The scene in Kalamazoo is one of those that gives the smaller venues in college football a great reputation. The fans that fill Waldo Stadium are lively, devoted, and help to make Western Michigan football relevant.
Not only were the Broncos entering this game undefeated at 7-0, they were hosting their first game as a ranked team in program history – this got WMU fans to cram themselves into Waldo Stadium.
Some folks may react unfavorably about the move to InfoCision Stadium from the classic Rubber Bowl that hosted Zips games since 1940. However, the venerable old stadium required much repair, and the dream of a brand new facility on campus drew closer to reality. In 2009, Akron opened InfoCision Stadium and parked it right amongst the hotspots in campus. The excitement for this new arena certainly had justification. It towers high off the main strips in campus. Akron University has fallen into the rat race for the newer and better when it comes to stadiums. However, InfoCision Stadium, other than its name, has clung to many traditional aspects of what a college football atmosphere is all about.
Coming off their first bowl victory, Appalachian State appeared fit to be in the FBS and primed to return to bowl season. Akron was also coming off of a successful bowl victory, and a victory over the Mountaineers would certainly keep them on pace to return.
Finally, it paid off. Wisconsin’s insistence on scheduling a high profile opening game reaped some benefits. After falling short to LSU in 2014 and Alabama in 2015, the Badgers chalked up a victory in the highly anticipated rematch against LSU at historic Lambeau Field. Underdog status be damned. The Badgers are for real.
The seal has been broken on the 2016 college football season, and Arkansas state is part of the jubilation that is exploding the lid. Jonesboro is one of those tiny college towns that comes alive on game day, and with Toledo in town, A-State fans were painting the town red.
Doyt L. Perry Stadium, fondly named “The Doyt,” is the home of Bowling Green football. The construction is rather typical for a Middle American Conference arena. It’s small, yet cozy and certainly comes with devoted fans, making this place uninviting for visitors. In 2007, they tore out the north grandstand and made room for the modern and impressive Sebo Athletic Center, which houses offices, locker rooms, band seating and luxury suites. This newer addition clashes somewhat with the original structure that completes the rest of the stadium. But, the charm of “The Doyt” still remains.
One of the hot topics of the 2014 football season has been the collapse of the Big Ten conference. No team was able to win the marquee games of the nonconference season, and worse yet, they have been losing games that should have been walks in the park. Last week for instance, two Mid-American Conference foes upset Big Ten teams when Northern Illinois toppled Northwestern and Central Michigan clobbered Purdue.
Surely, this week would be better, right?
The College Football Tour tailgate was surrounded by hues of Husky red and Wildcat purple…and swarms of bees. If NU was playing Georgia Tech, we could chalk it up to irony. Instead, it was plain annoying. However, it didn’t sting our enthusiasm on this gorgeous day in Evanston for the battle of “Who’s the best in Illinois?” With the Fighting Illini struggling for relevancy and the Wildcats scrambling to crawl out of the losing-streak quicksand they put themselves into last year, Northern Illinois has surfaced at the top with an opportunity today to make it official.
Riding the red line in Chicago on this day took an entirely different meaning. Badger fans who crossed the state line, and alums living in Chicago who had yanked their favorite Wisconsin tee off the hanger, all packed the el train with red as it zipped its way downtown and unloaded a steady red stream at the Roosevelt stop. Fans from both sides began to merge near Grant Park and banter back and forth while walking under Lake Shire Drive to get to Soldier Field. This home to the Chicago Bears became “Huskie Country” for the day.