Starting early Saturday morning and ending when Tom Izzo wakes up on Sunday, the Izzone Campout is 24 hours of students showing their devotion to MSU basketball.
And it creates one of the more exciting chances to watch the MSU football team all season.
Watching the Spartans play at the Izzone campout is like watching a game in your living room with your most passionate friends, if your living room was as big as Munn Ice Arena and 3,000 people came over.
The few hours spent indoors watching the Spartans take on whoever (Wisconsin this year) are the only period of the day when campers actually get to watch football. This is painful for many of us, but the time spent watching the Spartans and screaming at the (super-sized) TV screen is the most exciting part of the weekend.
The Izzone Campout was first held in 1996 and is always in the middle of Munn Field, in the shadows of Spartan Stadium, Munn Ice Arena and Breslin Center.
Two years ago, when the Spartans were 4-0 heading into Camp Randall to play the Badgers, the Breslin Center was positively electric during the game. The noise after Nehemiah Warrick knocked out Kyle Jefferson on a clean hit was like hearing a bomb go off. The Spartans lost that game, but watching the game with the Izzone left a lasting impression.
The spirit the team showed in that close loss to the then-ranked Badgers led to one of the more incredible moments in campout history, led by Izzo. After the Q&A session, Izzo directed the entire Izzone to go greet the team.
As they arrived back at the Duffy Daugherty Football Building on buses from Madison, they were 3,000 screaming fans lining the street outside the building, cheering them for their performance.
Last year’s game against Indiana had a different ending in both the game and the “greeting” of the football team. The Spartans pulled out an up-and-down victory over the Hoosiers, which saw Javon Ringer go for 200+ yards yet again.
Izzo directed campers to greet the team again, but there was no lining of the streets, just clapping as the team drove by.
This year’s viewing experience seems like it’s going to be a little different than recent years. The Student Alumni Foundation (the group who runs the Izzone) has on their Web site that the game will be on at Munn Ice Arena instead of Breslin Center.
Sure, we’re going from watching the game on four screens to two, but there will be open ice skating! For five bucks! Great work SAF!
It still promises to be a unique experience, and hopefully it will be that much sweeter when the boys return back to Duffy with a victory and new hope in the chase for the Big Ten title.
Photo courtesy of SAF