LOS ANGELES - Badger fans packed the street in front of the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday for the first official pep rally before Tuesday's Rose Bowl matchup with Stanford.
Consistent with reports of a smaller Wisconsin contingent this year, the crowd at the pep rally was noticeably smaller. Last year, an estimated 30,000 fans lined the Santa Monica Pier.
Sunday's gathering consisted of somewhere around 3,000 people.
But, to the credit of those who came out, the rally was boisterous.
Take Diane and Craig, a couple who attended the rally.They didn't show up just to cheer on the Badgers.
They were there also to celebrate themselves.17953186
"Right now, I'm still living in Alaska and Greg is in Wisconsin getting his Ph.D," said Diane. "This is only the second time we've seen each other since August, so it's a big day for us to come to the Rose Bowl."
Diane traveled the 4,000 miles from Juneau to see Craig. Oh, and to see Wisconsin pull off a victory.
Their future memories started with Sunday's rally.
"These pep rallies are just phenomenal," said Craig. "We were out on the pier two years ago and this is just as good. It's really amazing."
Slightly less amazing is the crowd size when compared to years past.
But that didn't deter Dan Peterson. Originally from Mount Horeb, Peterson has lived in California for more than two decades. But he still roots for the cardinal. Wisconsin cardinal, that is.
Others in the crowd came from as far away as Hong Kong and Australia, proving that it's not just quantity but the quality of the faithful fans who are helping to bring the underdog Badgers a victory on Tuesday.
Badger fans also banded together to sell out a New Year's Eve reception Monday night.
Surely fans in attendance are hoping that ringing in 2013 won't be the only reason to celebrate during their California adventure.