Words by: Chris Panayiotou | @CPLocalCeleb
With the National Championship on Monday, it seemed like the opportune time to look at the events across the country and within the College Football world. These games are great excuses for you to hop on a plane or road trip it to different parts of the country. These are your bucket list go-to’s.
My personal honorable mentions:
The Miami/Florida State game is on my bucket list, BUT Miami’s home field is 30 or so miles from campus, and doesn’t have the same intensity is has in Tallahassee. As a Hurricanes fan, going to FSU doesn’t seem all that appealing to me. On the bright side, going to see the game in Miami Gardens means that you’re essentially in Miami. The Iron Bowl is also on the bucket list, but not top five, as I’m not a fan of either Alabama or Auburn, and honestly, I kind of dislike Alabama (the school, not the state). But the environment is electric every year. And a game Between The Hedges at the University of Georgia just intrigues me, but it really depends on who Georgia’s playing to really get that experience. A good SEC matchup definitely increases the value of this trip.
Okay, now that we have those out of the way, we’ll get into the top five:
5. Red River Showdown – This one is easy for me, considering it’s practically in my backyard. The Texas/Oklahoma game at the State Fair of Texas in the Cotton Bowl, goes down the first weekend of October in Dallas, which usually means the mild weather perfect for drinking, eating fried abominations at the Fair and damaging your hearing at the game. It’s one of those rivalries ingrained into people in my part of the country, so there really isn’t much else to say about it. As long as Dallas doesn’t lose the game to Jerry Jones ever, this is a bucket lister, but then again, even the idea of the game possibly leaving the Cotton Bowl may make the urgency of getting to this one even greater.
4. Wisconsin home games have appeal really for one reason. When the student section and a good chunk of the 80,000+ attendees at Camp Randall Stadium start jumping up and down to “Jump Around” by House of Pain, between the 3rd and 4th quarter, it’s been described as a man-made earthquake.
3. The annual Michigan/Ohio State game, either in Ann Arbor, Michigan (capacity of 107,601) or in Columbus, Ohio (capacity of 102,092), or both, if you can pull it off. The seating numbers alone make this an enticing game to go to. I’d probably go to the Michigan iteration of this one because of my distaste for OSU, but either way it’s a win. At this point, if you’ve made it this deep into the article, I’m guessing you are a football fan, and are well-aware of why this one is special. If not, THEY FIRST PLAYED IN 1897! You won’t find a rivalry like that in the NFL, and is yet another example of why college football is better than professional football.
2. The National Championship game seems like an obvious #1, but with the changing venues, the trip may not be somewhere palatable for the traveler/college football fan. While the inaugural game was held at Jerry World (AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas), once you’ve been there once, eh… and this year it’s in Santa Clara at Levi’s Stadium, the home of the San Francisco 49ers, which is more eh. So as a pure fan, yes, of course going to the National Championship is a once in a lifetime event (for most people), but with it being detached from the Bowls and potentially being somewhere without much college football tradition, it loses some of its luster. That is, unless it’s played in …
1. The Rose Bowl, known as “The Granddaddy of Them All,” is the oldest (began in 1902) and arguably the most storied bowl game in college football. Plus, it’s in Southern California in January; there aren’t too many other places to be in the dead of winter. Going to a regular season game would be cool too, as the stadium is home to both USC and UCLA, but the Rose Bowl game itself is something special and is viewed with a special sentiment by college football fans, players and coaches. But then catch a National Championship game there one year and that’s the ultimate bucket lister.
Accompanying the game, and may get non-football fan girlfriends, wives or kids interested in the trip as well, is the original attraction, The Parade of Roses, which dates back to 1890. And again, it’s SoCal in January.