Often regarded as one of the Big Ten’s wildest and most thrilling venues, Camp Randall Stadium never disappoints. Once a Civil War training site, this massive structure is crammed in a beautiful residential area among dorms, fraternity houses, campus buildings and bars. The Camp is the perfect college venue with views of the state capital and Madison’s surrounding lakes (Mendota and Menona).
A little Wisconsin football history for you:
The Badgers used to really suck.
Tickets to a Wisconsin game were as sought after as a communicable disease. People would leave unsold Badger tickets on car windshields. Shamed football players shielded their letter jackets from view. The late eighties officially materialized Wisconsin’s tradition of being a doormat.
The program needed a major facelift, and the leaders at UW knew it. That is when Barry Alvarez strolled in as Wisconsin’s new head coach. Confidence. Toughness. Swagger. Adjectives that Badger football lacked, but that Alvarez had packed in his suitcase.
A handful of Big Ten and Rose Bowl championships later, the Badgers have become a consistent winner. Alvarez is now the athletic director helping to maintain this success.
I share this history because today’s 61-0 Wisconsin victory over CMU should not be taken for granted. There was a time when fans would come more for the band than the team, which made the retirement of its longtime band director such a momentous shift.
I have always loved a good upset. It’s part of the unpredictable excitement of college football. It’s a little harder when it’s your team on the losing end of that upset. But, if there is one thing that I have learned on my travels around the country, it is a growing appreciation for the successes of other teams. BYU earned the right to celebrate today.
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.
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.
Two weeks ago, overtime claimed Wisconsin a victim at Camp Randall. Tonight, the Badgers would enter overtime again while facing their FIFTH Top 10 opponent this season.
Camp Randall Stadium is one of the most raucous stadiums in the nation. When Ohio State visits, turn up the volume from rowdy to ridiculous. This will be the eleventh game I have seen between the Buckeyes and the Badgers, and the contests are always a national event. This one was no different as College Gameday set up its stage on Bascom Hill to highlight the game’s magnitude.
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.