Road Trip to Wisconsin – Day 2

Bill's Blog

Today we (me, my wife and friend, Gene Lillge – who used to cover Wisconsin football games for the Appleton Post Crescent newspaper) had a private tour of Camp Randall Stadium. The pic. above shows us down on the field.

When I first got to Madison, the football team was at the bottom of the heap. The team had gone 0-10 in 1967 and then 0-10 in 1968. In 1968, they went 13 consecutive quarters without scoring a point and scored only 85 points all year. By contrast, Wisconsin scored 110 points in their first two games this year. In 1969, Wisconsin lost the first 3 games of the season, with their opponents scoring an average of over 40 points per game. Then – 4th game of the season – Wisconsin managed a comeback win against Iowa 23-17. I don’t think there was a brat, a cheese curd or a drop of beer left in that town after midnight. Up top, the history of the mascot, Bucky Badger.

There is an entire wall devoted to showing the history of Wisconsin football. You see some of the great players, the great games, the great traditions through the years. I was there in 1970. I met some of the players, cheerleaders and I was in the stands for all but two of the games in five years.

Wisconsin Beats Michigan.

Michigan holds a sizable edge in the series. Michigan has won the game 51 times, Wisconsin just 15 (with one tie). The last five years, the series is tied at 5-5. From 1965-1990, Michigan beat Wisconsin 23 out of 24 times. The lone Wisconsin win came in 1981 (see above). In the previous four years combined (1977-80), Michigan had beaten Wisconsin by a combined score of 176-0. Last year (2018) Michigan beat Wisconsinn 38-13.

This is THE Heisman trophy won by Ron Dayne

This is THE Heisman trophy given to running back Ron Dayne in 1999. Wisconsin has had a tradition of a strong ground game in the Barry Alvarez era.

The difference in the facilities between when I was there in the early 70s and now is extraordinary. This is an indoor practice facility – used for multiple sports, not just football. The girls soccer team was there working out when we passed by.

This is “The Tunnel” – the players will walk through here tomorrow

This is me at “The Tunnel”. The players will come through here to reach the field. It’s equipped with special lightning and an awesome (loud) sound system.

This is the football field looking south. The old fieldhouse is straight ahead, where they used to play basketball. Almost all football fields run north and south. That’s because of the glare of the setting sun to the west. There are exceptions. A domed stadium doesn’t need to worry about the sun and some fields have high decks or press boxes that block the setting sun. The Carolina Panthers said they were pretty much compelled to put the field east-west due to the real estate. The Univ. of Washington is located in a very cloudy place…and they wanted to be able to see the setting setting sun over Lake Washington. Almost all high school fields (football and soccer) run north-south.

TV camera ready for the Wisconsin/Michigan game

The first televised football game was on Oct. 22, 1939. There were just two cameras. They broadcast the game to a potential 1,000 sets in New York City. It was a dark, cloudy day and as it got darker, the camera got grayer to the point that they had to send people back to radio. Up to 20 cameras are set up now for NFL games. The first use of “instant replay” was in the 1963 Army/Navy game and was used for just one play. The NFL added instant replay reviews permanently in 1999. Here’s an interesting article on the history of television in the NFL.

Michigan truck unloading equipment

I happened to catch a Michigan truck unloading at Camp Randall Stadium.

This is the view from the top – the 8th Floor of Camp Randall Stadium

The awards and trophies

This is where they keep the BIG trophies…bowl game trophies, several Heisman Trophies. It was here that Coach Chryst walked by – I said “hi”.

We rode cities buses (just a dollar for us seniors) and stopped at the Evans Scholars House. This is a brand new house. I believe 86 former caddy scholars live here. I was Homecoming Chairman in my junior and Chapter President my senior year. My super-senior year, I was houseboy of the Delta Gamma Sorority House, just down the block. I left Madison and started my television career in Nov. 1974. More later – I’ve got to try and get some sleep.

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