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CCIW, WIAC to participate in inaugural Isthmus Bowl football game in November


DECATUR -- Every college football team dreams of a postseason bowl game and this fall, the dream will be a reality for two Division III teams when the inaugural Culver’s Isthmus Bowl kicks off in Madison on Nov. 20, 2021 featuring one team each from the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) and the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC).

“The members of the CCIW are thrilled to be part of the Culver’s Isthmus Bowl and for the opportunity to provide an additional post season experience for our student-athletes”, executive director of the CCIW Maureen Harty said. “With the depth of football talent in the CCIW and the WIAC, fans will be treated to a very competitive contest. We appreciate the support of all the sponsors who are helping to make this happen.”

The Isthmus Bowl will be played at the newly constructed Verona Area High School Wildcat Stadium in Verona, Wisc. 

The members of the WIAC are the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, UW-La Crosse, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Platteville, UW-River Falls, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Stout, UW-Superior and UW-Whitewater.

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Millikin bowl

Millikin football could have a chance to play in the postseason with the creation of the Culver's Isthmus Bowl. 

While the conference champions from the CCIW and WIAC move onto the NCAA DIII tournament, along with possible at-large teams joining the tournament, the team playing in the Isthmus Bowl would be the top team from the conference that didn't qualify for postseason action. 

"In the past, (the CCIW) has typically gotten two teams in and the expectation would be that the third team would play in the bowl game. When we broached the subject with the players, they were all excited to play an extra game, if we don't make the playoffs," Millikin football head coach Dan Gritti said. 

Division III bowl games have been a tradition on the East Coast for many years and Gritti is excited to see it moving to the Midwest. 

"With what is happening with automatic qualifiers being reduced in the national tournament because there are more conferences now, there are only five at-large bids for the tournament. Both the CCIW and the WIAC have had a lot of good football teams that haven't had a chance to get any sort of post season experience. So when they came to us with this idea it was one that was welcomed," Gritti said. 

Millikin players are currently enjoying a break from team workouts in preparation for practices to begin in mid-August. 

"Our first practice will be Aug. 13 and so we are getting close. It doesn't seem like a change in the schedule and playing in the spring and playing in the fall would be that big a deal but in reality, it feels like we just stopped," Gritti said. "I'm giving them a couple weeks where they could get their heads away from football." 

The Big Blue open their season Sat., Sept. 4 at 1 p.m. at Greenville University. 

Additional Isthmus Bowl sponsors include Kwik Trip, American Family Insurance, Uline, Hy Cite Enterprises, Eno Vino Restaurants, the Shaw Family, Madison Partners and Special Olympics.

Tickets for the bowl game are $10 and will go on sale starting Oct. 1. A portion of ticket sales will benefit Special Olympics. For ticketing and game information, visit or contact

Contact Matthew Flaten at (217) 421-6968. Follow him on Twitter: @MattFlaten


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