NEWS BLOG (WSAU) In the Rose Bowl, Wisconsin won the battle of the bands. On one side we have ‘On, Wisconsin” and “If You Want To Be A Badger” played by squeaky clean college kids in white and red starched uniforms, and white flat-top hats topped by a red plume. On the other had you had one unshaved rich private-school kid with a rainbow afro wig who was banging on a kitchen sink.
Stanford has a "scatter band" – meaning they don’t play and march in formation. When I taught at Yale, their band had disintegrated into the same thing. But their football games – in the non-scholarship Ivy League – didn’t attack much attention. The one game that drew TV coverage – the annual rivalry against Harvard – the band did indeed march in full uniform. The alumni expected a full-blown game day experience, and the administration made sure they got it.
27-million people watch the Rose Bowl on television, and the TV producers give each school’s band two minutes of airtime. It’s a chance to make an impression about your school. Maybe it’s not a big deal. Stanford is one of the elite academic institutions in the country. Yet if you knew nothing about the school, you’d think they were a bunch of goofballs. And Wisconsin is where you’d want to send your kid.