I was lucky enough to make the trip out to Wisconsin this weekend for the game. Although it was painful to watch, I had a great time in Madison (until about the middle of the second quarter). Here are some observations I took away from the atmosphere at Camp Randall:
- The city of Madison is absolutely gorgeous. I’ve been to most Big Ten campuses, and aside from Penn State, none of them come close to Madison. The campus is right on Lake Mendota, and every building on campus looks like it’s brand new. Student apartments were massive and immaculate. The capitol building looms over the city and creates a tremendous atmosphere. And, if you need any more evidence, their student union building has a fully stocked bar inside overlooking the lake. Check and mate.
- The party scene was very similar to Happy Valley. Like Penn State, there are several main streets lined with bars and fan shops near campus (including many familiar chains like Five Guys, Pita Pit, Campus Candy, Jimmy Johns, etc). I personally enjoyed the State Street Grill’s triple cheese “Sconie” cheeseburger complemented with a milkshake from the local creamery.
- Wisconsin fans are brutal. Although I met a few that were genuinely interested in the Penn State situation, walking through downtown Madison and the tailgate lots on game day wearing Penn State gear was asking for trouble. Insults ranged from a simple “boo” to being offered a bratwurst and asking how it compared to a particular part of the anatomy of one of our former defensive coordinators. Although this was expected, I would have never thought that Ohio State fans were classier than Wisconsin fans, but that was unquestionably the case.
- On that note, I witnessed one of the most disgusting fan displays I have ever seen at a sporting event on Saturday. One of Wisconsin’s players was injured on a kickoff during the second quarter, and after being examined by team physicians, the ambulance was called out onto the field. While this player was laying on the field motionless, Wisconsin students started the wave. The entire stadium was cheering for the wave while their own player was being whisked away by an ambulance. I was sitting in the Penn State family section, and everyone was in disbelief at the apathy shown by fans toward the situation.
- Camp Randall is situated in the middle of suburban Madison with the basketball arena and hockey rink packed in right next to it. There didn’t appear to be may lots to tailgate in and most people set up in paved parking lots a mile or so away from the stadium. The stadium was massive yet it still felt somewhat intimate. Unlike the menacing steel of Beaver Stadium that can be seen for miles, Camp Randall is tucked away in a neighborhood that you can’t full appreciate until you go inside.
- The famous Camp Randall “Jump Around” before the fourth quarter is no joke. The game was over by halftime, but thousands of fans waited around to “Jump Around” only to leave right after. The place was rocking for a solid two minutes. Kudos to Wisconsin students for all coming back early after Thanksgiving break to pack their student section (even if they only got loud on third down plays in the first quarter).
- I never want to hear the “On Wisconsin” fight song ever again. Much like Penn State sends the Blue Band trumpets around in the second half to play “Hail to the Lion,” Wisconsin sends a half dozen regiments of instruments around the stadium to play “On Wisconsin” constantly for the entire second half. There were not thirty seconds in the last two quarters where “On Wisconsin” was outside my ear shot.
- As a result, there was not much piped-in music at all. The only time I can even remember where there was music during the game was a Guido-esque “Seven Nation Army” rendition that didn’t last very long.
- Wisconsin’s team entrance video and music was simply epic. The music included gong beats as coach Bret Bielema walked down the ramp leading the team. It was truly intimidating.
- I will never forget to wear warm socks to a game ever again. It didn’t stop raining all day, and by the time we were down 28-7, my feet were drenched. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper for most of the second half.
The next observations post from your favorite and regularly scheduled observationalist John Tecce will (hopefully) be coming from sunny Florida or Arizona at the bowl game. Until next time, Go State!
9 Responses to “Observations: Wisconsin”
“On that note, I witnessed one of the most disgusting fan displays I have ever seen at a sporting event on Saturday. One of Wisconsin’s players was injured on a kickoff during the second quarter, and after being examined by team physicians, the ambulance was called out onto the field. While this player was laying on the field motionless, Wisconsin students started the wave. The entire stadium was cheering for the wave while their own player was being whisked away by an ambulance. I was sitting in the Penn State family section, and everyone was in disbelief at the apathy shown by fans toward the situation.”
Please son don’t tell me the “best student section in the country” wouldn’t have done the same thing. In fact I am fairly certain it has happened before
No trip to Madison would be complete without paying a visit to Mickie’s Dairy Bar. The butterscotch milkshake is to die for!
I can guarantee you that Penn State’s student section would not start a wave when one of our players is injured, especially after Adam Taliaferro. I’m not sure if you were at the game this year when D’Anton Lynn had to be taken out in a stretcher, but the entire stadium was silent.
There are plenty of things you can criticize our student section about, this isn’t one of them, “son.”
I was in Madison this weekend and I ran into one of the kids who starts the waves in Beaver Stadium after the game. He said that they would never do something like that. There are times when a “We Are” cheer starts or the Blue Band might start playing without noticing there is a player down, but it quickly stops. At Camp Randall, this poor player was down for a good five or ten minutes before they took him off the field in an ambulance, and for that whole duration the ENTIRE stadium was doing the wave. It was incredibly disrespectful.
I agree 100% with what you said except I wasn’t harrassed by the fans as much as I thought I would be.
I thought the fans were classless with the wave during the injured player, it’s like they didn’t even care at all if he was on the ground or not.
I agree with how awful the fans were. I was at Ohion State last week in Wisconsin this week. OSU was amazing in comparison. While sitting in section X, about 10 rows behind PSU band I had a Wisky fan tell me I supported child molestation and that by being at the game we were diminishing what happened to those kids. I heard a 10 year old kid yell to the lion asking him where his pants were and his father say that pedophiles don’t wear pants. Walking back to our car my husband and I were called perverts and child molesters.
I went to OSU expecting the worst and was pleasantly surprised, but Wisconsin fans were worse than I have encountered anywhere else- and I have been to OSU a few times to Michigan and to the Rosebowl against USC–but Wisconsin takes the prize for most classless fans!
Right on. I’ve been to all the venues you mentioned as well, and Wisconsin was by far the worst. It was certainly an unpleasant surprise. Just a shame.
Oh please don’t give me the “oh the guy who starts wave said he wouldn’t have done it”. Some other moron would have. I realize Penn State fans think they are gods gift to the world but you guys are no better than most fanbases, you have you a-holes too.
Do you even go to football games? If you do, have you ever seen how the wave starts in the stadium? It’s not a spontaneous thing, it’s started by the same group of kids in the senior section EVERY GAME, and it’s been that way for at least 4 years. I have been in the student section for almost every home game since 2008, and there has never been a wave that was started by any other part of the stadium, and Beaver Stadium ALWAYS gets quiet when there is a player down on the field, even if they’re on the other team.
Every fan base has its idiots, but you need to stop making stupid assumptions. Any moron that tries to start a “we are” cheer or do the cowbell thing while a player is down is quickly shut up by other students.
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