Christmas came early for Badger football fans when Gary Andersen was named UW head coach last week. The guy who almost beat Wisconsin last September, when his upstart Utah State Aggies fell just short of the upset (16-14) on the Badgers' home turf, brings an impressive record of program-building to a well-stocked, well-run major college operation. If Barry Alvarez can coach his boys to a Rose Bowl win, it will be a great end for a not-so-great year in Badger Nation.
As has been our custom since 1988, we end this year with "Cheap Shots," an irreverent retrospective of the last 12 months. It is a highly political look - it was a highly political year. It seems Republican angst reached a bursting point in 2012, and a sound rejection at the polls disappointed the disaffected. Given the divisiveness within the GOP as evidenced in the "fiscal cliff" negotiations, one wonders if the party will survive as a meaningful political force nationwide.
Meanwhile, there was much life in 2012 beyond politics in Madison, which our contributors revisit. Our panoply of arts critics shares recollections of the significant moments in theater, books, visual art and music. In a separate story, contributor Jen Herritz recalls the notable Madison concerts of 2012. In recognition of the fact that a happy city is a well-fed city, features editor Linda Falkenstein reviews the year in food. And really, politics is as much a sport as football in Madison, so Citizen Dave Cieslewicz is given leave to recap the politics of 2012 in Opinion.
So ends 2012, buried in snow. It is, in truth, a comforting return to the normal after last year's dry winter and the lingering drought that followed. Here's hoping that in issue 52 of volume 38, we're talking about what a lucky year 2013 has been for all concerned. Flip the calendar and let's go.