The Big 10 with Jeff D'Alessio, June 15, 2014
In just two weeks, that other Big Ten will officially welcome its 13th and 14th conference members. What should the Maryland Terrapins and Rutgers Scarlet Knights expect on their visits to C-U? For that, we turned to others who've made the trip while wearing enemy colors — and lived to tell about it.
Indiana institution, NCAA's winningest women's tennis coach
Tip: Pack nose plugs
"We went to play the NCAA Regionals there on a very warm mid-May day about 15 or 20 years ago. It was the practice day, a day before competition started, and the breeze was coming from the cow farm area by the tennis complex.
"The smell was simply awful. It had never been that bad before, and it's never been that bad since. We practiced the same time as UCLA. You could tell all those city girls from California were really struggling from the smell. Finally, one UCLA player went over to the side of the court and threw up. Welcome to the Midwest."
Won 5 Big Ten titles as Michigan football coach
Tip: Beware of full moons
"One year as we were leaving the stadium after beating the Illini, I saw an elderly lady up ahead off to the left of our bus. She was dressed in orange and blue. As we approached her, she turned around, pulled her pants down and bent over. She was not a Michigan fan."
Ex-Purdue basketball star, grandson of Tolono couple
Tip: Bring your appetite
"I have to say: I love Papa Del's pizza. I only had it there once, when staying overnight for a game, but my parents always ordered a pizza and took it home to freeze it — for me."
7 NFL seasons, 7 Pro Bowls since leaving Wisconsin
Tip: Stop and smell the Rose Bowls
"I always loved walking into Memorial Stadium and seeing the photos — (George) Halas, (Red) Grange, (Dick) Butkus, (Ray) Nitschke. The stadium also has a very classic feel to it. You get goosebumps thinking about all the great games there, played by the greatest players college football ever had."
College football's only 2-time Heisman winner
Tip: Brush up on your history
"Our Ohio State teams stayed at the Lincoln Lodge in Urbana, and Woody (Hayes) always gave us a lesson on Abraham Lincoln during our trips. I remember they had a singing waiter there, who Woody would ask to sing to the team. He'd always sing 'Old Man River.'"
Hoops star for both Hoosiers and Hawkeyes
Tip: Try not to take the taunts too personally
"My first year at Iowa, I had injured my knee and couldn't play at the Assembly Hall. But thinking I was immune to the Orange Krush was a mistake. There were constant chants and playful jokes directed at me while I sat there in street clothes. The fans in the Krush are brutal but very knowledgeable and passionate, and the Assembly Hall is a terrific venue — although not the prettiest."
Indiana band director
Tip: Be sad it's not the year 2000
"I've spent many a day in Chambana, and Aunt Sonya's was the place for breakfast. Sadly, it's gone now. The pancakes there were the best around."
6 NCAA volleyball titles as Penn State coach
Tip: Don't let all the orange spook you
"I remember joining the Big Ten and playing Illinois right after the start of deer season in Pennsylvania. I was surprised by all the orange in the crowd and especially pleased that people didn't have any weapons with them. Growing up in Chicago, I wasn't exposed to the wardrobe of deer hunters."
Ohio State women's gymnastics coach
Tip: Keep the bus running
"Several years ago, we traveled to Champaign for a meet at Huff Hall. We had planned on competing, ordering pizza and heading back to Columbus. It was the middle of winter and freezing in Champaign. The meet ended and our bus driver came to us and reported the bus had frozen during the competition and there was no way the hydraulic system would function in the below-zero temperatures.
"So there we were, all 20 of us, stuck in Huff Hall with our boxes of pizza. I was able to contact a hotel, which offered a shuttle for us — it took three trips back and forth in a mini-van to get the whole team and our luggage to the hotel. We stayed the night and Ohio State sent a new bus overnight so we could get home the next day.
"From that day on, we've encouraged our bus drivers to keep the bus running during our meets if temperatures are below zero."
Quarterback on Ohio State's 2002 national title team
Tip: Be glad it's not the year 2000
"It was bad enough that the weather was always freezing and windy when we would come to Champaign but the old turf at Memorial Stadium was the worst field I ever played on. We played in Champaign in 2000, and it was akin to paying in an old parking lot. Thank goodness the Bears had their heated benches there since Soldier Field was under construction."