My 2017 College Football Experience

Submitted by UNCWolverine on December 12th, 2017 at 12:09 PM

As we find ourselves in a bit of a lull between the regular season and bowl games I thought I’d take the time to post about my 2017 college football experience. I am single with no kids, and being in sales my manager allows me a fairly flexible work schedule so long as I hit my numbers.

So I have decided to take advantage of this time in my life and opportunity to indulge in one of my favorite things, college football. I absolutely love Michigan football, but I also really enjoy experiencing new stadiums, campuses, fanbases, etc. So this fall I set out to check off a few more boxes. Here goes….

September 9 – Stanford (24) @ USC (42)

I really thought Stanford was going to take it to the Trojans. My Stanford buddy and I took Stanford +6 and we never had a chance. I recall after seeing this USC offense that they might go undefeated this season and wished Michigan could have one of their two superb backs who combined for 235 on 34 carries.

I did not take a wide shot picture from my seat probably because I’ve been to several games at the Coliseum. But I did think it was interesting that you could definitely tell where the student section started and stopped based on brand new shirts compared to those that have been washed and faded over the years.

September 16 – LSU (7) @ Mississippi State (37)

This was my second LSU away game (last year’s loss to Wisconsin at Lambeau). The Tigers were 2-0 going into this game and there was no reason to expect this result. This team looked confused and undisciplined all over the field. In fact I believe two LSU DLinemen were ejected for dangerous and absurdly stupid hits to the Bulldogs QB within minutes in the3rd quarter.

This was first time to Starkville and hopefully my last. The cowbells were just awful (akin to vuvuzelas) and it just boggles my mind that they are allowed to bring them into the stadium. They do mostly stop ringing them when the opposing team comes to the line of scrimmage, but they begin ringing them right after the ball is snapped. I also can’t believe they are allowed to ring them when the opposing team is huddling up, there is just not a chance at any verbal communication outside of shouting in the huddle. It made for a brutal neutral/opposing fan experience and I never plan to subject myself to that shit again.

Here you can see that they’ve set the stadium up so you can actually sit outside near the south endzone and watch the game on the big screen above the north endzone. That seemed unique in all my travels. This was after the game was no longer in doubt, so I’m sure it was packed at the beginning of the game.

September 17 – Pats (won) @ Saints (lost)

October 14 – Auburn (23) @ LSU (27)

After that loss to Mississippi State and then the embarrassment by Troy I don’t think anyone saw this one coming. And by halftime it looked like Auburn would walk away with a fairly easy victory. But LSU scored the only points in the 2nd half, 13 all in the 4th quarter to pretty much save their season and probably Coach O’s job.

This was something I don’t really think I’d seen before. Players were holding up these banners/flags to, I can only assume, hide the coach’s whiteboard from lookie loos in the Auburn press box. Seemed overly paranoid to me, but maybe it’s been a thing in the past.

October 15 – Lions (lost) @ Saints (won)

November 4 – Oklahoma (62) @ Oklahoma State (52)

This was an area of the country I haven’t spent much time. This was my 2017 grad school buddy trip. Last year we did Florida @ Tennessee and this year we decided on the Bedlam Game for their hall pass weekend. We experienced a lot of great BBQ and the open carry law. We really wanted to place a wager on the game to make it more interesting. Last year we took the over and it helped pay for our dinner after the game. The over/under in this game was 76.5 which seemed pretty high. But this was a Big12 game and not Michigan State v. Iowa so we decided to take our chances. It was 38-38 AT HALFTIME. This made the game very enjoyable from that standpoint.

And I didn’t have to look far for the obligatory….

And as Game Day was in town that weekend we got to meet Lee Corso very early Sunday morning at the airport. I’ve been in the “he really should just retire” camp the past few years. But man after meeting him he’s such a nice and charming guy I have backed off that stance. I hope he can continue for years to come.

November 18 – Cal (14) @ Stanford (17)

A few of us went to the Stanford @ Cal game in the pouring rain last year. I had never been to a game on the farm so decided sort of last minute (night before) to fly up Saturday morning to catch this game. I actually did something that I don’t usually do when I go to games, I took the time to walk the (athletic) campus a bit. Not surprisingly it is all very impressive. I have to say it would be tough to turn down Stanford if you’re an athlete in just about any sport, and they have the Director’s Cup results to back that up.

I have always considered Cal to be Michigan’s sister school from school colors to the education to the campus politics. Crazy Cal kids…

This picture was taken inside the gates after they scan your ticket. They have beautiful landscaping all around the outside of their stadium. They haven’t touched the bathrooms/concession stands since they built the stadium, but it really is a great environment, highly recommend it.

November 25 – Michigan/OSU

I’ve only missed a handful of OSU home games since the early 90s even though I’ve really not lived in Michigan since about 2000. I did not want this year to be one of those years even though I knew it would be JOK getting the starting nod. I’ve got nothing groundbreaking to say about the game.

