This is a classic example of a place where sports dominate the entertainment category. On gameday, you might hear announcers joke that “you can leave the keys in your tractor” because everyone in Iowa is at the game. Pre-game tailgating is fantastic and the buzz on the streets in Iowa City is all about the team. Many fans point out visiting colors and start their battle cries and chants. Walking up to Kinnick Stadium, you see a beautiful brick façade that lines the outside. Rows of corn greet visitors to the main entrance along with a statue of their hero and 1939 Heisman trophy winner, Nile Kinnick.
Some folks may react unfavorably about the move to InfoCision Stadium from the classic Rubber Bowl that hosted Zips games since 1940. However, the venerable old stadium required much repair, and the dream of a brand new facility on campus drew closer to reality. In 2009, Akron opened InfoCision Stadium and parked it right amongst the hotspots in campus. The excitement for this new arena certainly had justification. It towers high off the main strips in campus. Akron University has fallen into the rat race for the newer and better when it comes to stadiums. However, InfoCision Stadium, other than its name, has clung to many traditional aspects of what a college football atmosphere is all about.
Coming off their first bowl victory, Appalachian State appeared fit to be in the FBS and primed to return to bowl season. Akron was also coming off of a successful bowl victory, and a victory over the Mountaineers would certainly keep them on pace to return.
Home of the Blues, Home of BBQ, and Home of the Tigers!
With few professional sports to root for, the Tigers are the tune of the town. While not situated in the wilds of the SEC, Memphis fans have that same southern charm mixed with fervent attitudes for their team.
A blistering hot day in southwest Tennessee had Liberty Bowl patrons wiping brows and seeking hydration. The Memphis Tigers were set to host Kansas, a team from a power five conference – although the term “power” is used loosely, as the Jayhawks have not won a road game since 2009.
Often regarded as the Big Ten’s wildest and thrilling venue, Camp Randall Stadium never disappoints. Once a Civil War training site, this massive structure is crammed in a beautiful residential area among dorms, frat houses, campus buildings and bars. The Camp is the perfect college venue with views of the state capital and Madison’s surrounding lakes (Mendota and Menona). The walk up Breese Terrace right before kickoff is one of my favorites as herds of red and white walk in the shadows of Camp Randall’s upper deck. The frat houses along this side are spilling over with college kids and extracurricular activity. As this side heats up, the band is finishing their pre-game concert at Union South on the Randall Avenue side. From here, they march proudly into the stadium under the iconic Camp Randall arch while creating a path through awestruck fans.
Finally, it paid off. Wisconsin’s insistence on scheduling a high profile opening game reaped some benefits. After falling short to LSU in 2014 and Alabama in 2015, the Badgers chalked up a victory in the highly anticipated rematch against LSU at historic Lambeau Field. Underdog status be damned. The Badgers are for real.
Fayetteville rocks on Saturdays in the fall. There is certainly no shortage of passionate fans and tradition here at Arkansas which is evident as the team runs out of a hog pen through the band-crafted “A” into an intimidating atmosphere in Razorback Stadium. That intimidation factor begins pregame with pro style tailgating surrounding the perimeter of Arkansas’s massive SEC arena.
Every team is a champion on opening day. Stadiums fill because anything is possible and optimism soars. Arkansas fans have been anxious for a breakthrough. Early stumbles have sullied recent hopeful seasons, and so few were looking past Louisiana Tech. Tailgating crowded the circumference of Razorback Stadium, eager for a fresh slate of games ahead, but from the first “Woo Pig Sooie,” it was evident that the Razorbacks would be in a fight in Fayetteville. Bret Bielema has brought a bullish brand of ball to Arkansas, and have successfully taken a bite out of the SEC. But, championships appear elusive at the moment, particularly when it’s a struggle to strike down LA Tech with ease.
Jonesboro is one of those tiny college towns that comes alive on game day. Centennial Bank Stadium, playfully nicknamed the vault, is home to the Arkansas State red wolves.