College Gameday is making its 7th appearance in Madison this Saturday—the Badgers have a 3-3 record when hosting Gameday, including taking down the top-ranked Buckeyes back in 2011.
But it’s never meant more than this time around.
Wisconsin is 10-0 for the first time in the program’s history, and while many critics attempt to downplay the success of the Badgers, they boast an elite defense, a Heisman candidate in the backfield in Jonathan Taylor and an offense that has proven it can be successful if it cuts down on the turnovers. Unfortunately, that’s been a big “if” this season—and it’s not going to get any easier against a Wolverine team that comes to town ranked third in total defense.
Fortunately for Alex Hornibrook, he has the privilege of calling the top-ranked total defense in the country his teammates. Look for a low-scoring affair as the Badgers continue their push to the Playoff.
But there is much to cover before we arrive at the game. Without further ado, your guide to Gameday in Madison.
If you’re in between or done with classes, head on over to Bascom to check out the scene of Gameday—there are giveaways, cornhole tournaments and recording of College Gameday Live, so get yourself something nice or find your way on TV!
This is also the official sign-making day. If you’ve never been to College Gameday or made a Gameday sign, there are rules.
- No political signs—now more than ever.
- No profanity—the sign police at the front of the pit are stingy
- No signs on sticks in the pit—no one wants to be whacked with a wooden pole while trying to enjoy their Gameday experience.
- Roast the competition—within reason, of course.
- Show school spirit. No rules here.
So proceed with caution, but don’t be afraid to have fun with your sign.
Rise and shine, it’s Gameday. Since no camping is allowed on campus, the bold and the brave will be making their way to Bascom Hill bright and early. Yes, this is insanely early, but you can sleep over Thanksgiving Break.
Eat before you go or bring some food to eat while you’re in line—no food is allowed in the pit, although a hidden granola bar in the sock may not be a terrible idea…
The line for the pit will be along the side of Bascom, so hang out with your other tired friends, meet the people in front of you and behind you—chat about the Badgers, gripe about your lack of sleep and get ready for the main event.
For our more frequent restroom users, there will be Port-A-Potties available, but utilize them before you go into the Pit—coming out of the Pit is a nightmare and you can’t push your way back to the front.
If you haven’t fallen back asleep by now, you’re in luck! Grab your friends and your signs and get ready to head on in. I’d advise not bringing much more to the experience than your sign—bags aren’t allowed, nor is your lunchbox, sleeping bag or lawn chair.
You will also have the opportunity to catch authentic Home Depot memorabilia, including receiver gloves and hard hats.
Didn’t make the cutoff to get into the Pit? No worries. You will still have a great experience, and may actually be better off because you’re not packed in with other people like a box of crayons.
The show will kick off at 8, and we as Wisconsin students had better lose our minds when that sky-cam passes by (the sky-cam will pass by every now and then, just look up, flash your sign and go wild—pretty simple).
It’s a long three hours, so make conversation with the folks around you when the panel is not talking about Wisconsin or flashing the cameras on the crowd.
If you did not have the motivation to get up in the early hours of the day, that’s ok, I feel you on that decision—but even if you won’t be right near the stage, come see the show! There can never be too many people cheering for the Badgers.
You now have a decision to make. For some reason unbeknownst to me, Fox decided that it was critical for this game to be at 11—the exact time that College Gameday ends.
It’s a travesty, I know.
I’ll try my best to give good reasoning for each side.
Stay at Gameday: If a close seat at the game is not as big of a deal for you, keep it parked on Bascom Hill. Gameday is a once-in-a-lifetime experience (although if the Badgers remain good, we may see Gameday again in Madison in the future) and is well worth your time if you’re an avid college football fan. Hold that sign high and proud and get on TV.
Head to the game: It’s senior day, so if this is your last year at Madison, you may want to head to Camp Randall to see the seniors off. You may value a primetime spot at the game, and no longer want to stand there waiting for Corso to make his headgear pick.
There is no wrong choice to the conundrum above—choose Gameday, you will hopefully see Lee Corso put on the Bucky Badger head. Choose to head to the game early, you’ll see the hype video followed by the team running out of the tunnel.
After that, brace yourselves for a hard-fought Big Ten matchup.
Go take a nap—you survived Gameday.