One of the blogs I enjoy reading did a bang-up job of chronicling the Badger game-day experience for the UNLV game last Thursday night. Well, half of the experience, as the blogger’s smart phone, with which he was keeping a video chronicle of the game, died.
The post is here (http://www.nonsportsmanlikeconduct.com/2011/09/want-to-know-what-its-like-to-attend-12.html) and it’s worth the read.
My conclusion, even though the blogger was only able to take us to half-time: the best seat for a Badgers game is in front of my big-screen hi-def TV at home.
The post about his game-day experience is a wry look at the hoops through which one must jump just to make it to your (entirely too small) assigned space in Camp Randall Stadium, from the challenge of parking within reasonable walking distance of the stadium, through the assembled multitudes and vendors-of-things-deep-fried-in-hot-grease, to negotiating through the warrens in the bowels of the stadium, and then cramming yourself into the small bit of real estate you’ve paid so dearly to rent.
The pomp of the Division 1-A college football pre-game is chronicled, along with a gallery of still pictures of some of the more colorful individuals who attend these contests.
Big-time college football is a huge financial undertaking, and, as the old saying goes, to run with the big dogs, you need to bring a very large wallet. It takes a lot of grease to wedge 87 thousand fannies into those expensive seats, and I’m not talking about just paying your athletic director and head coach a million bucks a year or more.
But here’s the subtle point I took away from the post: the Badgers’ goal is to make it to the Rose Bowl. Not to win the national championship, but to make it to the Rose Bowl. That’s why they continue to schedule patsies like UNLV (the Badgers won in a rout, 51-17) and Northern Illinois and Saint Rita’s School for the Blind – so they can get the six wins necessary to be “bowl-eligible” and set their sights on Pasadena New Year’s Day.
Scheduling patsies in the pre-season as the Badgers have for decades insures that they will never qualify for the national championship. The fans by and large seem to be OK with this practice of spending a month playing games where the outcome is never seriously in doubt. There's only a bit of grousing about it.
But these are tougher times. Even the corpuscles…the old white guys in the cardinal red jackets…will at some point balk in paying the exorbitant “licensing fees” and “mandatory contributions” necessary to maintain a position in the “good seats” in the stadium.
The Badgers may find themselves in a position where they’re going to have to set their sights higher than the Rose Bowl if they’re going to keep feeding the beast that is NCAA Division 1-A football.