Luke Fickell knows all about rivalries in the Midwest. Fickell was born in Columbus, Ohio and went on to star at Ohio State before spending over a decade on the Buckeye coaching staff.

While his career took him to Cincinnati from 2017-22, he’s back in the B1G via the Badgers. He knows how to handle rivalries, and Fickell admitted he’s a traditionalist in how he goes about viewing those games.

“I told somebody this morning, just in case you aren’t aware, I am a traditionalist,” said Fickell at his Monday press conference. “Rivalries are really, really, really important to me. They always have been, just the way I grew up, obviously in Big Ten country.”

Fickell went on to explain he set aside some days over the summer for the Badgers to study and learn about the rivalry games against Iowa and Minnesota. The good news for Wisconsin and the fans is that the Badgers will play both those rivalries in the B1G’s new scheduling model.

“It was really important because I truly believe to respect the rival you’ve got to do a lot of work. You’ve got to understand when you’re walking into something the history behind it and the meaning behind it and what’s going to be a little different in those games,” said Fickell. “I’m excited, obviously I’ve played Iowa a lot and coached against Iowa a lot. I think every game I’ve ever coached in (against Iowa) they ended up being a complete battle.”

We’ll see how this week’s battle for the Heartland Trophy shakes out, but it should be another massive showdown. The good news for Wisconsin is this year’s game will be played in Madison.