selection committee will be revealed Wednesday. Its first meeting might have an odd conversation or two, but the best might involve UW athletic director Barry Alvarez and the chairman, Arkansas AD Jeff Long.

Who makes the first inquiry about Bret Bielema? Will it be the guy who gave him his big coaching break or the guy who surreptitiously hired him away?

Contact Andy Baggot at or 608-252-6175.

(1) comment


That conversation between Alvarez and the Arkansas guy should be pretty peaceful.

"Dude, I can't thank you enough for taking that SOB off my hands. I was trying to find a way to dump him."

"Yeah, I...yeah. What was I thinking? Can we get a do over?"

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