Below is a map of the college football venues I have visited. Every year I hope to add a few new ones to the list. My goal is not to hit every BCS Division 1-A football stadium in the country. Rather, I want to visit some of the rowdy, famous, and rowdy & famous destinations in the college football world. Suggestions, both for places to go and things to do, are welcome. Ideally, each trip includes a matchup of highly ranked teams, with the home team winning in last-minute dramatic fashion to cause absolute pandemonium at rock concert volumes.
I attended my first college football game at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, IL, when I was in high school. At the time, the Fighting Illini were a perennial Top 20 team, with Howard Griffith running amok and Jeff George slingin' the ball to wideouts Steven Williams and Mike Bellamy. I was rocking my decidedly retro David Williams #1 jersey and experienced my first joys of tailgating and live college football action with my Dad and his friends. From that moment onward I was hooked. Throughout the remainder of my high school and college years I attended as many Illini games as possible but never made it to an away game (unless you count the trip to Michigan on my birthday in January 1993 when my overexcited, delinquent trespassing friends and I ran around a snow-covered field inside Michigan Stadium). On Saturdays when the Illini were away from home, I buried my head in the books with the rest of the chemistry and engineering geeks, pausing only to watch the games or celebrate an improbable victory (hello 1993 Michigan!)
After getting the graduation boot from the U. of I., I set sail for graduate school at CalTech in Pasadena. The Beavers were so horrible at the game of football that the school withdrew from formal competition three years after I was born. Thankfully the nerd factory had an arrangement with the folks at the Rose Bowl that allowed us to get tickets on the cheap to UCLA home games. I rounded up some other state school flunkies who shared my passion for college football, and we watched games every Saturday until we earned our Ph.D.'s.
One of the great things about graduating from CalTech with a Ph.D. is the possibility of obtaining a job. Work for pay - such a novel concept. This capitalistic tomfoolery allows me the freedom (but not nearly enough time) to pursue my college football addiction with more zeal. In 2004 my friend Todd's Dad scored us tickets to the Florida @ Tennessee game. We flew in to Knoxville just ahead of Hurricane Ivan. After a very windy & rainy night, the skies cleared up the next day as we toured the University of Tennessee campus and surrounding areas. Gameday was pure insanity, as we partied with the masses in advance of the 8 p.m. kickoff time. The craziness ended long after the Volunteers kicked a last-second field goal to win the game. That was my first major road trip to a college football game, and I've been doing a couple every year since then.
Buena suerte to all, and Go Illini!
College Football Talk
Hail to the Orange
Wizard of Odds
Black Shoe Diaries
Losers With Socks
College Game Balls
Burnt Orange Nation
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