MADISON, Wis. – No. 14 Wisconsin is trying to get a better handle on the postgame ritual celebrating Paul Bunyan's Axe.
The ceremonial axe goes to the winner of the Big Ten rivalry game between the Badgers and Minnesota. There is added meaning this year with the 22nd-ranked Gophers also in the hunt for the Big Ten West Division title.
The winner of Saturday's game takes the division and a trip to the league championship game next week against East winner Ohio State.
Wisconsin has won 10 straight in the series. If the axe exchanges hands, the winning team typically sprinted to the opposing side to take possession.
Badgers coach Gary Andersen said the axe will no longer be on the sideline after the teams exchanged shoves last year at Minnesota.
To help try to avert any postgame tensions, Andersen said Monday a new rule would be in place postgame.
Instead of the axe being kept during the second half on the sideline of the team that won the previous year, the trophy would be kept out of sight until late in the game. At that point, it would be situated at the goal post closest to the locker room for the leading or winning team.
The victors could then ceremoniously "chop down" goal posts, take pictures, and do whatever else they wanted with the axe.
Andersen said the axe would be in the locker room of the winning team after the game, but team spokesman Brian Lucas later clarified that the axe would actually make its first appearance near the goal post.