Day 2 – Saturday – in Madison, Wisconsin. We went downstairs to the hotel breakfast. Normally, I have a light breakfast…coffee and some fruit perhaps. Now, there’s every kind of breakfast food ever made…dry cereal, oatmeal, eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy, waffles, yogurt, juices, milk, coffees. The breakfast comes with the outrageous hotel bill I’m charged because it’s a football weekend. We’d throw a fit if a gas station gouged you 50 cents…but it’s nothing for a hotel here to jack up the price 3 times on a football weekend. So, I feel obligated to eat the breakfast that I’m paying for.
Now, I’m five pounds heavier and I want to take a nap at 9 am. Time to burn off the calories. Madison has roads that go east-west, roads that go north-south, roads that go diagonally out from the Capitol Building – making for a few 6-way intersections and roads that curve around the lakes.
We are meeting the other Evan Scholars alums for a tour of the new building. It’s about 1/3rd mile away as the crow flies…but I’m no crow and we walk about a mile to get there.
They have a beautiful new house. When I got to Madison, the Scholars were housed in 3 dumpy buildings. My first semester, I was in the sunroom – a pleasant place to be in summer with glass on 3 sides – a place where a glass of water could be part ice if you left it on a windowsill in the middle of winter. Many of the rooms had bunk beds and one small desk. We didn’t need much closet space – I think in the one suitcase I brought to college, I had 3 pairs of pants.
The new scholar house has a pool table, ping-pong table, darts, four washers and driers. They had pictures of each class of Scholars going back to 1965. We were class of ’73. I was Homecoming Chairman my junior year and President my senior year. It’s two a room, no bunk beds anymore. There are several nice study areas. We had to walk down to Science Hall or “the stacks” at the library if we wanted to do any serious study. We dusted off a lot of memories.
After our tour, Gayle and I walked down to see Lake Mendota. There were dozens of different boats on the lake – sailboats, pontoons, jet skis, motorboats with water skiers. The sun was out and the air was warm and pleasant.
Our seats were in the 2nd to last row – first deck – around the 25 yard line – no obstructions.
In the afternoon, we walked to Camp Randall for the Wisconsin/New Mexico St. football game. Wisconsin trounced the Aggies 66-7. It was kind of a mismatch and if you look over the top 25 scores yesterday, many had lopsided scores.
The bigger, better schools often have non-conference games against significantly weaker opponents. For the bigger schools, a win gets them closer to bowl eligible and they can often play these games at home. For the weaker opponent, splitting the gate (73,080 at Camp Randall Saturday), means a big check that covers a nice chunk of their athletic departments annual budget. Example: Delaware State’s payday of $550,000 for their one game in the Big House at Michigan in 2009 was the equivalent of two years of home game revenues in their 7,000 seat stadium. Michigan was up 49-3 at halftime and won that game 63-3. Once in a great while, this plan backfires and David beats Goliath (Michigan fans – don’t click on that last link…just don’t).
After the game, we stopped for pizza, then found a TV so we could watch the Michigan State game. Next week Wisconsin heads to Ohio State. The evening game will be on ABC4. I’ll be working, but I’ll have the game on while I work in the evening. I’ll root for my alma mater, but they’ll be underdogs to the Buckeyes.