Wisconsin vs. Ohio State: Experiencing the Horseshoe

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

I had the opportunity to take in Saturday night's game at the Horseshoe. Final result aside, it was nothing short of spectacular.

I could easily write for hours about what went wrong in Columbus. It'd be easy to point of the multitude of mistakes the Badgers committed, which likely cost them a shot at winning Saturday.

Instead, I'd like to take a different approach.

I made the road trip to Columbus with UW-Madison's student radio station, WSUM 91.7 FM. We had the awesome opportunity of calling the game at Ohio Stadium, so I figured I'd provide my impressions on the gameday atmosphere and how the Horseshoe compares to Camp Randall Stadium.

Unfortunately, we didn't have much time in Columbus. We left Madison at the crack of dawn Saturday and arrived at Ohio State's campus just a few hours before kickoff. While we didn't see as much of the campus as I would've preferred, we still were able to get a good sense of how OSU celebrates on Saturdays...

1. It's everything you'd expect and more. I'll go into more detail in the points below, but it truly showcases everything great about college football.

2. The Horseshoe is a monstrosity. Even now, I still can't wrap my mind around the size of that place. Keep in mind, there are only seven stadiums in the entire country that can seat over 100,000 people (six college stadiums and the Dallas Cowboys' AT&T Stadium). We were located in the camera deck for our broadcast -- what you'd consider overflow for media -- and even with that being situated a level below the regular press box, it still felt as if we were watching the game from a blimp's view. We had a great view of the field, but the Horseshoe's seating is pretty steep, which is nice because it puts you on top of the action but also makes it feel like you're miles up in the sky if you're in the nosebleeds.

3. It's incredibly intimating. Our crew went down on the field prior to the game and my heart was pounding just standing there well before the place even filled up. The sheer size, volume and historical presence of the stadium is enough to make any opposing team extremely uncomfortable. Not to mention, looking up and seeing the names of Buckeye greats and dedications to each of Ohio State's seven national championships. Pure speculation here, but I wouldn't be surprised if some of the Badgers mistakes and penalties could be related to the intimidation of that environment.

4. It's a classic, more traditional tailgating experience. There's certainly more available land for parking lots and garages surrounding the stadium for tailgating, compared to Madison. You can't go wrong with either city's pre-game festivities, but the tailgating experience in Columbus -- at least from what we saw -- reminded me a lot more of what you'd see at a Packers game (not quite that big, though), rather than a Badgers game.

5. Structurally, it really reminds me of Camp Randall. Ohio Stadium was constructed in 1922, just five years after Camp Randall's opening in 1917, so it makes sense the two seem so similar. OSU's stadium looks slightly cooler from the outside thanks to a grandiose arch on the stadium's north side and other smaller arches lining it's exterior, too, but it has the same sort of ugly, concrete look from the outside as Camp Randall. Also, the concourses are eerily similar. The Horseshoe's are probably a bit wider, but if you didn't know, you'd almost think you were in Camp Randall just walking the concourses.

6. Put it on the sports bucket list. It was certainly on mine and despite the outcome, I had a blast. The experience epitomized everything great about college football: the passion, a gigantic stadium, loads of history, an enormous student section and classic bout between two college powerhouses.

Side note: my favorite part was every time the Badgers faced a third down, "Hells Bells" by ACDC would come raining down from the sound system. It got so freaking loud it was absurd. I'm a huge fan of that song at football games and I got chills every single time they played it.

Granted, this isn't the experience you're going to get every week at Ohio State -- at least inside the stadium. I can guarantee you it was a different environment the previous week for the game against Florida A&M. The same can be said for Camp Randall. The 2010 game against Ohio State and 2011 matchup with Nebraska both had a different feel than normal gamedays. There's the cliched, but oh so true, "buzz" in the air for those types of games. Last Saturday had that vibe, so although the Horseshoe was rocking, it's bound to have a different feel against lesser opponents.

Nevertheless, as much as Ohio State and Wisconsin has become a budding rivalry and it pains me to give the Buckeyes a shout-out, the Horseshoe is a spectacle to behold.

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