The University of Wisconsin Badgers have been playing football since the Big Ten Conference came into being in 1896.
The nickname Badgers comes from the 1820s when mineral prospectors in the area lived in tunnels in the sides of hills in the winter. “It wasn’t so bad until Ted started singing show tunes every day,” said one miner.
The Badgers first full season was a whopping two games in 1889. They lost both. “Men, we’ve lost both games so far and we’ve decided to change our offensive strategy. We are ending the season,” the coach said.
For many years, the visiting team’s locker room at Camp Randall Stadium was painted pink. Now it is a shade of “prison blue.” “They should have made them yellow, so they felt like they needed to pee the entire game. Keep them distracted,” suggested a fan.
After home games, the Wisconsin Marching Band plays a mini-concert and sing-a-long for alumni and fans called “The Fifth Quarter.” Students participate as well. “Unless we’ve run out of alcohol,” said a student. “In which case Ted runs to the store to buy 12 packs. He’s got a car.”
Wisconsin home games also feature an unusual wave which starts out counterclockwise, then slow motion, then double time, eventually splitting into two waves going in opposite directions. In 2004, the counter-rotation of these waves ultimately was so intense, it lifted the entire stadium off the ground 6 feet for 30 seconds. “That was enough time for me to get under there and retrieve my lucky Badger hat I dropped in there in 1986,” a student said.
Home games are also unique for the profane chants. At one point, a side of the stadium will yell, “Eat sugar!” Well, not quite that but it’s close. The other side will answer with something similar to “Forget you!”
They also yell this call and response during the Fifth Quarter when the band plays Steve Miller Band’s Swingtown. “Now there’s your real profanity. Steve Miller Band? Liberal Californians from San Francisco? What the hell? Why not some Johnny Cash?” said an alumna.