Dear Freshmen,

Another weekend approaches, and another Badger home game awaits you.

As a senior at the University of Wisconsin, I have been fortunate enough to attend every home game and the Rose Bowl.

I’ve seen the lows (when Wisconsin lost in 2008 at Camp Randall on national television, 48-7, to Penn State) and the highs (upsetting the accursed sweater vest and his group of maybe-eligible Buckeyes).

Today as fans, we attend UW at a time when the football program is elite and poised to reach new heights. Be thankful for that. We could be attending a school like Indiana, where the football program has been to a bowl game just once in the past 17 years.

After two home games as a student, you should already begin to understand the rules of Badger game days. But just to make it easier, I will share some pointers I’ve accumulated throughout my football career as a student here at Wisconsin.

I. Thou shall arrive at the game early

Yes, the age-old grievance. Do you think players enjoy running out of the tunnel to a half-empty student section?

Here come the Badgers! And listen to that student section whimper!

I hear the “sorry for partying” excuse all the time. For a long time, this has been one of the biggest disappointments for the Badger game day experience.

Would you show up to a class late? Would you show up to your job late if you had an appointment scheduled?

No, you wouldn’t. Being a Badger fan is a responsibility. So show some respect and get to the game before the team runs onto the field!

Do you remember how loud it was for the Ohio State game? I know that game is a special exception, but I’ve never seen Camp Randall full-to-bursting 20 minutes before kickoff. Ever. The atmosphere that night was electric; you could tell before kickoff – and directly after – the Badgers were poised to do something special that night.

II. Thou shall stay for the entire game … and then some

Students don’t only arrive late to the games, they leave early too! I can understand leaving early at a blowout if you’re a fan who has to drive a long distance home, but when you can literally stumble your way back home after a 20-to-25-minute walk at the longest, why are you leaving early?

Stay for the Fifth Quarter! Watch marching band director Mike Leckrone’s finest in action! Enjoy hearing “Swingtown” because we all know it will never make its way back into the game time playlist.

III. Thou shall not be that guy/girl

You know the one I’m talking about. Here’s a great real life example of that guy/girl. Last year at my house, before the Minnesota game, we had a decent party going. I went into the kitchen and noticed something odd. There were three girls eating peanut butter off their hands.

They had gone into my pantry, snatched up the peanut butter, removed the lid and promptly scooped out Skippy Smooth goodness with their hands. After licking off the peanut butter like some sort of wild bear with honey from a beehive, the girls put their hands right back in for another scoop.

“We’re sorry for partying,” I think was the response. Well I’m sorry you lacked the motor skills to use a knife to make a sandwich.

IV. Thou shall know the name of the team we are playing as well as the players on our own team

I swear if I hear one more person say in the second quarter, “Who are we playing today”? I may run on the field and ask Chris Borland to put me out of my misery.

Seriously, there should be a Badger football test every student should have to take when buying tickets.

Know the basics of the game and the names of our boys that are playing, not just for the sake of others but for your own sake as well. The game is actually more fun to watch if you know what’s going on!

V. Thou shall eat Wisconsin food and drink Wisconsin beverages

Wisconsin football means Wisconsin food and drink. May I recommend a hearty breakfast of brats, cheese curds and beer? Saturday morning drinking can be rough without a solid base, especially after a late Friday night.

If you haven’t gone yet, go check out Mickies Dairy Bar by the stadium. The portions are huge, the food is great and the price is right. Try out the scrambler and their coffee cake! Just get there early, as finding a seat on a weekend is pretty much impossible.

VI. Thou shall know every word to “Build Me Up Buttercup” and “Sweet Caroline”

Remember that awkward moment where you didn’t know the refrain of either of these songs? “Build me up … Buttercup … don’t break my fart!”

NO! Those are not the words! Go memorize these songs because they will become an integral part of who you are as a Badger fan and as a person these next four years. The day I forget these lyrics I hope they send me to Michigan!

Go forth and make this weekend’s game day your best one yet!

Nick is a senior majoring in journalism. What are your rules to live by for gameday? Let him know at [email protected] and be sure to follow @BHeraldSports on Twitter for all the latest Badgers news.