It's a unique week for the University of Wisconsin football team, playing a Big Ten Conference game against Northwestern the weekend after Thanksgiving.
"We addressed that big time on Sunday, because you don't want to ingore something that's real," UW coach Bret Bielema said at his Monday press conference. "It's the first time anybody in my room, other than (defensive end) J.J. Watt — J.J. played at Central Michigan his first year and had a game on Thanksgiving — otherwise, everybody else this is uncharted waters."
That has a lot of implications, from a home game for at least a share of the Big Ten title, which has not even sold out, to questions about the size of the student section, with many of the students expected to be home for the weekend.
The first four days of the week, Sunday through Wednesday, won't change. Bielema moved up practice on Thanksgiving, to allow the players who live near by and want to go home to do so. The rest of the team will go to a downtown restaurant for dinner.
On Friday, Bielema will try to snap the players back into focus on the game the following day.
"We're going to have to talk to them, make sure they don't eat too much, probably, and do certain things," Bielema said. "But on the same account, I think these guys know, going into week 12, and understand what's expected, to win on Saturday, (more) than ever before."
One thing Bielema didn't want to address is what a Big Ten title would mean to his program.
"I'd probably rather talk about it after the game," he said. "It's great to be in this position. We've worked very hard to get to where we are. None of that really matters until we get through Saturday."