Badgers football: SEC heavyweights want no part of Camp Randall Stadium

2014-07-30T10:30:00Z Badgers football: SEC heavyweights want no part of Camp Randall StadiumANDY BAGGOT abaggot@madison.com, 608-252-6175 madison.com

CHICAGO — The upcoming season opener for the University of Wisconsin football team will have a high degree of difficulty, but Barry Alvarez wanted it higher.

The UW athletic director said he sought to have a genuine home-and-home non-conference series with LSU for 2014 and 2016.

“They weren’t interested,” he said.

What was the rationale?

“They wouldn’t tell you why,” Alvarez said. “They just weren’t interested.”

So instead of playing LSU, the national champion in 2003 and 2007, at renowned Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, the Badgers will face the Southeastern Conference powerhouse at NRG Stadium in Houston on Aug. 30.

And instead of the Tigers coming to Camp Randall Stadium to open the 2016 season on Sept. 3, the clubs will mix it up at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

UW football coach Gary Andersen lauded Alvarez for trying to get the series on both campuses.

“Coach Alvarez did a great job of starting the whole conversation to getting this game and, as it went forward, it was very obvious that if we were going to play these games, they were going to get played on a neutral field,” Andersen said.

“But you would love to play it in Camp Randall. Going down to Death Valley would be a great experience, a very difficult place to play.”

Wedged between those outings with LSU is another season-opening neutral-site game with another member of SEC royalty. UW has signed up to play Alabama at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Sept. 5, 2015.

Alvarez said Alabama, the national champion in 2009, 2011 and 2012, had no interest in a home-and-home series that involved Madison and Tuscaloosa.

“I’d love to do it,” he said. “I’ve approached a lot of those (SEC) schools. I have one that we’re talking to for a home-and-home, but we’re just in the infant stages of it.”

No, it’s not that one.

“It’s not Arkansas,” Alvarez said of the program that now employs former Badgers coach Bret Bielema, “so I’ll save some people some running around and speculating.”

Alvarez and Andersen said they’d like to have a big-time intersectional game on the Badgers’ schedule every season. That’s a departure from

recent chamois-soft slates, a process driven by the new College Football Playoff and its strength-of-schedule component.

“You’re starting to see games — good intersectional games — pop up because people know that strength of schedule is going to factor in,” said Alvarez, who is on the 13-member CFP selection committee that will choose the four semifinalists.

Alvarez said UW, which has won three of the past four Big Ten Conference titles, is looking down the road at a variety of scheduling wrinkles.

The Big Ten currently plays an eight-game schedule and will go to nine in 2016. Andersen said recently a 10-game Big Ten slate is inevitable.

What about Alvarez?

“Ooh, that would be tough, but I’d love to play 10 games,” he said.

The challenge, Alvarez said, would be lining up two non-conference home games every season, especially now that Football Championship Subdivision schools are off-limits by Big Ten decree.

