Nebraska, Wisconsin to square off in ice cream battle

Herbie Husker and Bucky Badger
Herbie Husker and Bucky Badger

Camp Randall Stadium isn't the only place in Madison this weekend where Nebraska will put up its best against Wisconsin's best.

The Babcock Hall Dairy Plant on the university campus will be the site of another epic battle.

Here's the scoop: It seems UW makes ice cream. Figures, right? The Dairy State and all. And, as Nebraskans know, the Dairy Store on UNL's East Campus serves up a pretty mean dish, or cone if you'd prefer.

So, the UNL Dairy Store is shipping some of its signature flavor — Scarlet and Cream — to Madison, where it will be served up next to Wisconsin's Berry Alvarez flavor. (Barry Alvarez is UW's athletic director and a former Husker, too.)

Bill Klein, Babcock Hall Dairy Plant manager, said plans are still uncertain, but he's likely to give store visitors a chance to taste each flavor and vote on their favorite.

Bryan Scherbarth, manager of UNL's Dairy Store, said next year's Wisconsin-NU game, in Lincoln, will feature a similar showdown.

Both Klein and Scherbarth declined to guarantee victory; not a lot of trash-talking in the dairy business, apparently, as ice cream makers prefer to keep their cool. But since Babcock has homefield advantage, Berry Alvarez is likely a huge favorite, much like Wisconsin's football team.

"It's ice cream. It's all good," Klein said modestly.

Nebraska and Wisconsin aren't the only Big Ten schools with serious ice cream chops.

Scherbarth said Michigan State University's dairy produces a flavor of ice cream to honor each of its Big Ten rivals, and they're working one up for the conference's newest member. And it's likely NU and Penn State will have a similar ice cream competition when they play later this fall.

Klein said interest already is high for this weekend's ice-cream showdown. He's getting many calls from Madison-area media about the event.

It's all part of a very intense interest in Saturday's game, he added.

"This is the best Badger team in my lifetime," Klein said. "We love the fact that we're playing Nebraska and that they're rated so high.

"This town is going to be on fire Saturday night," Klein added.

Good thing there'll be ice cream.

— Dan Moser, IANR News Service