M.M. ROBERTS STADIUM – SOUTHERN MISS

The foundation of college football culture is constructed on small campus towns that swell to ten times their size on gamedays. Locations like Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Norman, Oklahoma attract most of the spotlight. But, more impressive are the dots on the map that are typically less hyped, but emit the same passion and pageantry as universities that are consistent gridiron thoroughbreds. Hattiesburg, Mississippi qualifies as one of these special campuses. Located one hour from both the Louisiana and Alabama borders, the University of Southern Mississippi is an underrated hot spot in college football that deserves more of that spotlight.

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Game 315: FIU @ Southern Miss

Neither the Golden Eagles or the Panthers experienced the seasons they had imagined. Southern Miss lost three quarterbacks to injury, and in their most recent game, they rotated four quarterbacks that weren’t even listed at that position on the depth chart. Florida International entered this contest with one win and disgruntled head coach, Butch Davis, coaching in his final game while carrying accusations of a complacent and non-supportive athletic department. The game certainly did not garner national interest, but the passion was palpable as each team filed in to play their final battle of the season.

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HANCOCK WHITNEY STADIUM – SOUTH ALABAMA

Located in Mobile, South Alabama is one of the youngest college football programs in the FBS. Established in 2009, the Jaguars were tenants of Ladd-Peebles Stadium for its first ten years of existence. Now the proud residents of the sparkling new Hancock Whitney Stadium, South Alabama is rapidly establishing the gameday traditions that make college football so special.

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Game 314: Coastal Carolina @ South Alabama

Coastal Carolina – the darlings of 2020. The Chanticleers launched their program to relevancy with an undefeated regular season and finish in the nation’s top 15. They emerged in 2021 as a favorite to win the Sun Belt and rode the 2020 wave deep into the season. Losses to Appalachian State and Georgia Southern upended their run, but a ten-win season was still on the line as they ventured into Mobile to face South Alabama. The Jaguars lay waiting, eager to upset the Chanticleers and become bowl eligible.

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DAVIS WADE STADIUM – MISSISSIPPI STATE

Starkville, home of Mississippi State, has been nicknamed StarkVegas. Originally, the moniker stuck as a sarcastic insult toward a town viewed as small and sleepy. But, the rise in Bulldog athletics has transformed the name into a badge of honor. Coincidentally, gamedays in Starkville are an outstanding event when this town with old southern charm becomes a cauldron of cowbell cacophony.

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Game 313: #9 Ole Miss @ Mississippi State

Hail State or Hotty Toddy?
This is the 118th meeting between Mississippi State and Ole Miss.
This is the 94th meeting played for the Golden Egg trophy.
This is the 30th meeting played on Thanksgiving night.
A New Year’s Day bowl is on the line for the Bulldogs.
A New Year’s Six bowl is on the line for the Rebels.
These two teams split the last 20 meetings.
The stage is set.

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Game 312: Purdue vs. Northwestern

This was Northwestern’s bowl game – Wrigley Field. It really should be the site of a postseason bowl game – the College Football Tour Windy City Bowl, perhaps? But, I digress. After winning the Big Ten west division two of the last three years, the Wildcats have slipped back to the Big Ten’s basement. This battle against the surging Boilermakers in “the friendly confines” offered Northwestern a bowl-like experience.

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NORTHWESTERN – RYAN FIELD

Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois is known as the “Wrigley Field” of college football. It doesn’t quite have the history of the Cubs, but boasts a very classic and old school stadium atmosphere. For a while now, NU has been calling themselves Chicago’s Big Ten Team. Attempts to market this slogan are popping up around the city, and the evidence is beginning to show with more rumps in the seats in Evanston.  Perhaps because Chicagoans are slowly realizing that Northwestern is no longer The Big Ten’s little brother.

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