Formerly Camp Randall Stadium Review is part of the Punxsutawney TPOL Trip Report, where TPOL leaves the basement and outflanks COVID, at least for now.
To kick off (pun intended) my emergence out of the basement, I went to the Michigan Wisconsin game.
I attempt to see Michigan once a year. Last year’s season didn’t count as Michigan looked uninspired due to Covid (see Out of an Abundance of Caution, Michigan Should Cancel the Season). The last time I went to a Michigan road game was in Dallas to see Michigan play Florida (see Michigan vs Florida: A Review Of Cowboy Stadium).
I was told to go to Rosemont Street for a row of rowdy tailgates. This proved to be sound advice. Unlike the lamentable Buckeye fans in Columbus (see The Game: A Wolverine’s Guide For Surviving Columbus), I found the Badgers to be very pleasant. Indeed, they may be the friendliest people I have ever met. “Thank you for coming to Madison. Do enjoy yourself here. I am sorry to say that I hope you will be disappointed with the game’s result.” Beyond football talk, the people were genuinely nice. I was offered food, drinks, and plenty of background on cheese production. It turns out that foam cheese is not edible.
In another parking lot, there was an ambulance converted into a tailgate mecca. There was a built-in tap included.
A college football experience is not complete without listening to the marching band.
Before the stadium, we were invited to participate in a game of beer darts. Bold participants sit in a circle and throw darts and cans of Natty Light. If the can is punctured, the recipient has to drink. If it is hit three times, the loser has to finish the beer. Oh, College.
The frats made their best attempts to insult Michigan. They need to work on their trash-talking.
“You’ve never had Spotted Cow?!” Spotted Cow is a locally brewed Wisconsin beer. It is not allowed to be transported outside state lines. When I told a Badger that I had never had it before, he immediately gave me one to sample. TPOL approved.
When I purchased the tickets in August, I thought this was going to be a big game. I did not realize that Wisconsin was going to be this awful. I paid $236 for two tickets. On the street, we haggled 50-yard line tickets for my friend for $20. Though I kept my tickets, I voluntarily upgraded my seats.
I feel bad knocking the stadium but it needs major renovations. It is very old and despite having a capacity of 80k felt very small compared to other Big Ten stadiums (see The Best Sports Stadiums: The Big House). The concourse was packed and impenetrable. Half the people were trying to buy overpriced concessions and the other half were trying to go the bathroom. Like most college football stadiums, no alcohol is served.
Michigan did not play particularly well, but Wisconsin was awful. The game was never in doubt.
I always thought it was silly that Jump Around is played at the start of the 4th quarter. It’s supposed to get the Wisconsin crowd and players hyped. It had the opposite effect. Reminiscent of the celebration of the 2007 Florida v Georgia, when the whole Georgia team ran onto the field to celebrate a touchdown, the entire Michigan football team was inspired by the song and took to the field to let everyone know that they have rediscovered their mojo, at least for this week.
Ohio State Fans
“We just hate Michigan so much, we had to come cheer against them.” Anywhere in the world I go, there’s always a Buckeye there to try and kill the mood. Camp Randall was no exception.
Camp Randall No More
During the game, there was a ceremony honoring Barry Alvarez, the long-time coach and athletic director of Wisconsin. I do not know why they chose the Michigan game to do so, given that he had a terrible record against Michigan when he was their coach.
On this day Michigan won. While I would usually gloat about our success, out of respect to our gracious hosts, I kept it to a minimum.