Game 287: Central Michigan @ #19 Wisconsin

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.

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Central Michigan University is an unexpected surprise hidden among the nothingness in the middle of Michigan. Driving into Mount Pleasant provides immediate clues that you have arrived onto a college campus. Folks decked in maroon and gold trickle around the area and it all flows toward Kelly Shorts Stadium where just outside awaits a massive party in preparation for game action. Live bands, loud music, dancing on trucks, and other common college behavior electrifies the area around the stadium. It’s a concentrated gaggle of young adults crammed together making it difficult to walk through and get to the stadium.


Game 131: Toledo @ Central Michigan

Having just arrived from Ypsilanti and the yawner that transpired there, Mount Pleasant was a pleasant surprise. The drive toward the stadium offered more excitement than the entire game played down at Eastern Michigan. Enthusiasm dripped from all corners of the campus with the epicenter of the action being the stadium parking lot. Nothing could have prepared me for the wild college party that blanketed the area around Kelly Shorts Stadium. Kids dancing on cars, wall to wall bodies, live bands and college spirit absolutely drenched the surroundings. Central Michigan easily could have been confused for a major college team. We couldn’t wait to punch our ticket and pass through the gates.

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