Travel

2017 Big Ten Football Championship Road Trip

Another football season, another Badgers trip to the Big Ten Football Championship! Despite being there for the devastating loss to Penn State in 2016, Jason and I were filled with belief and hope after an incredible undefeated season for the Badgers.

We’ve traveled to Indy for the Big Ten Football Championship two other times, but traveling a new route from our new home near St. Louis brought new excitement to this trip. The fact that our drive is shorter now was nice, too. We left home late Friday afternoon, stopped for dinner in Effingham, IL, and pulled into downtown Indianapolis a little before 11:00 pm (with the time change).

Saturday morning, we woke up to a beautiful day in Indy! The sun was shining, it wasn’t very cold — it felt like good things were coming.

Indiana State Capitol in downtown Indianapolis

It made for the perfect walk to Jack’s Donuts for breakfast. All I remember about my donuts was that both “regular” donuts had cinnamon baked right into them. I almost got a cinnamon bun, but I didn’t need to. I got the best of both worlds! Delicious!

After breakfast, it was off to the Indiana Convention Center and Big Ten Fan Fest. We’re so underwhelmed by Fan Fest at this point. There’s very little memorabilia from the schools to see, and the activities aren’t of much interest to us. I found the bar this year, though, so Fan Fest had that going for it.

Big Ten Football Championship pre-gaming at Fan Fest

The highlight of this year’s trip was meeting up with fellow Badger friends. In addition to the friends who were going to the game with us, we were able to catch up with our friend, Patrick, and his dad for lunch. While it’s nice being surrounded by fellow Badger fans, it’s even better when you’re with your people.

We killed some time before the Wisconsin tailgate party and were among the first in line to head into the room. Can I just say that, compared to 2016, Badger fans SHOWED UP! We already noticed more Badger fans walking around throughout the day, but the tailgate party made it clear just how many fans made the trip. It was a beautiful thing and left me bursting with Badger pride!

Bucky Badger centerpieces from the Wisconsin Alumni Association

Jason and I at the Wisconsin Big Ten Football Championship Tailgate Party

Then it was finally time for the main event: the game. What do I say about the game? It was absolutely heartbreaking. Again.

View of the field from our seats at the 2017 Big Ten Football Championship

Two months have passed and the pain has subsided. By the time college football season rolls around again, all will be forgotten. But this night, I just wanted to get the heck out of Indy and never come back.

The Badgers will return to the Big Ten Football Championship and reclaim the trophy. And we’ll be right there with them, for better or worse … but let’s just hope for better next time.

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