Anyone who stepped into Wisconsin's locker room after the Rose Bowl knew the Badgers' loss to TCU would sting for some time.
Running back John Clay and others had tears in their eyes. Defensive end J.J. Watt, who normally makes eye contact with his countless interviewers, spoke with his eyes locked on the floor, trying to hold it together.
The 21-19 setback also hit the coaching staff hard. Wisconsin's game plan drew some criticism following the game, particularly on offense, where the Badgers drifted away from their between-the-tackles rushing attack at times.
Head coach Bret Bielema took a brief vacation after the bowl, only to be reminded of what had happened.
"I saw a guy in a TCU shirt," Bielema recalled Monday at his pre-spring football news conference, "so that took me back."
Bielema also has had several conversations with TCU coach Gary Patterson since the game. Every time the two colleagues talk, Bielema thinks back to Jan. 1.
The Badgers coach didn't watch the game film until after national signing day "because you know you're going to watch it over and over and over again," he said. Bielema won't review the game with the players until after the spring, but they will watch it together.
"It's something we had to take and learn," Bielema said. "It'll be a game that I know I personally will take a lot from. ... The easy thing is take the negative. But there's a lot of positives to learn from that experience."