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(43) Comments

  1. gabadger
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    gabadger - August 04, 2014 6:51 am
    Correction. LSU played the Badgers 1st in Madison in '71. At LSU in '72. Bert Jones was #1 qb in '72. Played some in '71 until the 2nd half when LSU'S option qb came in and killed the Badgers.
  2. Runrunrun
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    Runrunrun - August 01, 2014 4:05 pm
    In Season Neutral site games are a kick in the teeth and pocketbook to season ticket holders. Tkts to the game in Houston were $200 and you can bet they will be the same for Lambeau, if you can get them. Glad I have spent all these 40 years as a season ticket holder only to see a premier game moved to Lambeau. Ouch!
  3. seered
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    seered - August 01, 2014 8:44 am
    Obviously by the response here this is an interesting subject. I suggest that Baggot dig a little deeper into this and do a second article, rather than building a nothing story around an Alvarez comment.
    I would like to know the real reasons.
    Afraid, no
    money, no
    civil war history, no
    hostile crowd, no
  4. w8rh3wk5
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    w8rh3wk5 - August 01, 2014 3:44 am
    No SEC team is "scared" to play at Madison. Its all about the money.
  5. Bruddaman
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    Bruddaman - July 31, 2014 11:59 pm
    Wisconsin fans: Please read Jim Kleinpeter's article on NOLA.com about the LSU vs Wisconsin series. Since Alvarez made his "claim", Kleinpeter has questioned LSU officials!! According to Senior Associate Athletic Director Verge Ausberry, the possibility of games being played in Baton Rouge or Madison WAS NEVER DISCUSSED!! LSU was looking for a "big game" in Houston because it is a "hotbed" of CFB talent!! AND there is a large contingent of LSU supporters in the Houston/Galveston area!! THAT WAS THEIR MAIN OBJECTIVE!! When LAMBIEU became available for the Wisconsin portion of the series , it would be something special to play on the historic field!! So, you can PUT A HALT to your IDIOTIC NOTIONS that LSU was "scared" to play at Camp Randal!! And to those UW fans who are "saddened" that you won't get to experience Tiger Stadium, well, you WILL BE missing out on a GREAT experience!! But rest assured, Tiger fans will still be tailgating & cooking in full force in Houston!!
  6. ConradG
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    ConradG - July 31, 2014 3:03 pm
    As a badger fan this really makes me mad. And I think Tiger fans should be too.
    I would much rather see Baton Rouge, your campus, and the tailgate scene (and food) I've heard a lot about than another generic pro stadium.

    If I was an LSU fan I'd much rather spend a summer weekend tailgating at Camp Randall, hanging out at the Union Terrace, and checking out Madison. Instead they are expecting you to go to a dump of a town with no airport and AppleBees is considered fine dining, then tailgating at the most overrated venue in sports in a parking lot between KMart and ChuckECheese.

    Not sure how Badgers fans acted before I was born, but I can assure you some things have changed since the last time LSU visited wisconsin.
  7. Peewee Roberts
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    Peewee Roberts - July 31, 2014 10:33 am
    Last September, Alabama canceled a home-and-home series with Michigan State slated for 2016-17. Citing the uncertainty of future schedules, it also postponed a home-and-home with Georgia Tech for 2019-20.

    At the time, Saban said it was hard to ignore the financial impact of neutral-site games, which often provide the participating schools with multi-million dollar checks.

    Alabama received a $4.7 million check when it played Michigan in 2012. Last year's Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game payout netted the Crimson Tide and Hokies roughly $2.5 million apiece. Michigan and Florida will each receive $6 million when they face each other in Dallas in 2017.
  8. Peewee Roberts
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    Peewee Roberts - July 31, 2014 10:32 am
    Last September, Alabama canceled a home-and-home series with Michigan State slated for 2016-17. Citing the uncertainty of future schedules, it also postponed a home-and-home with Georgia Tech for 2019-20.

    At the time, Saban said it was hard to ignore the financial impact of neutral-site games, which often provide the participating schools with multi-million dollar checks.

    Alabama received a $4.7 million check when it played Michigan in 2012. Last year's Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game payout netted the Crimson Tide and Hokies roughly $2.5 million apiece. Michigan and Florida will each receive $6 million when they face each other in Dallas in 2017.
  9. Bruddaman
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    Bruddaman - July 31, 2014 9:24 am
    "NaH...they're scared. Pretty obvious really"?? Yoopermn, you are obviously (pardon the expression) "bat sh!t crazy"!! To whom would it be "obvious"?!? To some IDIOTIC UW sports writer & his "willfully blind" minions?!? Perhaps you, and the author, should educate yourselves?!? Every other year LSU plays AT Alabama (winners of 3 BCS titles in the last 5 years) facing a crowd of 100K+ of the most reviled fan bases in CFB (tree-poisoning, tea-bagging, fighting, murdering fan base)!! Every other year LSU goes on the road to play Auburn, winners of 2010 BCS title game & loser of the 2013 one. Also with an angry crowd in excess of 80K wild fans. Every other year, LSU ALSO goes on the road to play at Florida, winners of two BCS titles in the last decade. Also in a stadium that holds more than 80K die-hard Gator fans. Within the past decade or so, LSU has also played home & away series with Washington (Pac12), Arizona State (Pac12), Virginia Tech (ACC), West Virginia (Big12 now), etc. etc..

