The 1896 Wisconsin Badgers football team represented the University of Wisconsin in the 1896 Western Conference football season. In their first season under head coach Philip King, the Badgers compiled a 7–1–1 record (2–0–1 against Western Conference opponents), shut out six of nine opponents, outscored all opponents by a combined total of 206 to 30, and won the first Western Conference championship.
Wisconsin played three conference games: a victory over Chicago (24–0) on November 7; a victory over Minnesota (6–0) on November 21; and a tie with Northwestern (6–6) on November 26. Wisconsin's sole loss was to the Carlisle Indians (18–8) in a night game played indoors and under the lights at the Chicago Coliseum before a crowd of 16,000 persons. Wisconsin did not play another night game until 1953.
Four Wisconsin players were selected to the 1896 All-Western football team published in the Chicago Inter Ocean: end Chester Brown, tackle J. F. A. "Sunny" Pyre, guard John E. Ryan, and halfback John "Ikey" Karel. J. R. Richards was the team captain.