Texas & Scheduling
I was in Austin, Texas for a long weekend. I didn't realize it until we got there, but it was a game weekend and so in addition to musicians and bats, the town was full of burnt orange-clad football fans.
We didn't want or have tickets to the game, but we were curious how the tailgating scene compared to Wisconsin. Some observations:
- It's seriously spread out. We were perusing vintage shops on South Congress, miles away from the stadium, and there were RVs parked and lots of burnt orange
- 6th Street is dead. I was kind of surprised how mellow 6th Street was before the game. There were a few people walking around, but none of the bars (the few that were even open) had more than a half dozen people in them.
- No one razzed Texas Tech fans. Maybe they were afraid they were packing heat or maybe Texas fans are just nice.
- Texas lady fans have a wide variety of cute burnt orange dresses to choose from. I was pretty envious of all of the adorable sundresses until I realized that even if I could find a Badger version, half of the year I'd have to figure out how to wear it with a long-sleeved t-shirt, tights and a hoodie.
- Apparently it's okay to walk around with beer as long as you have a koozie. I don't know if that's literally the law, but it's the spirit of the law as far as I could interpret it.
- People tailgate in parking ramps. That's right. They decorate corners of the ramp with little flags, satellite dishes (really) and the like. It's brilliant. Why can't we do that?
- Unlike Madison, we didn't really find any bar beer gardens. If you wanted to get your drink on, it seemed like you either had to bring your own or know someone (or look thirsty)
- To that end, we were really impressed with the tailgate tent cities that were set up near the stadium. It was like a Jimmy Buffett concert, minus the coconut bras and pot. Apparently people start setting up their spots on Thursday. That's dedication.
So anyway, being a part of the Texas tailgate makes me want to see Wisconsin schedule a home and home series with the Longhorns. I think both fanbases would enjoy the road trip and there's a slew of associated activities (guest lectures, etc.) that could go along with such a clash of titans. I'd think Texas would be game since they just played Ohio State and will have a series with Minnesota coming up in a few years. The Badgers are the wimps in this scenario. Seriously, look at their 2011 Schedule:
at Northern Illinois at Soldier Field
at Penn State
Wow. Oregon State might be decent, but the rest of that schedule is crap. Especially when you more closely examine the "road" games. Realistically, the Soldier Field, Minnesota and Northwestern games might as well be Wisconsin home games. Unless Bret Bielema has completely decimated the fan base by then, those stadiums will be seas of red. So, the Badgers have a year where they don't play Ohio State and only play two legitimate road games. Wow.
As a fan, I'm sick of these cupcake schedules and I think it's time for the NCAA to step in. If teams, on average, play four non-conference games then the NCAA should take over scheduling two of them. Teams can keep traditional non-conference opponents (for example, Florida & Florida State and Michigan & Notre Dame would still play) but two of their games would be randomly determined home and home series where the revenue would be shared equally by the teams. At least then we'd have a chance at consistently interesting games and athletic departments could no longer get away with chicken policies that pad their bonuses at the expense of their fans and their team's national reputation.
Posted by at September 21, 2009 12:54 PM
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|# September 23rd, 2009 8:10 AM drew|
|You would have been more than welcome at our tailgate. Where was that first pic taken? I'm having a hard time placing it.
No one goes to sixth street during the day, except during SXSW or other special events. And there are really only a few bars that get gameday ttaffic either (Scholz Garten, south of campus, is the most congested).
Technically, it's not legal to have open containers, but on gamedays everyone just ignores it.
And Texas and Wisconsin almost played this year. ESPN tried to set it up, but it fell apart when one side had to push back the return matchup a few years. I can't remember all the details. It's too bad, because Madison is usually cited as one of the best road trip destinations.
|# September 23rd, 2009 8:16 AM kris|
|Looking at a map, I think it was probably around 15th & Trinity, so we were just south of that beer garden. Darn.
I think Texas fans would love Madison too. I think they'd fall in love with the crisper fall weather and would get a kick out of the craziness of the beer gardens compared to the mellowness of the Texas tailgates.