College Football Playoff games are a right normally reserved for sunnier cities, but that isn't stopping Wisconsin from pushing to host one in Madison.
Camp Randall Stadium is currently undergoing renovations to improve playability and the game experience. These upgrades, coupled with the expansion of the College Football Playoff, position Madison as a possible host venue for future postseason games.
Camp Randall underwent its latest renovation in 2021, adding premium seating to its south end zone. Now, almost three years later, the 107-year-old stadium is also receiving an update to its video boards, replacing the main board and many of its static elements.
With the NCAA’s switch to a 12-team playoff format in 2024 — as opposed to the four-team format that has defined the playoffs in the past — the opportunity has opened up for Wisconsin to host a postseason game.
Wisconsin Athletics is preparing for that possibility. A newly-implemented $5.5 million heated field will create better playing conditions for games in late December or January, when the average low temperature is comfortably below 20 degrees.
“The project is on schedule and will be completed [in] July 2024,” said Patrick Herb, director of communications and brand strategy for Wisconsin Athletics. “Heating the field will allow for better playability during inclement winter conditions…This would allow for Camp Randall to be a terrific host venue.”
With the expansion, the Badgers control their chances of hosting a playoff game, said Brett Daniels, senior director of communications and branding for CFP.
“In the 12-team playoff format, the on-campus games would be earned by the host institutions based on their final seeding,” Daniels said. “Basically, if Wisconsin were to finish seeded No. 5-8, the school would host a game on campus.”
The Badgers were unranked in the 2023 season and would not have a chance to compete in the CFP, much less host a postseason game. With another season under second-year head coach Luke Fickell’s leadership, though, the Badgers have playoff hopes.
“It is great to know that Camp Randall Stadium is undergoing these renovations and will be ready to host a CFP first-round game should Wisconsin get that privilege,” Daniels said.
The main video board’s replacement will start following spring commencement, and the entire project is expected to be completed before the 2024 season starts, Herb said.
Jasper Bernstein is the Associate News Editor for The Daily Cardinal. Follow him on Twitter at @jasperberns.