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.
What do you call a BYU fan in a bar?
Okay, overused joke, I know. But, since BYU became independent, they have visited many foreign campuses where a joke like this is fresh. Welcome to Madison, Cougars. Wisconsin fans are primarily quick-witted and knee-slappingly funny, but this bit of humor was only worthy of a smirk and an eye-roll. Nevertheless, it is fun introducing fans who appreciate a top notch college atmosphere to one of the Big Ten’s best.
Houston did have a problem. But, they fixed it. Not long ago, the Astrodome housed Cougar games. Moving college football games from campus and into downtown professional stadiums puts an antiseptic on the energy and culture that drives the spirit of the game. With some renovations and updates, the University of Houston resuscitated old Robertson Stadium and brought the Cougars and their fans back to campus. It seats around 35,000, which is considerably smaller than most FBS stadiums. But, that does not equate to lack of noise and excitement.
UPDATE: In 2014, Houston opened TDECU Stadium – CFT WILL RETURN!
The stands did not reflect the near sell-out crowd recorded in the box score after the Cougars’ victory over the Green Wave. Perhaps it was the lack of QB Case Keenum that kept fans away. Houston’s electrifying quarterback was set to break the all-time passing yard record this season when UCLA took out his ACL last week. The lower fan numbers could also be due to the loss of Houston’s backup QB due to a broken collarbone. Although both these factors can drain the energy out of a fan base, so can mid 90 degree temperatures and a sun that just could not find a cloud to hide behind. Usually, Cougar games take place at night, but this time, the television schedule would not allow for a sun strokeless event. Rather, Houston fans were forced to fry as they watched the third string quarterback, Terrance Broadway, take charge of the offense.
First game jitters were not a factor in the opener for the Badgers and Cougars. Both teams had every right to be anxious. Wisconsin held its highest preseason ranking in seven years and title talk has swept the state. Washington State had to play their opener over two thousand miles from home in a hostile environment. Yet, no nervousness could be detected as the Cougars silenced the 81,000+ partisans in Camp Randall Stadium with a solid opening march for a touchdown. Undaunted, the Badgers returned the favor on the next drive. The way these two teams fired out of the gate made them seem more like well oiled mid season machines.