With Stanford University and University of Wisconsin preparing for their Rose Bowl showdown, the mayors of Palo Alto and Madison are raising the stakes with a little municipal trash talking and a side bet.
About week ago, Palo Alto officials received a message from the office of Madison Mayor Paul Soglin offering a friendly bet on the big football game, which will take place on Jan. 1 in Pasadena.
Soglin's office included some criteria: something that "would benefit that winning community" and that "would not use City funds." At the end of the Dec. 17 council meeting, Palo Alto Mayor Yiaway Yeh unveiled the city's response -- a wager with the following terms:
The mayor of the city whose team had lost will have to wear the opposing team's hat for an entire City Council meeting in January. The losing city will also have to raise the flag of the winning city and winning team a day in January. Lastly, in a truly Palo Alto touch, the city requested that the losing city hold a tree planting in honor of the winning city and involve a local service organization.
The council had no objections to the bet, though Councilman Pat Burt had a concern and a proposal. "There's no cheese bet?" Burt asked. "Maybe they'll supply us cheese and we give them Rick's ice cream, but we don't supply the dry ice?"
This week, Solgin's office issued its response. The bet is on.
"Any city can benefit from additional trees, and we're delighted that Mayor Yeh and the City of Palo Alto are going to provide them," Soglin said in a statement.
"I think it's great that we can have fun with the game and provide a benefit to a community and I'm confident Barry and the Badgers will come through for us," alluding to Barry Alvarez, former Badgers coach-turned-athletic director who is returning to his former duty after the decision of previous coach Bret Bielema to leave Wisconsin and accept a job to University of Arkansas.
The Rose Bowl will kick off at 2:10 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 1.