Podcast: Why the Notre Dame-Wisconsin series is so important to Barry Alvarez

ND Insider Staff
Barry Alvarez was linebackers coach and defensive coordinator at Notre Dame (1987-89) under Lou Holtz before becoming the head coach at Wisconsin, where he coached for 16 seasons and became athletic director in 2004.

No. 12 Notre Dame pulled away from Purdue late in Saturday’s game to give the Irish a 27-13 victory. It was the most comfortable win of the season for the Irish, who have been pretty shaky in their 3-0 start. But they can put all of that behind them on Saturday with a big-time matchup with No. 18 Wisconsin (1-1) in Chicago’s Soldier Field (12 p.m. EDT on FOX).

The scheduled two-game series between the two Midwest powers was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than meeting last year, the Irish and Badgers will now play in Green Bay’s Lambeau Field in 2026. 

Former Wisconsin athletic director and Hall of Fame coach Barry Alvarez played a major role in making the series happen, so Tyler James and Eric Hansen asked him to join this week's "Pod of Gold" podcast.

Alvarez, who was a defensive coordinator at Notre Dame before leaving for Wisconsin, discussed the importance of the scheduling the ND-UW series, former UW quarterback Jack Coan playing for the Irish, the success of UW defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard, Alvarez's decision to leave Lou Holtz's staff at ND for Wisconsin, why the program has sustained its winning ways, his grandson Jake Ferguson playing tight end for the Badgers, his thoughts on Brian Kelly's tenure at ND, the College Football Playoff and more.

"Pod of Gold" can be listened to in a number of different places. The audio file can be found above in this story. Hit the share arrow in the top right corner of the player if you'd like to download it directly.

Then James and Hansen made ND-Wisconsin prediction in "Place Your Bets" (27:50) before answering questions from Twitter (37:10).

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