The Wisconsin Badgers will play in their 10th Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1 when they take on the No. 6 Oregon Ducks.
To commemorate the accomplishments of the program both past and present, AllBadgers.com presents its "Rose Bowl Recall" series. We've asked former players either about one moment or one experience that stands out from their time out west in Pasadena. It could be from the game itself, it could be from one of the various annual pregame festivities that take shape, or it could be from after the clock strikes zero on the scoreboard.
Be sure to check out our first installment of the series with fullback Bradie Ewing from Thursday. On Friday, one of the strongest legs in Wisconsin history recalls not just his first kickoff inside the Rose Bowl, but an impromptu meet up recently.
Kicker Vitaly Pisetsky
The specialist assumed kickoff duties for the 1998 team before taking over the place-kicking duties a season later with Matt "Money" Davenport's graduating.
According to Wisconsin's 1999 football guide, Pisetsky registered 38 of his 77 kickoffs during the 1998 season, and the average starting position for opponents began at the 23.3-yard-line. Of course, this is before NCAA rules changed the yard line from where the kickoff emanates from the 30 to the 35.
Several during our brief discussion, Pisetsky laughed when recalling his moment during the 1999 Rose Bowl against UCLA.
"Being a part of the program at that time, you almost didn't dare to whisper the words Rose Bowl. It was almost something like on a religious level. I don't know how to describe it. You just dreamed it, you know? So when we clinched it and I remember the celebration, I remember we had to beat Penn State. I forget, Ohio State needed to beat Michigan or Michigan needed to beat Ohio State which was putting us into the Rose Bowl. [Ed. note: Ohio State defeated Michigan 31-16 on Nov. 21.]
"They played in the first game, we played in the afternoon game and I remember when they announced it during really it was the second quarter, the results we were looking for were achieved ... We were already winning ... but we just felt like we weren't going to lose that game. We obviously won that game. It was just an awesome, awesome feeling.
"When we finally made it, I just remember taking the field as a kicker. We always came out first, and it was just a perfect day. I mean we got to wear those red pants that Coach [Alvarez] would never let us wear, but he relented and let us wear those red pants. I'm seeing 80,000 people dressed in red and white on their home field, right? We're playing UCLA. The grass, the field was just magical. I mean it was a picture of perfection. So we went through the warm ups, and now I'm getting to the point that's just one highlight. I mean there's a lot of good stories about both Rose Bowls, but this is the one that you asked about.
"I think the whole year we elected, we deferred to the second half [when Wisconsin won the coin toss], which means we kick it off. I remember putting the ball on the tee, taking my steps. My heart was pounding, I thought it was going to jump out of my body somehow. I just couldn't wait to go. I knew it would either was going through the end line or I was going to shank it. [laughs]
Pisetsky described taking his steps for the kickoff and everyone was lined up, but he had to wait on one particular official before booting the pigskin inside the famed stadium.
"The TV judge was behind me about 10-15 yards, and I just kept looking at him, and he was looking at me and goes, 'Not yet, not yet.'
"I'm like, 'You know what? Let me sort of take it all in.' Again, I took a look around ... I'm 20 years old, is this the highlight of my life? Like is this all downhill from now?'
"I actually thought about that. I was like, 'What can possibly beat this high?' And this is the part where I said hopefully my wife doesn't read this. During our wedding, I mean it came close. It was pretty high, but I don't think it beat that feeling. [laughs] What did eventually beat that feeling was the birth of my first son, which I was like, 'OK, at least it's not all downhill in however many years, these 10-15 years from the first Rose Bowl to the birth of my first son. My priorities are in the right place. [laughs]
"If there's one point that you're asking about it would be the thought process that went through my mind right before the opening kickoff. What's really crazy is, I just saw you a month ago, we took our seats for the Iowa game a month ago, and a guy comes up to me and goes -- he actually hands me his phone -- and goes, 'Look at this.'
The connection was bad, but I knew immediately what he was showing me. I immediately recognized it was the opening kickoff from the  Rose Bowl. I kind of looked at him like, 'Why are you showing this to me?'
"He goes, 'Do you remember how that kick went?'
"I was like, 'Yeah, Bucky Badger caught it 10 yards past [the end zone] right by the stands. I mean [I] let it fly through the end zone and Bucky Badger caught the ball."
"He goes, 'I was that Bucky Badger.'"
"This is insane. Yes! [laughs] You can't make this stuff up!
"So between that, and your question and answering this way and it's all connected that way, it's pretty cool."
To note, and something I did not realize until I was four interviews into this idea, was that the Wisconsin State Journal published a similar series in December 2010. However, AllBadgers.com has more expansive answers from the players with a follow up question or two. In addition, there will be players from the 2010-12 teams that clinched those trio of berths in "The Granddaddy of Them All."