Regardless of the well monitored political opinions of its residents, Wisconsin is a red state on Saturday afternoons for college football fans.
Recently voted America’s best college football town in a survey conducted by USA Today, Madison gets hopping early on game days. A steady stream of patient parents and alumni make their way via bumper-to-bumper traffic into the capital, the wisest arriving early enough to mosey through the Dane County Farmer’s Market ahead of the festivities.
Meanwhile, tucked into their collegiate cocoon and blissfully unaware of any traffic concerns, students lucky enough to score game day tickets roll out of bed early and gear up for the big day, which will include pre-parties, four quarters of football, a fifth quarter of fun and post-parties. It’s an exhausting schedule but, year after year, our state’s brightest prove up to the challenge.
Last Saturday, Molly and I spent a chilly Saturday watching the Badgers beat Illinois to go 1-0 in the Big Ten Leaders Division. Lifelong football fans, we enjoyed the game, but even better than the action of the field is the atmosphere of a college football game.
The student section literally rocks and the giant marching band performs with such unfettered joy that the spectacle transcends the traditional time limits of a football game. Madison’s fifth quarter celebrates both tradition and spontaneity with the sentimental “Varsity” and the silly “Chicken Dance.”
Molly joined her brother Vinnie in the student section where she and her friend Rachel danced to Wisconsin native and former UW student Steve Miller’s “Swing Town.”
The last two decades have brought unprecedented success to the Badger football program. The team has made six consecutive bowl appearances, the last two in Pasadena. Certainly, we applaud that success.
But we also raised our lukewarm hot chocolate mugs to the red sea that filled the seats in that stadium, to the talented band and the frozen cheerleaders, to Bucky and his high energy antics, and to the simple joy of a Saturday afternoon spent in the fourth oldest college football stadium in the country.
Here’s a look at Wisconsin’s traditional “Jump Around”, which takes place after the third quarter of every football game.