Pigskin Pursuit

An eight year odyssey across the backroads of America during the ultimate College Football roadtrip.

Tag: Wisconsin 2009

Wisonsin Football – Bucky vs. Sparty

The Wisconsin vs. MichiganState game was one of those elusive perfect days of college football.There are few places more sublime than spending a beautifully sunny fall day in Madison, Wisconsin at the end of September.Madison is a quintessential college town, and arguably one of the preeminent destinations for a complete college football Saturday.We filed into CampRandall stadium to witness a classic Big 10 matchup featuring two perennial hard nosed powerhouses.

The game itself lived up to all the hard hitting action that you would come to expect from a couple of Big Ten squads.The Badgers struck first, but the remainder of the game was a see-saw battle that turned into a bit of an unexpected shootout.Scott Tolzien, the newly anointed Badger QB, threw for four touchdowns amidst an unusual Wisconsin air attack.Of course, stud sophomore running back John Clay still rumbled for 142 yards and a touchdown as the Badgers predictably dominated on the ground and chewed through clock well into the 4th quarter.This bone crushing, smashmouth running game is the hallmark of Wisconsin Football, and it’s a derisive pleasure to watch them break an opponents spirit 5 yards at a time.

Despite two cheap TD’s by MichiganState late in the 4th, the Badgers walked away with a convincing win.

Final Score Wisconsin 38 – Michigan State 30.

As if an exceptional game from the confines of the Badger student section wasn’t enough, Mindy also managed to get us a few minutes on the field during the 3rd quarter as well.This was my first time ever being on the sideline during a game, and it was an incredible experience to be up close and personal with all the action.It’s tough to get a feeling for the sheer speed of a Division 1 football game when watching from the stands or on TV.Standing on the sideline for a handful of plays, allows one to appropriately register what truly remarkable athletes are on field every week.Unforgettable.

Thanks to: Kenny for the on-field experience and post-game festivities.

Special thanks to Jason, Kellie and Kellie’s family for hosting us the entire weekend including a best-in-class tailgate with the 2009 Port-o-Potty World Tour Crew.

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The Wisconsin Student Section

The student section atmosphere at Wisconsin simply has to be experienced to be understood.I had witnessed the student section here once before from the confines of the “grownup” sections.But this time around I demanded that Mindy find us seats amidst the chaos of 20,000 Sconnie’ undergrads to give me a firsthand glimpse into her four years of undergraduate splendor.

Put simply, the Badger student section has all the choreography of a Chinese opening ceremony minus the impending threat of capital punishment or political imprisonment.Yet unlike the two other premier student sections I have attended (Texas A&M, Notre Dame), students are not formally “taught” the cheers at Wisconsin.Amazingly, this vast sea of red clad undergrads performs all of these chants completely unrehearsed.It may very well be the most precisely executed, truly “normative” behavior I have witnessed.
As far as Wisconsin student traditions go, “Jump Around” has reached almost mythical status.In short, between the 3rd and 4th quarters, House of Pain’s “Jump Around” is piped in over the loudspeaker. Instantly, 20,000 anxious students are transformed into a sea of bodies rhythmically bobbing up and down on thin rails of aluminum benches.For two minutes, the entire structure discernibly trembles, swaying under the frenzied mob for what many pundits consider the most chaotic two minutes in college football.


But “Jump Around” is only one such highlight to be found among the fans in Camp Randall Stadium.In fact there are a multitude of Wisconsin in-game cheers and traditions, each with their own self generated gesturing and dancing.These include several variations of the wave, including the regular wave, slow wave, fast wave, and the infamous “split wave”.Other full stadium sing alongs included: “If you want to be a Badger…”, “Swingtown”, “Buttercup”,

Of course, there are also a handful of cheers that would make a truck driver blush, and since this is a family blog I won’t be repeating them.But suffice to say if you bring the kiddos to CampRandall, be sure to train them on the “earmuffs” command.
Some of the classier numbers were entitled:

“Eat Sh@#$, Fu#@# You”,

“You Fu@#$ed Up”

“As#@hole…..As@#hole….”

“We’re gonna kick the Sh#@ out of you…”

“All 300 Died” (in reference to the opponent of the day, the Spartans of Michigan State)
Here is a delightful example of the above (NSFW).

Finally, as if four quarters of cheering and singing weren’t enough, Wisconsin is known for a unique tradition known as the “5th Quarter”.After the game ends, virtually none of the students head for the exits.Instead, they stick around as the Wisconsin Marching Band generously stays for an additional fifteen minutes to play more brassy pop hits for the animated students.All of these songs are familiar hits, and all of them include their own sing along versions and ‘choreographed” dance moves by the students.It’s one helluva time that makes you almost forget a football game just happened.
Finally, here is a good compilation video that gives a good overview of most of the Wisconsin student section experience, including the 5th Quarter.

The spirit of the Wisconsin student section is truly remarkable, and given the chance it would be worth going out of your way to experience it…..for all five quarters.

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Ian’s Pizza – The State Street Staple…

Like any good college town worth its salt, Madison has no shortage of pizza shops willing to satisfy the hunger of the late night post close crowd.Considering the 40,000+ dedicated scholars attending the Badger Institute of Higher Learning, having a handful of vendors of this timeless college mainstay are a must.And given the fickle nature of your average non committal college coed, having pizza available by the slice is a prerequisite.
But ask any hoodie clad intellectual where to find landmark pies amidst the bustle of legendary State Street, and they will surely point a pudgy finger or two in the direction of Ian’s Pizza.Ian’s is the staple among Madison pizza joints, and if their line at 2am is any indication, it’s a slice worth waiting over a half hour for.

Although I was eager to sample Ian’s, long lines and I have never been on speaking terms.As such, I sauntered into Ian’s for a quick bite to eat before we hit the town for a night of fishbowls and cheap swill.From among the dozens of selections enticingly tucked beneath the display cases, I settled on a familiar buffalo chicken, and a not so familiar “macaroni and cheese” slice.My enthusiasm was slightly tempered after I had to fork over seven bucks to the cashier; evidently dairy prices are suffering inflationary pressures in the CheeseState.
The pizza is straightforward and unpretentious.The buffalo chicken was traditional, and satisfying despite the gobs of bleu cheese (which is a personal distaste of mine).The macaroni and cheese, however, was an especially refreshing departure from the norm.The addition of mac n’ cheese adds another layer of gooey goodness to the slice.With the added texture of mealy noodles and another welcome layer of cheese (can you really ever have too much cheese?) the mac n’ cheese slice was an indulgent spin on regular pizza.It’s famous at Ian’s for a reason, and I highly endorse it.

Ian’s is the place to go in Madison if you are looking for a unique slice or two, and especially when you get that 2am hankering for a satisfying snack after a hard night of studying….
Just be sure to try the mac and cheese….
http://www.ianspizza.com/

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