    So, you're telling me that it's "obvious" that LSU is "scared" to play at Camp Randal?? Yeah, riiiggghhhttt!! LUDICROUS!! They play the likes of Florida, Auburn, & Bama EVERY YEAR, but they're "scared" of UW!?!? Let's think about this?!? Which is more "intimidating"?? Playing AT Camp Randal in early September in front of 81K with the temperatures in the 70s?!? Or playing AT Florida in October in front of 89K with temperatures in the 80s?!? Or maybe AT Auburn in front of 88K with temps in the 80s?!? In fact, the weather would most likely be "warmer" playing Bama in early November than UW in early September?!? Bryant-Denny with 100K+ fans or Camp Randal with 81K?? Hmmm?? Which is "more intimidating"?? If you ACTUALLY come to the conclusion of Camp Randal, then it has become "obvious" to EVERYONE, with the SLIGHTEST college football acumen, that you are not too bright!!!
  10. HockeyTeam
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    HockeyTeam - July 31, 2014 8:50 am
    First off it's 'Geaux Tigers'

    Second Wisconsin IS NOT afraid to go to Baton Rouge. That was the idea.
  11. HockeyTeam
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    HockeyTeam - July 31, 2014 8:46 am
    Exposure? Oh my god your right! Wouldn't it be great if the games of these southern schools could somehow be captured and viewed by people not at the game? Maybe in the future such technology will be available.
  12. Beeee K
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    Beeee K - July 31, 2014 3:35 am
    Meister: "... I'm an Arkansas grad..."

    All we needed.
  13. Meisterhog
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    Meisterhog - July 31, 2014 3:12 am
    There's a lot of good comments here. LSU isn't going to Madison cuz' those no advantage. Play in Htown where I live? There's been an on and off turf war between A&M and LSU for years. Jerry World may have already been taken, but north Texas is not traditional LSU or A&M territory. At Jerry World, ticket buyers may have to donate $125 a seat to the school whose side you want to sit on to fulfill the guarantees Jerry makes. With A&M in the SEC LSU wants to plant their flag in the Houston-Galveston-East Texas recruiting fields. Personally, I'm an Arkansas grad and would play at Camp Randall forever if you would take B back! And our guy who hired him. We've been playing LSU on Thanksgiving weekend but are going to lose that slot to A&M because of the recruiting wars. Actually, I think Camp Randall is a classic old dump of a stadium with a lot of character-great place for a football game. Where else can someone in the apartment across the street throw you a fresh bottle of Jack?!
  14. lsutigers
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    lsutigers - July 31, 2014 12:11 am
    I always pulled for Wisconsin as a LSU fan against teams like Michigan, but noe I can'y wait to beat their ass in the opener. GEAUX TIGERS!
  15. Bullneck14
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    Bullneck14 - July 30, 2014 5:32 pm
    This is a totally ridiculous article written by a Wisconsin homer to make their fan base feel like they are something special.

    Why would LSU or Alabama be afraid to play Wisconsin in Camp Randall Stadium or anywhere else for that matter. LSU has won two National Championships (3 overall) in the last 10 years and Alabama has won three BCS NCs ( 15 overall) in the same time while Wisconsin has never won any National Championships in their entire history.

    LSU has already played Wisconsin twice and beat them both times with one being in Camp Randall Stadium. The first game was played in Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge against Wisconsin and their big time running back "Rufus The Road Runner Ferguson" from Florida and he was completely shutdown by LSU's defense and the Tigers won decisively. When LSU played the Badgers in Camp Randall, those fans were rude and even throwing bottles at the LSU players. Those fans were not only rude but they totally lacked any class at all and that goes for the local Newspaper writer who called LSU the Lilly White Tigers and tried to make a racial and sectional incident out of the game. LSU did not have Black players in those days and he also tried incite the fans because LSU is a Southern Team. Talk about prejudice and hatred, as no one has ever treated LSU like they were treated in that game.

