Eric Martin can't hide his toothy grin. Not this week.
"I can't wait," he says, shaking his head at the magnitude. "I'm ready to dig that much deeper for a win."
The Nebraska junior defensive end with the bright red helmet strip painted into his hair speaks of the prizefight at the end of this week's considerable pomp and circumstance, the game that officially marks NU football's entry into the Big Ten.
The No. 8 Huskers visit No. 7 Wisconsin for a 7 p.m., nationally televised game on ABC.
"It's going to be a barnburner, that's for sure," said redshirt freshman wide receiver Kenny Bell, playing carnival barker.
Both teams are 4-0. The ties between the programs — Badger legend Barry Alvarez cut his football teeth under Bob Devaney's leadership — are unmistakable. And as thousands of black-clad NU followers pour into Madison this weekend, two proud fan bases will mix, drink, laugh and argue for the first time since 1974.