The smoke off the mountains welcomes visitors to Knoxville. These massive natural structures highlight the beauty of this vibrant Tennessee town. The Tennessee River that runs along Neyland Stadium adds to this picturesque venue and is the site of a tradition known as the Volunteer Navy. Here, a bevy of boats of all sizes line up along the river side to engage in pregame tailgating. Neyland Stadium is one of only a few stadiums accessible by boat, and Vol fans have turned this into one of college football’s most unique traditions.
Few things are more deflating for a passionate fan base than a season opening home loss to a lowly regarded non conference opponent – especially when expectations are on the ascend. This defined Tennessee’s forgettable start to 2019 as they dropped a decision to Georgia State. Such a loss can drape a dark fog over the remainder of the season, leaving a gloomy residue on every pregame tailgate and every playing of the fight song. But, the Volunteers didn’t allow their eventual 1-4 start to dictate the remainder of the schedule. We were fortunate to stroll into Knoxville with Tennessee on a four game win streak and the orange and white faithful infused with a resurgent spirit.Continue reading “Game 300: Vanderbilt @ Tennessee”
Storied. Decorated. Legendary.
Alabama football breathes in these adjectives as they have secured themselves as a championship-devouring machine. Such success consequently translates into a loyal Crimson Tide fan base and top-notch college atmosphere.
- Alabama had won 12 straight against Arkansas.
- Alabama’s Heisman candidate was out for this game.
- Alabama’s next game is against #2 LSU.
According to Crimson Tide head coach, Nick Saban, those facts are all “rat poison.” In Saban’s dictionary, “rat poison” would be defined as “outside noise, typically generated by the media, that causes distraction from the task at hand.” But Coach Saban is a media firewall for his team. His fury seems to always translate to his team’s focus – look away from the shiny objects, and focus on hammering the Hogs.
As usual, that’s just what Alabama did.
Tradition and Texas A&M are inexorably tied. Aside from the cavernous stadium that stretches high into the Lone Star sky, the traditions that have been in place for decades have not been altered – only improved with age.Continue reading “TEXAS A&M – KYLE FIELD”
At halftime of this game, I was feeling a bit complacent. After visiting 75 stadiums for nearly 300 games, I wondered what adventures lie ahead that could shock or surprise. After all, Texas A&M has been my number one bucket list stadium for years, and it exceeded expectations. Don’t get me wrong, college football never disappoints, but today, it’s timing was epic. Any wisps of dormancy that emerged to my senses were obliterated by the most unexpected, mouth-gaping, 7-overtime thriller of a finish that I have ever experienced.
Even though Lexington lies on the northern portion of SEC country, southern flavor still lives strongly in Kentucky. The scenery toward Lexington is what one might expect with rolling hills giving way to fenced-in horse pastures. Fans tailgate around the stadium as sections of the Kentucky band visit random tailgates for a private show. The wide mass of fans dressed in blue moves like ocean waves toward Kroger Field to watch the band perform as the team makes their entrance during the pregame Catwalk. Kentucky’s band bangs out “Kentucky Fight” while fans welcome the team.
Wildcat enthusiasm took a huge hit as dreams of an SEC title game appearance evaporated with losses to Georgia and Tennessee. Kentucky has still produced a record setting season including its first win over Florida in 31 attempts. Senior day descended upon Lexington today with a deceptively tough Middle Tennessee team coming into Kroger Field and records that still needed breaking.
Before even having attended LSU, I described it as one of my top 5 visits along the college football tour. I just knew – and I wasn’t disappointed. Few places blend hospitality and hostility so well – the fans are most welcoming and the stadium is most intimidating. This is especially true on a Saturday night.