The University of Wisconsin football team’s Twitter account tweeted Monday morning that their season will begin Friday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m., when Wisconsin will welcome the Fighting Illini of Illinois to Madison. Just over a year after falling victim to one of the largest upsets in school history, the Badgers will have revenge on their minds on opening night.
The Wisconsin–Illinois matchup also marks the first game of the Big Ten season. This season is unique in so many ways, and it will be fascinating to see what a game at Camp Randall stadium with no fans is really like. While having no fans is significant, there are so many other smaller parts of the game day experience at Camp Randall that will be missed when the Badgers take the field.
Many questions are left unanswered with the season less than two weeks away. How does this atmosphere affect the psyche of young Graham Mertz in what is expected to be his first start at quarterback? How about his veteran teammates who only know what it’s like to play in front of a packed house? How will the gameday experience differ from the norm and how will it affect the future of the Wisconsin gameday experience?
The Big Ten was at the center of debates on playing football this fall, and it will be interesting to see how the product on the field looks after months of uncertainty. While football around the country looks similar to how it always has, the Big Ten is so much different than everyone else. A different schedule, different practice requirements and a conference-wide ban on fans in the stands has made Wisconsin’s, and the rest of the conference’s, situations much more unique than any other major conference team.
An eight-game, Big Ten-only gauntlet will certainly test Head Coach Paul Chryst’s Badgers. But this Wisconsin football team is loaded on both sides of the ball, and Chryst’s guys will be in the hunt for their first College Football Playoff appearance.
The Badgers’ chase for glory will begin Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. when Illinois visits Camp Randall Stadium to kick off the 2020 Big Ten football season. The game will air live on the Big Ten Network.