    Those Badger fans didn't represent good sportsmanship or anything to be proud of, but it was just an expression of Northern Hatred of a Southern team they were scared of playing. LSU still won the game in a good game with All American QB Bert Jones.

    Today, however LSU is no longer the Lilly White Tigers as they have almost 60% Black players, so I wonder what the Wisconsin writer will try to say about LSU this time.

    Today, CFB games played at neutral sites is all about Money and exposure. Houston is all about exposure and recruiting for both teams and playing in Lambeau has the same impact. So suggesting that LSU would be afraid to play in Camp Randall is ludicrous and only the dense brain could come up with that scheme.

    If Wisconsin really wants to really know what intimidation in CFB is all about then come play LSU in Tiger Stadium if you think Camp Randall is something to worry about. Tiger Stadium is ranked as the toughest place to play every year in CFB and they don't throw bottles at you nor call you racist names, but they do holler loud for the Tigers.

    LSU is 7-4-1 against the Big 10 all time so LSU is not afraid to play any Big 10 team anywhere at any time.

    Game in Houston Texas. Score ----- LSU 24 Wisconsin 10

    Goooooo Tigers
  16. somecleverscreenname
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    somecleverscreenname - July 30, 2014 3:53 pm
    “They wouldn’t tell you why,” Alvarez said. “They just weren’t interested.”

    Yeah, after the TCU BS Alvarez tried to sell us, we're supposed to believe this? Nope.
  17. CajunPatriot
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    CajunPatriot - July 30, 2014 3:48 pm
    Alternate realities for Badger writers and fans? You say it best, Bruddaman!
  18. CajunPatriot
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    CajunPatriot - July 30, 2014 3:41 pm
    Money is a great consideration since neutral sites bring the profits to the school, not to the conference. But, the second reason is almost as important as the first: recruiting. LSU wants to recruit more from the Houston area. Thus the Houston venue. LSU also wants a much wider exposure and recruiting possible from the Wisconsin area, thus Lambeau. Also, Lambeau is such a legendary place that it will receive much media buzz and coverage and the players will be excited to play there.

    Somehow the partisan writer ignores the obvious which some greater research could have revealed. I know journalism died some decades ago, but it would be nice to have an attempt at it to be made.
  19. saintb
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    saintb - July 30, 2014 2:11 pm
    Are all of you people so dense? It's all about recruiting. Houston is a prime recruiting zone for LSU. They aren't scared of going to Wisconsin to play. But playing at Lambeau gives more exposure to northern recruits.
  20. Yoopermn
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    Yoopermn - July 30, 2014 1:58 pm
    Nah..they're scared. Pretty obvious really. Sorry. Could've proved that theory wrong by going with the home - home, or giving a good reason, but nope. Scared. They know it'd be very tough to win in Madison, as it'd be for the badgers to win in LA. Neutral sites are not opposing stadiums, not matter how close to home for one team.
  21. matt90210
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    matt90210 - July 30, 2014 12:46 pm
    Why did Alabama back out of a series with Michigan State??

  22. matt90210
    Report Abuse
    matt90210 - July 30, 2014 12:44 pm
    Alabama just backed out of a series with Michigan State because they wanted a game in Tuscaloosa and another game in Texas instead of East Lansing. Surprisingly Michigan State did not want that agreement.
  23. Bengal tiger
    Report Abuse
    Bengal tiger - July 30, 2014 11:59 am
    This article completely misses the point.

    Neutral site games are not included in any conference television packages, so all of the television money goes directly to the schools. In a home-and-home, the TV money goes to the conferences. So whoever is playing the away game is losing money on the trip, while both teams get a big payday for both neutral site games.

