When the Wisconsin Badgers take the field at NRG Stadium Saturday night against the LSU Tigers, head coach Gary Andersen will know just how important this game will be for his program from Madison. Not only will the Badgers be in the spotlight in primetime, but they will take on a very tough opponent in the Tigers who happen to hail from one of the best conferences in the country the SEC. But it could help the Badgers on the recruiting trail as well.
On Monday coach Andersen reiterated those same statements while meeting with members of the media at Camp Randall Stadium. Via uwbadgers.com:
I think it’s a great time to play this game. What we can gain from the non football side, as far as playing the game, it helps us in an area we want to recruit in. It helps us play an SEC opponent. It’s the first game of the year. It’s on national television. It’s going to be it’s a primetime game. So all that stuff is great for the University of Wisconsin. All that stuff is great for the football program. On the field, I think we get a real good idea of how we stack up against one of the best programs in the country year in and year out. That’s exactly where LSU sits, and the respect we have for them is very, very high. You’ll see a bunch of young kids competing, and we’ll have a lot better idea of where we sit in the big picture, as far as not just the Big Ten, but in college football in general on the biggest stage.
As far as recruiting goes, this game being on the national stage and primetime could help show some recruits who otherwise wouldn’t know just what Badger football is all about. With it being the opening weekend of the college football season and at an NFL stadium, plenty of eyes will be on this game Saturday night. And playing an SEC team doesn’t hurt either.
Andersen spoke with the media Tuesday morning in the first weekly Big Ten coaches teleconference. Via Jesse Temple of Fox Sports Wisconsin:
The pros, from a recruiting standpoint, it definitely helps us. It gets us on the national stage. We’re playing an SEC team and, quite frankly, we’re playing traditionally over the last few years, one of the best teams in the country. Kids like that when they’re recruited. We get to find out exactly where we sit early in the season. I think that’s a positive for us. Especially as youthful as we are, we’ll be able to get a real idea of how we match up against a good physical football team. And that will be good for us this year. I’m sure it will be the same next year with Alabama and then again it’ll be the same with LSU the third year. Those are some positives. It’s a geat experience for the kids. They get to go into an NFL stadium and be able to play. That’s something that’s memories that should last a lifetime for them.
This game is a great opportunity for the Badgers football program and could very well pay dividends for the success of Wisconsin football. Besides bowl games at the end of the season, the Badgers do not find themselves in marquee, primetime nationally televised games too often. And to be on the main stage in the first game of the season will be just an added bonus.
LSU vs Wisconsin takes place Saturday, August 30th, at NRG Stadium in Houston, TX. Kickoff is set for 8:00 p.m. CT on ESPN.