University of Miami

Miami and Wisconsin fan fervor for the Orange Bowl prevails at Hard Rock Stadium

Capital One Orange Bowl Fan Fest at Hard Rock Stadium

Fans enjoyed the Capital One Orange Bowl Fan Fest at Hard Rock Stadium on December 30, 2017. ​
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Fans enjoyed the Capital One Orange Bowl Fan Fest at Hard Rock Stadium on December 30, 2017. ​

The turnover chains were still everywhere, and as expected, orange and green were the colors of the night.

But there was still plenty of red Saturday night at Hard Rock Stadium, as tailgating fans filled the parking lot and seemed to get along quite nicely a couple hours before kickoff at the Capital One Orange Bowl.

“It’s fantastic,” said Sheldon Hanson, 79, his red beads, red Wisconsin sweatshirt, red socks and red-and-white visor a stark contrast to the UM fans around him. “The fan treatment here is excellent. People are receptive on both sides.”

Nine months of the year, Hanson lives in Wisconsin Dells — known as “the waterpark capital of the world” — and stays in Sebring the other three. “Great defense. Great head coach,” he said of the Badgers. “We’re going to win 30-17.”

Phil Cosden came to Hard Rock for the first time Saturday with his 19-year-old son PJ, both from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Cosden turned 50 on Thursday, and his mother’s gift was two tickets to fly to Miami for five days to attend the bowl.

The elder Cosden’s uncle, Craig Cosden, played football for the Hurricanes in the mid-1970s. Thus, Phil said his last time at a home Hurricanes game was in 1977, when his uncle was a senior.

Phil and PJ each bought turnover chains Saturday for $80 apiece.

“The chain just brings so much excitement to the game,” said Phil, who works as the homeless programs manager for Adams County. “Just a fun prop because it was so special this year.”

Agreeing was Justin Nelson, 27, who wore a UM turnover chain T-shirt with the words “We’re the chain wearin,’ swag wearin’, pass stealin’, fumble dealin’, U reppin’, high-steppin’ Miami Hurricanes” “It’s Miami. It’s gaudy. It’s bold. It’s in your face.”

Added Nelson: “UM will win 21-14.”

Louise Rifkin of Boca Raton, dressed in Wisconsin red, attended with her, husband Paul, daughter Nicki Shamis of Fort Collins and Nicki’s 6-year-old son Sam, and friends Joel and Joani Abramowitz of Springfield, Illinois.

The Rifkins lived in Wisconsin for 32 years before moving to Boca as snowbirds — and Colorado in the summers. They’ve had four season tickets to Wisconsin games since 1998 and for 18 years went to every game.

“Badger fans travel,” Shamis said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl or Orange Bowl.

“It’s also nice to get out of the cold,” she said.

Jessie Young just wanted to get out of the Wisconsin alumni party.

Young, 26, from Miami Gardens, was working at the Hard Rock Stadium souvenir store when he was asked to haul a bunch of Wisconsin T-shirts and other items to the large Badgers gathering near the Northeast Gate.

Unfortunately, he was wearing a turnover chain.

“They told me, ‘You’ve got to tuck that in, man,’ ” Young said. “ ‘You’re in the wrong place.’ 

“I looked at my chain and said, ‘Yeah, you’re right.’ But as I walked out of there, I took it back out. You gotta be tough. You gotta represent your team.”

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