    This stuff ain't hard, and it has nothing to do with fear.
  24. Michael Vohland
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    Michael Vohland - July 30, 2014 11:57 am
  25. fransworld
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    fransworld - July 30, 2014 11:52 am
    Probably all the drunken and rude Badger football fans hassling opponent teams fans played into it too.
  26. QuestionEverything
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    QuestionEverything - July 30, 2014 11:17 am
    Notre Dame has had a "weather" arrangement (after 33 years of Midwest Novembers) with USC since 1959 when USC's alternate year visit to South Bend became an October date, while Notre Dame continues to play in Los Angeles on the Thanksgiving Day weekend. It might be more difficult for UW to arrange for the teams from a warmer climate in the Fall, but with all the open dates these days, not impossible. And WHEN is Wisconsin going to get Notre Dame back on their schedule? Still smarting from the Heisman Trophy winner John Huarte's passes to Jack Snow in the 1964 upset of the Badgers? It's been fifty years, Barry, and you coached (wonderfully!!!) for Lou Holtz at Notre Dame! DoIT...
  27. Friendly Foe
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    Friendly Foe - July 30, 2014 11:04 am
    Friend--Wisconsin is rated #8 in all time cheaters. LSU is not even in the Top 25 and never has had a major violation in football.

    SOURCE: http://www.cowboysrideforfree.com/2011/7/15/2275091/the-top-25-dirtiest-athletic-programs-in-college-history-iv-cheat
  28. Maui Jim
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    Maui Jim - July 30, 2014 10:56 am
    Barry would "love to play" 10 B10 games.......since when? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't remember him ever pushing for a larger in conference schedule. His m.o. has been four patsies and win two conference games and become bowl eligible.
  29. kevinnelson
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    kevinnelson - July 30, 2014 10:55 am
    Alabama schedules a game with you on a neutral site at you're whining because they won't travel to Madison? How stupidly silly.
  30. Friendly Foe
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    Friendly Foe - July 30, 2014 10:48 am
    More than a jerk like you can afford. By the way--LSU has never had a major violation in football. What really is funny guess who is #8 in all time NCAA major infractions. Go ahead--make a wild guess hotshot.


    PS: WISCONSIN is the answer
  31. Bruddaman
    Report Abuse
    Bruddaman - July 30, 2014 10:46 am
    Wait a minute!?!? Let me make sure that I'm getting this right!?!? The author is suggesting that LSU & Bama are "scared" to play at Camp Randal?? The winners of FIVE BCS titles in the past 12 years are "scared" to play an "away" game at Wisconsin???? Right!!!! My God if you believe THAT, then you are REALLY stupid!! Let's look at the series as it stands now!? In 2016 when the Tigers face UW in the opener, where is THAT game played?? Green Bay?? That's actually IN Wisconsin, right?? NEWS FLASH FOR YOU: Houston is actually NOT in Louisiana!! So, to imply, infer, or insinuate that LSU is "scared" to play an "away" game is ASININE!! The TWO reasons that LSU is playing the badgers in Houston?? Money & recruiting!?!? It ALWAYS comes down to those 2 things!! And rest assured, the "worst" place to play as a "visiting team" is NOT in Wisconsin!! Without a doubt, that would be Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge!! New & improved to over 102,000 die-hard Tiger fans who have been "tailgating" since Thursday night?!? Fans SO LOUD & rabid that they caused an earthquake in 1988?!? What could possibly draw the Tigers away from Death Valley?!? Money & recruiting!! Geaux TIGERS!!
  32. Muchmaligned1
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    Muchmaligned1 - July 30, 2014 9:26 am
    How much are they paying the Tigers this season? Who's taking classes for your great athletes this season? How much of an increase will Les screw... errrr... leverage the school for this season? Good luck.

    On Wisconsin!
  33. Friendly Foe
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    Friendly Foe - July 30, 2014 9:04 am
    QUOTE: The difference between going to Minnesota or Penn State a couple of years ago and going to Wisconsin is they might lose at Wisconsin.

    REPLY: Are you serious? Anyone can lose, but based on history it would likely be the Badgers

  34. Friendly Foe
    Report Abuse
    Friendly Foe - July 30, 2014 9:01 am
    What happened to my paragraphs in my post below?
  35. Friendly Foe
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    Friendly Foe - July 30, 2014 9:00 am
    As an LSU fan I can guarantee you that LSU has no fear of playing anyone. We played in Madison when I was a young man many years ago. Frankly, I witnessed the most abusive crowd I have ever been around. Bottle were thrown at our players to the point the players were ordered to not remove their helmets. However, this was the early 70's and times have changed. I know many are reading this crying BS, but it doesn't change the facts.