But I will say for those that live in/near Michigan and are able to attend a lot of games, coming back for a game or two each year truly is for me a highlight of every year. I’ve brought numerous friends back for games and to see our campus over the years. I am proud of our university regardless of our wins and losses. As this post signifies I’ve been to dozens of campuses and it really doesn’t get much better than what we’ve got at Michigan, go blue.

I checked off 3 new P5 stadium boxes this fall which now puts me at 22 total. Here is my list in no particular order:

North Carolina

Oklahoma State

Indiana

Iowa

Michigan

Michigan State

Northwestern

Purdue

Wisconsin

Cal

Stanford

UCLA

USC

Utah

Washington

Arkansas

Florida/Georgia Cocktail Party - Jacksonville

Georgia

LSU

Mississippi State

Tennessee

Texas A&M

One last thing, In my previous company I used to work with a real ass hat that was a big Louisville fan/alum/arrogant loudmouth. After the championship game against them I mentioned that it was a shame that the refs ruined the end of our game with that terrible foul call on Trey Burke. He commented that it was indeed the right call because Burke impeded his way to the basket. Then he threw in this diddy, “you should stick to things you know about in Michigan, like asparagus”. So I did what any Michigan asparagus-loving fan would do, I anonymously sent him this:

Comments

UNCWolverine

December 12th, 2017 at 12:26 PM ^

yeah, I've thought about beginning the grueiling task of putting something like that together. Off the top of my head my favorite places for games besides Michigan would be Athens, GA, Madison, WI, and LSU.

As far as fanbases OSU is by far the worst in the country and everyone but them knows it.

SFBlue

December 12th, 2017 at 12:48 PM ^

Nah. Bezerkeley is fun. Especially on game day. Post game vibe is very much like Ann Arbor. (Come to think of it maybe Ann Arbor has better restaurants, if you remove places like Chez Panisse that realistically you won't go to on or near gameday.)

There are angry types everywhere, and they don't get out in circulation all too often. 

TSimpson77

December 12th, 2017 at 12:29 PM ^

My family and I visited my wife's family in McKinney over the Thanksgiving holiday and I took my son, who's 8, to the TCU Baylor game at TCU. Was a cool experience, very family friendly atmosphere. The Frog Walk and Frog Alley are really cool, we followed their band into the stadium. Wanted to visit an actual Texas game but didn't want to drive 3 hours to Austin.  Would love to visit the Red River Rivalry, The Iron Bowl and eventually I'll make it to The Game. 

Arb lover

December 12th, 2017 at 8:17 PM ^

I've been to a decent number of college games around the country and I love wearing my UM gear. I can vouch that as long as its not in Columbus (the fan base there is just dumb for some reason), people are generally really cool and chill and honestly just honored that there's a Michigan fan coming to their game. So. many. free. beers. Actually Alabama was a close second behind Columbus. I don't know that I'll go back there unless Michigan's playing:)

Jasper

December 12th, 2017 at 12:34 PM ^

OP: Thanks for sharing. If you'd be open to it, I'd appreciate more comments about the towns and their cultures. For example, I've heard Starkville is Nowhereville, but I've never been there so I can't say for sure.

UNCWolverine

December 12th, 2017 at 12:46 PM ^

When I have more time maybe I'll write a diary about my travels. Regarding Starkville we literally arrived at game time and headed down to a casino near the Louisiana border after the game. I have zero data on Starkville accordingly.

rockediny

December 12th, 2017 at 12:55 PM ^

I've been dreaming of doing exactly this for some time. I want to go to every traditional power's stadium (used to be every P5 team but I realized as an adult that that's insane and I'd have to go to Mississippi at some point). One day...

LSAClassOf2000

December 12th, 2017 at 12:56 PM ^

I'll leave this here for a little while, but if the OP is cool with it, I would like to preserve this in the diary section before it falls off the first page. It can remain in the board posts so it gets a good starting audience for now though. 

Very fun read, and thanks for sharing!

skurnie

December 12th, 2017 at 1:16 PM ^

Wow, that's a hell of a year. Great write up. 

I managed to add just one to my list this year: Boston College. Mrs and I went to the FSU/BC Friday night game while in town for a friend's wedding. 

Decent atmosphere but I think that was mostly due to FSU being in town and their band was horrendous. Nice campus but it's a bit of a hike to get there from the center of Boston (nearly an hour on the T or $30+ Uber/Lyft).

 

 

Blue Durham

December 12th, 2017 at 4:10 PM ^

maybe you would take in a UNC game at Duke or NC State. Or maybe you didn't bother much with UNC sports. I love Keenan Stadium, though.

I actually have never gone to Wallace Wade/Duke in the 20 years I've been here, but would like to see them play Northwestern the next time they visit. I saw Florida State play in Raleigh against NC State a while ago. You aren't missing anything not seeing Carter-Finlay Stadium.

Other Andrew

December 12th, 2017 at 4:17 PM ^

Great report my old friend! You’re a man after my own heart. I’d love to compare notes sometime. it’s now been 10 years since I finished my football trip. Unfortunately I have the wife and kids thing so it’ll be a while before the next one.