College Football: My Bucket List
While standing in line at my local video store last week, I saw “The Bucket List” was available. While I haven’t seen the movie featuring that old guy from the Lakers’ games and that narrator guy, I pretty much know the premise. Two guys make a list of all the things they want to do before they kick the bucket.
That made my mind wander and I thought that I should make a college football bucket list. It’s going to be hard to cross off some of the things on this list, while some of the things I’ve already experienced. This is a narrowed down list, as an unabridged one would be too long so I am leaving some things off. I can’t include everyone, sorry.
So in no particular order:
“Take me home, country roads…”
I heard this song sung by a Mountaineer home crowd once and I wanted to be there swaying with them. Since the temperatures there probably get pretty chilly, maybe this would be an excellent early season trip. Even though lighting couches on fire isn’t really my thing, you know what they say, “When in Rome.”
“In Heaven There is No Beer”
While I hope it’s not a true statement, I would love to experience the singing of this song first hand, and perhaps check out some of the bumblebee garbed heartland honeys as well. Kudos to the Hawkeye faithful for making a polka song cool.
If you haven’t experienced the Vols running through the “T” and 100,000+ people singing “Rocky Top” at the rocky top of their lungs, then you need to see the Orange Nation in person. The checkerboard end zones and the Tennessee Navy make this place a unique experience.
Plus you get to work on your Ric Flair impression with a 100,000 others:
“Good old Rocky Top”
“Rocky Top Tennessee!”
It only starts to get old right around the 94th time it’s played.
I don’t think any rivalry approaches the level of hate that Alabama vs. Auburn does. This is venomous stuff. I’ve never had the chance to check out this game and will have to make it a point down the road.
While I am very familiar with Auburn and Bama fans and hold equal disdain for both, I really respect this rivalry and would put this trip pretty high on the list.
Now that I’ve offended all the Buckeyes and Wolverines with paying tribute to the Iron Bowl, let it be known that this is right up there. Just like the Iron Bowl, these two teams have gone back and forth through history with one of the two teams dominating as of late.
But let’s face it, it’s Michigan-Ohio State, I don’t need to give you reasons why this is a must on the list.
Between the Cadets’ march and the singing of alma maters after the game, there’s about 100 reasons you need to see these young men clash on the football field. Words aren’t adequate. It is the epitome of a rivalry filled with mutual respect. This should be one of the most important ones on your list.
Game Day Atmosphere
Tailgating is something near and dear to my own heart. In Louisiana, having a good time is just as important as having a good game, and no one does it better than Baton Rouge.
With traditional night game kickoffs, Tiger fans have all day to hone their craft of creating incredible game day fare with a Louisiana kick, partying with fans from both sides, and hoisting one of the two most common pre-game libations: beer and bourbon.
LSU fans prepare for their parties like players preparing for their games, and with tailgates spread all throughout campus, you won’t have trouble running into a pre-game fun fest. If you’re an opposing fan, you may have to brave a few “Tigah Baits!” here and there, but most of the Tiger faithful will welcome you with open arms, fill you with food and alcohol before becoming mortal enemies immediately after kickoff.
If the Tigers are victorious, your Sunday morning hangover and fuzzy memories might indicate you had a better time losing than you thought.
I may have a chance to scratch this off my list in 2009. Tailgating on Lake Washington is where I want to be. Plus U Dub is located in Seattle, which isn’t exactly a college town in a good way. There aren’t many venues like Husky Stadium.
Some of these places on the list I point out merely for the spectacle and is in no way an endorsement. It would be in the same way people visit the Amish country. You don’t necessarily want to take on that way of life but you at least need to see what it’s all about.
So, with that being said, the Rebels get known for their tailgating practices because of The Grove, which features centrally located tailgating. The Grove is a commons area that is anything but common. Sorority girls and fraternity boys are dressed in their finest. Silver platters, crystal glasses, and chandeliers hanging from tailgate tents make this place unique.
Though the food was probably catered and style reigns over substance, don’t let that stop you from enjoying “Hotty Toddy” with the red and blue masses.
Much in the same way you have to visit Oxford for the culture shock, you must go to College Station. Go to midnight yell on Friday night—there’s simply no better pep rally in the nation. You won’t have trouble finding traditions at A&M because I think they call everything a tradition there. But you have to soak in this place for a weekend.
Just arrive there and ask the first person that tells you “Howdy” to be your tour guide for the weekend. Besides, it’ll help to have an Aggie/English interpreter. And don’t forget to get a date for the game, because you have a built-in excuse to mug down when the Aggies score on the field. Not all their traditions are weird.
Wouldn’t visiting Notre Dame be the equivalent of a holy pilgrimage for a college football fan? While most either love or hate the Irish, I missed my opportunity to visit South Bend in the '90s. With Touchdown Jesus, the Irish Guard’s march, and the 1812 overture, there’s plenty to see in addition to dozens of other little nougats of history.
Plus, I’d love to re-enact the scene in “Rudy” where I play John Favreau and I stand up screaming, “I know him!!!”
