Is Camp Randall too intimidating for its own good?
Either way, the College Football Playoff Era is upon us. And frequent high-profile non-conference match-ups will become a common sight — for big time football programs that is. But Camp Randall’s reputation, as a hostile environment where opposing teams come to lose, may be scaring other top programs from even visiting Madison.
Although that hasn’t stopped the Badgers from securing some marquee games in the near future. Over the next three seasons the Badgers are set to play LSU twice and Alabama once. Competition simply does not get more intense than it does against these two SEC juggernauts. But the not-so-fun part is that all three of these games are to be held at neutral sites. Starting with Wisconsin’s matchup with LSU at NRG Stadium in Houston to kickoff the 2014 season.
Wisconsin’s almightily builder, Godfather, and current Athletic Director Barry Alvarez said that he wanted a home-and-home series with both universities. But neither LSU or ‘Bama expressed any interest in playing at Camp Randall Stadium.
Per the report by Madison.com, Alvarez said,
“They’re not interested.” And when asked why neither school would travel to Madison he said, “They just weren’t interested.”
Wisconsin’s head coach Gary Andersen gave a bit more of an explanation,
“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.”
I mean, it does make sense that both LSU and ‘Bama wouldn’t want to have to play in front of Wisconsin’s home crowd. College Spun just released a list ranking Camp Randall as the 10th most intimidating stadium in college football. Wisconsin rarely loses on its home turf and neither SEC giant, apparently, want to risk a blemish on their record by taking on the Badgers at home.
Wisconsin seems to be just fine traveling to either LSU or ‘Bama’s home stadium but that just doesn’t seem to matter. Are the Tigers and the Crimson Tide afraid to face Bucky on the road? It sure seems like it. And it’s just another feather in the cap of the stereotype that says “SEC teams never leave the South.”
That said, LSU did agree to face the Badgers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay in 2016. That should be an exciting game and the Tigers will be able to get a small taste at what a trip to Camp Randall would have been like in front of a predominantly-Badgers friendly crowd.
It is pretty cool that the way the Badgers play at home, and the insane fan support they receive, has a big enough reputation to scare away elite SEC talent. I’m not going to call them pansies but…ok, never mind, yes I will. They’re pansies, at least in this specific scenario.
Who knows, maybe the Tigers and Crimson Tide just aren’t fond of jumping around: