Life is made up of decisions.
White or wheat? Doughnut or omelet? Tie and jacket or sweatshirt? Hit snooze or arrive on time? The list goes on and on, from food to clothing and, of course, which football program to hate the most.
But there are other decisions that impact the college football experience in a big way; mainly, is it better to watch a game from the comfort of your own couch, or is the stadium experience better? For certain sports, this is a no-brainer. NASCAR, hockey and even tennis are best enjoyed live. The decision's not so easy when it comes to college football.
Consider the pros and cons of each location, beginning with the home experience.
DVR is a beautiful thing. A great play can be watched and re-watched anywhere from six to 10 times during a commercial, depending on the length of said advertisement.
Food, while it might not be as diverse and plentiful, is eaten at your discretion, in a favorite place to sit, with only the television noise and smells of your wonderful abode to distract. It's also not nearly as expensive as actually buying stadium concessions.
If you take the funds used for concessions and multiply them by two over the course of one season, it will be approaching enough to fund at least one college education, bachelor's degree through doctorate.
At home, though, one misses the fellowship with fellow aficionados, although in a world filled with Facebook, Twitter, Vine and Fancred, it is sometimes easier to discuss the game at reasonable volume levels than it might be in a stadium with 90,000-plus screaming fans.
Your seat is always open and never being infringed upon by the exuberant guy to your left or the girl on your right who had to find a place to put her trash.
Yet there are multiple reasons to attend a game in person. The experience of tailgating is the primary persuasive argument, with the experience in an electric stadium a close second.
At the game, thousands of fans are milling about, you salute total strangers with a random team cheer, and yell to your heart's content without feeling any judgment whatsoever. None of these things happen when actually watching the game in your living room.
As a matter of fact, any of these could result in your significant other referring you to the closest psychiatrist.
Also, the camaraderie felt among a group of fans at a football game is an experience that cannot be ignored. Winning is an incredible experience in a college football stadium, especially for the home team fans.
Then there are the traditions. Just about every team has some sort of walk to the stadium, as well as pregame fan routines. At Ole Miss, it is tailgating at The Grove. Wisconsin, partying on State Street. South Carolina has Five Points, Clemson has the team touching Howard's Rock, and on the list goes.
Those experiences, some televised in HD, are good, but in person, they reach awesomeness level 99.
The smells, sights and sounds at a game are unique and certainly missed while reclining in the comfort of one's couch.
Take a typical stadium experience:
Tickets are expensive, food is ridiculously priced while exhibiting a worse-than-fast-food taste, seats are crowded, traffic is relentless and a massive migraine is developing from the earsplitting cacophony being produced by the joke that is the stadium's PA system.
And the list goes on: Every section with the exception of yours wins T-shirts, free food and beverages. A trip to the restroom leaves one wondering what kind of pictures of oneself are going to show up on the Internet later, and in what context.
Did we cover stadium prices yet?
And then leaving is a whole different ball of wax. If you leave early, invariably you get caught in the rush of people leaving early. If you leave after the final horn sounds, progress is close to that of a glacier from your seat until you get 10 miles down the road. Actually leaving the stadium can take longer than the game itself.
It is almost a risk/reward thing. The home experience is generally in your control and almost never leaves you feeling violated in any way. The stadium experience offers lots of people of the same ilk plenty of excitement and the opportunity to see yourself on television for a half-second.
To sum it all up, a stadium experience is incredible and should be enjoyed with regularity, but if you're serious about actually following game action, staying sane and actually seeing what happens on the field, home is the place to be.