Talk amongst yourselves, I’m a little teary eyed right now…
Running down the hill at Clemson has been called the most exciting 25 seconds in college football, and players who are gonna give 110 percent get to rub Howard’s Rock. It’s truly one of the more dramatic entrances in college football. I would love to see how the “other” Death Valley lives before kicking the bucket.
Autzen Stadium packs the most amount of noise per capita than any other stadium. With capacity at just a shade under 60,000, this stadium can hold its own with some of the biggest noise producers in the nation, often passing the 120 decibel mark. I guess I’ll have to bring my Donald Duck ear muffs when visiting Eugene.
When using the term "greatest fans in the nation," there are a lot of parameters in play. With that said, the Husker faithful would be near the top of such a list. The fans are knowledgeable and welcoming, but also intimidating. After kickoff, try not to drown in the Sea of Red.
Some people say for an opposing fan, it’s LSU. But for this LSU fan, the most intimidating opposing venue is "The Swamp." Even its design is a little scary, and then the UF athletic department does something brilliant—they make sure no more than 25 opposing fans are seated together.
I’m barely kidding. It’s pure genius. In my one experience in Gainesville I was cursed out by an 80-year-old woman with a cane and kicked in the shins by a six-year-old little Gator girl while her parents watched and laughed.
I haven’t made the 10-hour drive since. Despite this, I still had good time.
Oh to be in college again. There aren’t many student sections that live up to the Badgers’. "Jump Around" is truly a sight to behold, so I bet it’s even better when actually participating with the bouncing bevy of Badgers to the old House of Pain joint.
“I came to get down
I came to get down
So get out ya seat and Jump Around
The classics are timeless, people.
Admittedly, this one is for the wife, who has a desire to go to the parade. But being born in New Orleans, I don’t understand parades that don’t throw stuff. That said, it would be cool to say I attended the Granddaddy of them all with all its tradition and pageantry.
Attend a National Championship Game
Here I am, a fan of a team that’s won two crystal balls in five years, both in a city 70 miles away from my house. And I didn’t see it in person either time. Try as I might, I couldn’t get a ticket in 2003. I had last minute access in January 2008 and decided not to go all in the name of superstition.
Hey c’mon, I’m 2-0 when not attending. But if I’m fortunate enough to get the opportunity to see LSU play in a championship game in person again, I won’t pass it up, superstition be damned.
Guys, if you want to search out place where the pretty co-eds are a plenty, you have to make these stops a must.
When are sweaters ever sexy??? When, I ask!!? When they’re being donned by the USC Song Girls, that’s when. Also when Jenny took some pictures in her college sweater in Forrest Gump but I’m pretty sure that was fictional.
Anyhoo, most of these girls are so hot it’s like they’re not even real people, but I assure you, they are real. You just have no real shot with them. Sorry. But that doesn’t mean you can’t go check out a Trojan game with these sideline sirens and their pom poms. Bring binoculars you peeping tom.
Speaking of California girls, the state of Florida also boasts some terrific female talent. I’ll give a shout out to any school that produced Jenn Sterger and created the trend of hot girls dressing like trampy cowgirls with hopes to be discovered by Hollywood or a talent agency or something. Best trend ever. (As pointed out by Lisa Horne http://bleacherreport.com/articles/29209-fads-in-football-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly)
If you do find a friend of the opposite sex in Tallahassee, I hear Dick Howser Stadium’s pitching mound is the hook up place of choice. And all this time I thought it would have been home plate.
I’m not really a dance team or cheerleader expert, but I’d like to give a high five to the costume designer for the Texas Pom Squad. The funny thing is, other than bare arms and midriff this costume really doesn’t show off a whole lot. So why do I like it so much? It’s one of life’s little mysteries. Maybe it’s the chaps. Maybe I’m revealing too much again? Austin is one of my favorite cities because let’s face it, you haven’t really partied till you’ve partied on Sixth Street.
I’d love to visit the Palm Walk and take in all the sights of Tempe. The Sun Devils’ reputation when it comes to partying is well known, and that’s just fine by me.
I’ve gotten pictures sent to me through e-mail on more than one occasion featuring smoking hot ASU girls posing for the lens. I don’t live near Arizona or know anyone from Arizona, but somehow they find their way to my Inbox. That should count for something.
Plus, who doesn’t love a girl that throws up “the shocker?"
I’m not sure what the male/female ratio is at UGA, but it seems like the guys are outnumbered heavily. How awful for them, eh? It doesn’t hurt that the Southern belles look so fetching in their red and black. The downtown Athens area is one of my favorite away trip destinations.
And on a final note, I’d like to pay my respects to UGA VI, who died last week. It’s always hard to lose a loved and respected mascot, and UGA VI was truly one of the things that make college football so great.
Also, in case you’re wondering, of the 23 things on this list, I’ve only crossed off seven. I’ve got some work to do, but hopefully (fingers crossed) I still have a lot of time to do it.
So that’s my list, what’s on yours?
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