MADISON, Wis., (WMTV) -- A Janesville native who grew up a die-hard Badger fan will be cheering for the Oregon Ducks in this year’s Rose Bowl. Sean Cullen was born and raised in Janesville. His family has deep ties to the University of Wisconsin. They even had season tickets to UW football games.
“Wisconsin football runs through my blood. I was born and raised with it,” said Cullen.
Cullen played at Craig High School as an offensive lineman. After graduating in 2003, he wanted to keep playing football at a high level.
“I wanted to play football at a big university,” said Cullen. “Wisconsin wasn’t quite in the cards for me. I would have loved to play here but I wasn’t up to the caliber that Wisconsin O-lineman hold themselves to,”
Cullen narrowed his choices to Purdue, Colorado, and Oregon. He eventually chose to become a Duck.
“I found a good home out there for myself in Oregon and I’m happy about it,” he said.
Cullen played as a preferred walk-on before earning a scholarship his junior and senior years.
“I just fell in love with they had out there, the campus, the state of Oregon, the athletics, the athletic facilities," he said. “My nickname out in Oregon was ‘Sconnie’ because I’m from Wisconsin,”
But now, the Badgers, the team he supported all his life, is going up against his alma mater in the Rose Bowl. Cullen has made his choice.
“Go Ducks, baby!” Cullen said with a smile while flashing an “O” with his hands. “It’s go Ducks all the time. I mean like I said, I grew with UW football. If UW is playing, I’m a badger fan through and through…until they play the Ducks. Then I’m taking the Ducks, hands down,”
Cullen was at the Rose Bowl in 2012 when his Ducks downed the Badgers 45-38
“I was there with a couple of teammates sitting in the stands, enjoying it. Being in the Rose Bowl too, that is THE place to play college football,”
This time around, Cullen predicts the Ducks will win by at least two touchdowns. But if Oregon loses, Cullen says he’s ready for the backlash from friends and co-workers.
“I’m used to living back behind enemy lines. I proudly wear my Bears stuff and it hasn’t been great for me the past two decades but hopefully that will change,” he said. “I am not going to be feeling good about having to eat crow and having to deal with it, but I have a lot of practice being Bears fan and living in Wisconsin.
Regardless of the outcome, Cullen is just excited to see his two favorite college football programs in the Grand Daddy of ‘em all!
“To have Wisconsin play my alma mater, my old team Oregon in the Rose Bowl, I mean it doesn’t get much better. Unless it’s the national championship,” he laughed. “I mean there’s always next year,”