Our annual Northwestern tailgate was the highlight for those wearing purple this Saturday. Willie the Wildcat even made a guest appearance. Too bad the Wildcat offense failed to show up today, as well.
Wisconsin entered this game with an undefeated season and playoff hopes in their suitcase. A victory over the Buckeyes would secure a playoff spot for the Badgers. Ohio State was looking for another Big Ten championship and possible playoff berth themselves. The noise and nervousness was palpable inside Lucas Oil Stadium as these two conference contenders clashed for the championship.
100 and 10-0 – milestones in preparation for Michigan.
This year marks 100 years of Camp Randall Stadium, and Wisconsin’s first ever 10-0 record. The Big Ten title game appearance was set for the Badgers, but the opportunity for the college football playoff loomed. ESPN’s College Gameday set up their show on Bascom Hill in Madison signifying the magnitude of this conference tussle.
A seemingly routine Big Ten slugfest turned into a Pandora’s box of points in an overtime thriller. The Wildcats and Spartans were tied at 10-10 at the onset of the fourth quarter. Then, offensive complacency turned into a panic, as though each team suddenly realized how important this late conference contest meant to their overall seasons.
The Fifth Quarter is a nationally renowned tradition that takes place at Camp Randall Stadium after every home game, win or lose. The Wisconsin Marching Band remains on the field postgame playing everything from “On Wisconsin” to “Time Warp” to “Tequila” to “Swingtown.” Fans remain in the stadium and dance with all the traditional choreographed moves. Legendary band director, Mike Leckrone, created this postgame event in the 1970s to keep fan interest strong during the years of poor on-field football performance. Even with Wisconsin’s resurgence in football, The Fifth Quarter has remained a unique spectacle in the world of college football. Today, for homecoming during Camp Randall Stadium’s 100th year in existence, Mike Leckrone invited another legend, Steve Miller, to direct his own “Swingtown” during The Fifth Quarter.
A precipitous forecast became a much drier reality for the Badger Boiler battle in Madison. Ponchos were still the fashion, however, as the clouds released wetness on our walk to and from the stadium (nothing a beer and brat couldn’t distract from). From kickoff to final gun, we were spared rainfall. So much attention was given to the weather channel, that many fans forgot about Purdue’s resurgence, but were reminded during this gray day in Camp Randall.
Hurricane Irma had canceled, postponed, or relocated games for all the college football teams in the state in Florida, except for Florida Atlantic. The Owls traveled to Madison the day prior to the game and two days prior to the storm making landfall. The team felt more comfortable doing so since the University of Wisconsin offered to house and take care of the team as the storm passed through. Needless to say, a football game was not the main concern for Florida Atlantic.
All September afternoons need to be this beautiful. Temperatures in the low seventies and sunshine that glistened off Lake Michigan provided the perfect environment for our 7th Annual College Football Tour Northwestern Tailgate. Colleagues and family, old friends and new all joined for food, drink, and games. Tailgating at Northwestern is spread out, but there are some magnificent spots that can rival any Big Ten venue – we found one today.
At the end of September, Penn State Football appeared ripe for mediocrity. One blocked kick against Ohio State brought them back to the surface of national relevancy. One blocked kick returned for a touchdown that toppled the potentate of the Big Ten launched Penn State into the conference title game where Wisconsin was waiting.
The Chicago Cubs just won the World Series – a 108-year streak without this feat. Ryan Field celebrated by flying the W atop the towers rising over the upper deck. The NU band played “Go Cubs Go” to an all-crowd sing along. Breaking streaks like this are always cause for major celebration. Another streak was on the line as well. It’s not quite 108 years of suffering, but the Badgers have not experienced success in Evanston since 1999. Today, that W flag would also stand for Wisconsin.