The UW Badgers football team loses the Capital One Bowl 24-34 to the South Carolina Gamecocks.
The UW releases the names of candidates applying for system president: Raymond Cross, chancellor of the UW Colleges and Extension; Peter Garland, executive vice chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education; and Robert King, president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. King raises eyebrows for his ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). A committee is expected to recommend one of them on Jan. 9.
A homeless man collapses in front of Grace Episcopal Church on the Capitol Square and later dies at a hospital. However, Barry Irmen, director of operations at the Dane County Medical Examiner's Office, later tells reporters: "The death was not cold-related."
A polar vortex engulfs the region, lowering temperatures to minus 18.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the UW's ballyhooed Flexible Option degree program launched without the federal financial aid promised to students. The UW System decides to offer the financial aid in-house.
The Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance releases a study claiming that school districts were able to offset a $450 million cut in state aid by reducing teachers' benefits, as allowed under Gov. Scott Walker's Act 10 reforms. Conservatives say the report shows Walker's reforms are working. Sen. Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) counters to the Associated Press: "You never hear Walker or the Republicans talk about the quality of life in Wisconsin or a long-term vision."
CNBC interviews Mayor Paul Soglin about how Madison is coping with the extreme cold. "I'm not changing my day very much," he tells the network. "If a city is well prepared...you don't have to do anything really exceptional on a day like today." Gosh, he's a lot friendlier to national reporters than he is to us local hacks.
The filing deadline for spring elections passes, with few candidates challenging for 37 seats on the Dane County Board and two seats on the Madison School board.
The Associated Press reports that Brad Schimel, Republican candidate for state attorney general, is leery of criminalizing first-offense DUIs, fearing it will clog the court system. A day later the AP reports that Schimel was cited for drunken driving in 1990.
Wisconsin Carry, as expected, files a lawsuit against Madison for banning guns from buses, claiming it violates state law.