TUCSON—All week long the unbearable heat Wisconsin would face here was a constant subject of discussion.
Then, the Badgers brought cool air with them from Madison.
OK, it is not exactly snowing, but it did rain early this morning—.13 inches of precipitation on the sun stained desert earth, according to Accuweather.com. The forecast calls for a game time temperature of 91 degrees, dropping to 86 by the time the final whistle blows. It is supposed to rain again this evening. Upper 80s and low 90s is nothing to scoff at, but it could be quite a bit hotter.
It is quite a contrast from the 95-105 the Badgers were preparing for. Quite a difference from yesterday, when Wisconsin flew into town. The Mercury pushed to 99 degrees here Friday afternoon, with a real-feel over 100. Not exactly a brisk September day.
When asked about the pending heat this week, Wisconsin players and coaches acknowledged the difficulty it could cause but focused on what they were doing to prepare for it and the fact that Arizona's players have not played a day game at Arizona Stadium in September either. The Wildcats have not hosted an afternoon game in September since 1991.
In order to prepare for the heat, the Badgers spent the week hydrating and taking in extra electrolytes all week. Arizona has taken the preparation one step further: air-conditioning their pads. A company called Arctic Heat USA offered cooling vests to the Badgers.
Wisconsin has one player from Arizona, freshman defensive tackle Gino Cruse. After spending most of his summer in Madison, Cruse went home to Phoenix in late July, taking a break between the end of the Badgers' offseason conditioning and before the start of fall camp.
"When I went back home, I was miserable," Cruse said. "And I went back home this summer for like a week and I did not want to be there. I mean, at night time it is like 99 degrees to 100 degrees out there when the sun's down. It's just ridiculous."
Madison was unseasonably cool in July, while in Tucson the heat rose to at least 100 on 20 days in July, compounding Cruse's discomfort.
It did get warmer in Wisconsin, however. Badger coach Barry Alvarez said this week that the temperature on the field at Camp Randall for Wisconsin's first two games reached 100.
"I've always heard the mind over matter thing but once you get out in that real hot or real cold whether, it never worked for me, I know," senior cornerback Scott Starks said. "If I'm real cold, I'm going to be cold, if I'm real hot, I'm going to be hot."
Starks and the rest of the Badgers were hotter in Camp Randall last week than they will be in Arizona Stadium this afternoon.
More information - Beat the heat? Try not to worry (Aug. 10)
Wisconsin could benefit from cool Tucson air
Badger Nation Top Stories
Most Indispensable Badger - No.1Counting down the 20 most indispensable Badgers on Wisconsin's 2017 roster, sophomore quarterback Alex Hornibrook checks in at No.1.
Badger Nation2:39 PM
Fall Camp Preview: Special TeamsThe 12th of BadgerNation's 12-part preview series, getting members ready for the start of Wisconsin football's fall camp on July 28, we look at the special teams.
Badger Nation9:52 AM
Gaglianone 'Back' and ReadyAfter a back injury cut his 2016 season to only three games, junior kicker Rafael Gaglianone is close to feeling 100 percent physically and mentally repaired.
Badger Nation9:28 AM
Fall Camp Preview: SafetiesThe 11th of BadgerNation's 12-part preview series, getting members ready for the start of Wisconsin football's fall camp on July 28, we look at the safeties.
Badger NationYesterday at 3:40 PM