The only thing missing in the budding rivalry between the University of Wisconsin and Michigan State is a trophy.

Not that the college football world needs another made-up trophy, but UW coach Bret Bielema believes this game has reached that level.

"I was kind of disappointed, we don't have a trophy with (Michigan State)," Bielema said on Tuesday during the Big Ten Conference coachers' teleconference. "Because it is something I think is merited. It has really gotten to that status. Last year we were both playing for a conference championship, were able to (share it). Just two competitive teams."

With Iowa off UW's schedule until 2013 and Minnesota's program reaching new lows, who are the teams left that are UW's best rivals?

Given the struggles against Ohio State prior to last season under Bielema, that probably would be the first choice coming into the season. But with coach Jim Tressel and quarterback Terrelle Pryor gone, that doesn't seem to quite be the same.

Bielema made a push when Nebraska joined the conference for the Cornhuskers to become a rival. The first meeting three weeks ago turned out to be mostly hype, with Nebraska failing to hold up its end.

So, that leaves the Spartans, who play in a different division than the Badgers.

Yet, with everything that went on between the two teams last season, it seems to be the best thing the Badgers have going right now.

Michigan State handed UW its only regular-season loss last season and everybody remembers what happened after that. The two teams tied for the Big Ten Conference title, along with Ohio State. The Badgers went to the Rose Bowl based on a higher finish in the Bowl Championship Series standings.

Spartans fans were outraged and put up billboards with last season's score, 34-24.

Then Michigan State safety Isaiah Lewis popped off after the win over Michigan on Saturday and said the team's defensive linemen were going to hurt Badgers quarterback Russell Wilson.

The Badgers haven't responded to the trash talk and almost certainly won't.

"I know some stuff popped up Saturday," Bielema said at his Monday press conference about Lewis' quote. "Our guys are kind of in a mode, I don't really worry about policing these guys. I think they know the difference between right and wrong."

Bielema then referenced a few quotes from his own players in the newspapers after the last game. Many of them were good-natured digs at either teammates or themselves.

Included in the list was tight end Jacob Pedersen's quote in the State Journal, when speaking about halfback Montee Ball's pass to quarterback Russell Wilson.

"I felt like I was up in the U.P. in my duck blind with that one," Pedersen said.

"That's what I want," Bielema said. "I want to recruit kids that know, regardless if we win or lose football games, if we're doing things the right way, people usually like that and like that approach."

As for where the Spartans are now under coach Mark Dantonio -- despite no trophy and playing in separate divisions -- it seems like the best rivalry the Badgers have going currently in the Big Ten.

"It's hopefully out of respect," Bielema said. "I have a tremendous amount of respect with Mark. I know his offensive coordinator (Dan Roushar) and several coaches; coach (Ted) Gill, his D-line coach, I played for in college (at Iowa), so guys I have a tremendous amount of respect for.

"I think our players on the field, obviously, tempers get out there and all that goes into it. A lot of these guys know each other (and) come from the same type of background and environments. I think that does nothing but add to it."