Camp Randall experience in decline? Think again

Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

Awhile back we discussed the direction of the Camp Randall gameday experience. With the conference schedules through 2017 now public knowledge, lets put that discussion to rest.

Just over a month ago, I brought up the question of whether the Camp Randall experience was in decline or not. The idea was based on an article from the Wisconsin State Journal, containing some valid examples and others which were a bit of stretch.

It's funny I chose to write on this topic again, because it brought me back to that piece -- written by Paul Fanlund -- and as I revisited the link I noticed Fanlund had posted an update atop the article.

It read:

Update: The 2015 home schedule of Big Ten games was released Monday after this column was written. And it doesn’t look any better for Badgers fans. The four Camp Randall conference foes are Iowa, Purdue, Rutgers and Northwestern, along with whatever nonconference cupcakes come to town.

Now, hindsight is always 20-20 as they say, but Thursday's release of the 2016 and 2017 Big Ten conference schedules reveals a "shot in the arm" to the Badgers' strength of schedule. Wisconsin features marquee home games versus Ohio State and Nebraska in 2016 and showdowns with Iowa and Michigan in 2017. There are also decent games, such as Northwestern and Minnesota sprinkled in there, but it's tough to know where these teams will stand talent-wise when that time comes.

Regardless, I think it's safe to say almost none of us were legitimately worried about the Camp Randall experience. As Fanlund pointed out, the Badgers won't play host to many bigtime opponents in the next few seasons, but we knew that'd be short-lived. Fanlund pointed out the increasing popularity of high-definition TVs, parking issues and starting times of games as threats to the gameday experience in Madison, and I just don't see it. There's simply too much pride and support backing UW football that a few years of mediocre home schedules won't harm the Camp Randall product in the long run.

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