For a university that wasn’t in existence when Bo and Woody began their ten-year war in 1969, Liberty has the gameday experience figured out. It’s an atmosphere that is uniquely their own and embodies traditions that have taken strong roots. Its prosperous run as an FCS member in The Big South Conference has transitioned them smoothly into their current position as a budding force in the FBS.Continue reading “LIBERTY – WILLIAMS STADIUM”
“The game went nothing like what I thought it was going to go,” remarked Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze during the postgame press conference. “I went for it on 4th and 2 on the 40-yard line to start it because I just had my mind made up that this thing is going to be 45-41 shootout type game.”
It wasn’t. This was a slugfest between two schools that can light up the scoreboard. A frustrating fact for the Flames was that they had nearly 500 yards of offense in a 17-10 victory. But, a win is a win and that means everything to a team that is eligible to earn its first bowl game in program history.
The glint of the golden Irish helmets have not reflected off the light in Evanston since 1976. Notre Dame and Northwestern have met often in the past, but home games for the Wildcats were typically shifted to Soldier Field. The purple invaded South Bend four years ago and shocked the Irish in overtime. That same magical feeling was hovering over tailgates around Evanston and over Ryan Field as an undefeated Notre Dame team spilled out onto the Wildcats’ home field.
I have always loved a good upset. It’s part of the unpredictable excitement of college football. It’s a little harder when it’s your team on the losing end of that upset. But, if there is one thing that I have learned on my travels around the country, it is a growing appreciation for the successes of other teams. BYU earned the right to celebrate today.
One of college football’s hidden gems lies in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The setting alone is special. The high peaked mountains that rise above outside of Aggie Memorial Stadium are stunning. A lot of losing seasons have kept the fan base from being energized, but when they are on, it is considerably fierce.
57 years passed since New Mexico State made a bowl game. Last year, that streak was broken as the Aggies won the Arizona Bowl over Utah State. That successful season has reignited fan fever in Las Cruces, and with Wyoming coming to town in the season opener, the atmosphere was buzzing.
Describing college football is a challenging task without uttering Notre Dame in the same breath. No sports tour of any kind is complete without a stop in South Bend, Indiana. The gameday experience here is rich with eye-opening appeal. With the first step on these hallowed grounds, fans truly feel the history of former players, Heisman winners, and legendary coaches who made this game famous. Strolling around the campus prior to kickoff is where these traditions get pieced together – it’s college football’s theme park.
Northwestern did it before. 1995. The Irish opened the season ranked 9th and the Wildcats were supposed to be the welcome mat that Notre Dame trampled over to initiate a fresh new season. But, Northwestern knew that scripts can change. The Wildcats stunned the Golden Domers with a 17-15 victory that the Chicago Tribune dubbed “The Upset of the Century.” This win would propel the purple towards one of the must unexpected Cinderella stories culminating in their first Big Ten championship and Rose Bowl appearance since 1949.
What do you call a BYU fan in a bar?
Okay, overused joke, I know. But, since BYU became independent, they have visited many foreign campuses where a joke like this is fresh. Welcome to Madison, Cougars. Wisconsin fans are primarily quick-witted and knee-slappingly funny, but this bit of humor was only worthy of a smirk and an eye-roll. Nevertheless, it is fun introducing fans who appreciate a top notch college atmosphere to one of the Big Ten’s best.
If I spent all summer writing the perfect script, I still couldn’t have come up with what transpired on Saturday. Yes, much of it was scripted, and planned for nearly ten months. But, perfection reached new heights at Camp Randall…all prior to kickoff. August 31,2013 marked the 50th anniversary of my parents. My loving father, however, passed away 7 years ago. My brother, who shared my father’s name, passed away nine months earlier. That trying year for our family has brought us closer together, and despite my father’s absence, this fiftieth anniversary could not be overlooked.