This is the week that savvy Isthmus readers have awaited, the combination of our annual Badgers football cover story and the 33rd Annual Manual inside. We are about to draw the curtain on summer 2013, and, at least football-wise, an uncertain fall awaits.
The Annual Manual first made its appearance in the issue dated Aug. 21, 1981. It was conceived to mark the beginning of what you might call Madison's fiscal year, the start of fall semester and the arrival of thousands new to the Madison area. It does its job so well that it has become the de rigueur arrival piece for new Madisonians the whole year long.
It also has done its job so well that it has been emulated in markets throughout the country. One of the sidelights of the annual convention of the Association of Alternative Newsmedia is spotting new iterations of the manual in the member publications' display. The Annual Manual you receive today is particularly enlivened by the stunning graphics of production design artist Tommy Washbush. The AnMan hasn't had this distinguished a look since the days of Brian Strassburg.
The story of new Badgers coach Gary Andersen comes to us from freelancer Elliot Hughes. A December 2012 graduate of the UW, Hughes was familiar with the Badgers program under its former leader, Bret Bielema, writing sports for the Badger Herald and stringing for the Badgers' broadcaster, Learfield Communications.
There's a culture change going on at Camp Randall, but the turnover was on such short notice that there's a distinct feeling of the old still morphing into the new. It presages some interesting times on the gridiron for the football faithful.
Hughes is currently back home in Plymouth, Wis., freelancing and, like the football team he writes about, looking to what the future holds. One thing is certain -- we'll all learn a lot in the coming months.