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The UW’s Homecoming tradition began with a matchup against the University of Minnesota on November 18, 1911. Neither Badger nor Gopher triumphed: they tied at 6-6. However, UW Homecoming fans and organizers still felt a thrill of victory at the camaraderie and school spirit exhibited. The idea of Homecoming was relatively new in the United States at the time, but the Wisconsin Alumni Association hopped on board. It organized an all-alumni get-together, complete with all the fall favorites — football, doughnuts, and apple cider — plus 1910s elements like cigars, vaudeville acts, and belligerent buttons reading “Wallop Minnesota.” To advertise this newfangled idea and turn Homecoming into a longstanding tradition, On Wisconsin’s predecessor, the Wisconsin Alumni Magazine, asked Badgers to come home. “Lend us your cooperation and your presence and we will make the Homecoming an annual feature of the university football season, and an event which shall stand side by side with Commencement Week as a time when all Badgers may renew their youth and visit again the scenes of their undergraduate successes and trials.” Many Badgers did just that, and a permanent planning committee was established to make Homecoming bigger and better. Since that first Homecoming 112 years ago, the Badgers have played against Minnesota in the big game over a dozen times. (The thrilling 1923 matchup, pictured above, ended in goose eggs for both teams.) This year will mark the first time the Badgers meet the Scarlet Knights on the Homecoming field of battle. Now let’s wallop Rutgers!

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