The 9 Greatest Things About Attending a College Football Game
OH, BABY! WHAT AN UPSET! Miami Hurricanes 24, Ohio State Buckeyes 6! The first win of the "Golden Era."
There was pandemonium in Sun Life Stadium on Saturday night as Miami running back Lamar Miller and the team's shutdown pass defense led "The U" to a quality victory over a ranked opponent.
It was your typical rowdy and wonderful experience, and it reminded me why college football games are better attended in person than watched on a screen.
Here are nine reasons, coming from someone who had an epic night at the game.
A tailgate is a great excuse to come to the venue early. There's always some sun, food, and of course, beer.
Stadium refreshments are expensive no matter where your team plays, so get the most out of your pregame. Mingle with strangers who support the same school as you. Throw around the pigskin for yourself.
Tailgating is a great American tradition.
Yeah, they love college football too!
While your bros should always come first, it's important to have "distractions." Women are essential supplements to your parking lot activities, line-waiting, or seated experience—from kickoff to final whistle.
Wearing Some Paint
Color coordination is a given at any game. Every program has its team colors (Miami's are orange and green).
Enough uniformity among fan attire can intimidate the opposing team, but to achieve this, you'll need more than just some bright t-shirts.
Whenever you attend, make sure to bring some paint. Decorate your chest, arms, face—anything above the waist. Get your group members involved and spell a clever message out from left-to-right.
I'm including posters in this slide as well. Hold up your sign at the right time and it may get you on the game broadcast (Saturday's game was shown nationally on ESPN, by the way).
Home Team Takes the Field
Anticipation builds as the scheduled start time approaches. Regardless of how the matchup appears on paper, either team still has the ability to win at the onset of the action.
Dramatic music coupled with cool special effects—the Hurricanes' fog, for example—brings all in attendance to their feet. An optimistic crowd will make the atmosphere positively electric.
It's difficult to understand that intangible from your living room, and I don't care how great your 3D television is.
Harassing Visiting Fans
This action is best explained through video and I regret not capturing one.
Although there are exceptions—like games played at neutral sites—one fan base will often dominate the other. Those brave souls that constitute the minority are in for an uncomfortable time, especially if their team fares poorly.
Fans generally have more energy in the beginning, and that's probably why the "**** Ohio!" chants were strongest during the 1st quarter on September 17.
Alcohol takes over from there. I encourage moderate drinking for those who feel that it keeps them actively participating. But if intoxicated, the line between what's appropriate and what isn't may become blurred. Have a sober friend nearby to keep you from going too far.
This tradition may be a bit outdated in the 21st century, where nearly every collegiate field has a PA system and an ample selection of music titles to keep the crowd entertained.
However, I value the band's performance because 1) it includes several undergraduate acquaintances of mine, 2) it would be funny to see them stumble and fall while hoisting large instruments, 3) the complex choreography usually culminates in a word, phrase, symbol or illustration, which is pretty cool, and 4) it makes halftime pass quickly so that I'm not tempted to overpay for mediocre food at the concession stand.
Broadcast networks show limited—if any—coverage of the marching band.
Every school has their own chants. Most are corny, but unifying at the same time.
In the comfort of your own home, nobody has the power to suspend your individual analysis. Yet at a sell-out stadium, it's much harder to avoid mindlessly joining in a familiar motion or taking the cue from the team's mascot.
It's dumb, but also a lot of fun.
Don't forget about the most exciting play in sports: the touchdown.
Nothing compares to celebrating a clutch score with tens of thousands of your closest friends, and that is exactly what happens. All fans rejoice together.
You'll be high-fiving small children, awkward kids from your 8 a.m. Spanish class, even your worst enemies—because for a few beautiful moments, personal relationships are meaningless. The only connection that matters is the one between the crowd and the team to which they are unconditionally devoted.
The Alma Mater
Nothing says college quite like an Alma Mater.
Isn't it amazing to be able to recite an anthem along with the players, coaches, cheerleaders and fellow fans? The Alma Mater is like a team-specific "Star-Spangled Banner." It's the ideal activity to close out a successful gameday.
My greatest concern is that I have readers who cannot relate to these experiences. With that said, I implore anybody with a few dollars to spare to give college football a try.