    Nevertheless, I have attended H&A scheduled games with Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Ohio State, USC, Washington, West Virginia, Arizona, Arizona State, Va Tech, North Carolina, and countless other games. LSU always plays H&A games with good teams. Why they don't want a H&A series with Wisconsin surprises me. Especially since we have H&A games scheduled with UCLA and Syracuse. I would guess it has to do with games already scheduled. As to Lambeau Field & Houston games with Wisconsin I expect LSU to win both, but then I am an LSU fan so that is expected. LSU is very young this season, but still loaded with great athletes with great speed and size.

    Believe it or not I have been a closet fan of Wisconsin for over 10 years and watch your games live or recorded every week in season. I have a friend whose son was a player for the Badgers and like most teams if you get attached after becoming familiar with the kids and coaches. I also am a fan of Coach Andersen. He is a rock solid coach.
  36. w8rh3wk5
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    w8rh3wk5 - July 30, 2014 8:56 am
    Neutral sight games revenue is split accordingly. I don't know what the numbers are but the Badgers will get money opening in Houston, Dallas, Green Bay the next three years.

    Alabama went at PSU
    Texas and USC have gone to Ohio St
    Notre Dame has a home and home series with Michigan, Purdue, Mich St
    USC went to Minnesota
    Oregon and Michigan St have a home and home scheduled starting this season
  37. HockeyTeam
    Report Abuse
    HockeyTeam - July 30, 2014 8:36 am
    The Badgers are already giving up a home game by going to Houston and Green Bay with LSU and to Arlington with 'Bama.

    Bottom line is top SEC schools have little to gain and everything to lose by playing Wisconsin. A loss to Wisconsin probably knocks them out of the National Championship picture, while a win doesn't necessarily make them a leader for play-off consideration.

    The difference between going to Minnesota or Penn State a couple of years ago and going to Wisconsin is they might lose at Wisconsin.
  38. philfan05
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    philfan05 - July 30, 2014 8:32 am
    If I remember correctly- the Badgers get like 25k tickets, LSU gets like 20k tickets and the rest will be sold to the general public. If you aren't high on Badger points, etc you probably aren't going to be 1 of the 25k. I'm sure all the top donors will be given first crack and will probably be able to buy 4-6 tickets each.
    I have to believe this will be one of the hardest tickets to get in WI and will be going for $500-1000 on Stubhub.
  39. philfan05
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    philfan05 - July 30, 2014 8:28 am
    Exactly. Alabama and LSU are not afraid to play any Big 10 team anytime, anywhere. It always comes down to money.
  40. w8rh3wk5
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    w8rh3wk5 - July 30, 2014 8:12 am
    I find it hard to believe that top tier teams like Alabama, USC, Texas, etc have a problem coming to Madison when they have gone to Penn St, Michigan, Ohio St, Minnesota, etc.

    I think the bigger problem is that UW doesn't want home and home series and need to maximIze home games which adds revenue
    Report Abuse
    ABDGRFN - July 29, 2014 8:01 pm
    Call me a difficult sell if you will but I will be a little hard to convince on this one. We are eager to get an upgrade in home games, in or out of conference and I am hearing this. I find it hard to believe LSU and Bama are afraid to come to Madison.
    What happens in 2016 to the season ticket holders? Are we in at Lambeau with our ticket fees or do we get only 6 games that year.
  42. RichardSRussell
    Report Abuse
    RichardSRussell - July 29, 2014 7:46 pm
    I'd love to host Miami in December. But, from October thru the end of regular season, it's all Big 10 all the time, and I guess I really can't complain about that.
  43. Cornelius_Gotchberg
    Report Abuse
    Cornelius_Gotchberg - July 29, 2014 7:23 pm
    They wouldn't want to come here in August/September?

    I imagine November would be out of the question?

    Bunch of wusses!


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