Denton, Texas is situated just 40 miles from Dallas – home of the North Texas Eagles – better known as the North Texas Mean Green. UNT is relatively new to the major college football scene, and they have adapted remarkably. They joined FBS in 1996 and a few years later came a sparking new stadium. The traditions that color gameday in Denton are phenomenal making the home of the Mean Green a colorful thread in the fabric of college football.Continue reading “NORTH TEXAS – APOGEE STADIUM”
UTEP – THE SUN BOWL
“Out in the west Texas town of El Paso, there is a team that they call the Miners.”
This eclectic border town is home to the University of Texas El-Paso. Originally founded as the State School of Mines and Metallurgy, UTEP’s nickname of Miners is a perfect fit. The school has embraced its Miner identity with a swagger-filled mascot (Paydirt Pete), pickaxe icons that engulf campus, and a historic stadium carved into the mountains.Continue reading “UTEP – THE SUN BOWL”
SOUTHERN MISS – M.M ROBERTS STADIUM
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.Continue reading “SOUTHERN MISS – M.M ROBERTS STADIUM”
UAB – PROTECTIVE STADIUM
The shift from decaying Legion Field to the newly built Protective Stadium has reenergized a program that completely dropped football after 2014, only to have it reinstated two years later after a flurry of protests. The next four seasons saw a program notch two conference titles and build an impressive new stadium in the bustling Uptown district of Birmingham. Gamedays here are building new traditions while integrating everything that makes a college gameday special.Continue reading “UAB – PROTECTIVE STADIUM”
FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL – RICCARDO SILVA STADIUM
Florida International University’s football program was born in 2002. Despite its youth, Riccardo Silva Stadium fills with pageantry on gameday. This bowl of bleachers cemented into campus contains all the ingredients necessary for a classic college atmosphere, and the Panther football team is making their roar heard along the college football landscape.
Florida Atlantic – FAU STADIUM
Football in Boca Raton was born in 2001, but they already have a legend. Coach Howard Schnellenberger built this program from scratch, lifted it to FBS status, achieved two bowl appearances, and rightfully has a statue resting outside FAU Stadium. “Winning In Paradise” is the montra and the new expectation at Florida Atlantic.Continue reading “Florida Atlantic – FAU STADIUM”
MARSHALL – JOAN C. EDWARDS STADIUM
“We are Marshall.” This is more than just a school motto. It extends beyond a mere battle cry. “We Are Marshall” is the spirit and unity of this university. These three words forged a strong bond during the aftermath of the plane crash that took the lives of the 1970 Marshall football team. From this tragic event, the Thundering Herd have rebuilt a program that could have easily vanished, and moreover, it rebuilt the hearts and minds of the Marshall faithful. It’s a story that has inspired the entire athletic world. Walking around campus, evidence of this fateful moment appears in the form of tributes honoring those Sons of Marshall that were lost. It’s a devastating, but significant component of Marshall’s history, and these tributes urge fans to never forget.
WESTERN KENTUCKY: HOUCHENS INDUSTRIES – L. T. SMITH STADIUM
Visiting Western Kentucky raises several questions: What exactly is a Hilltopper? What is the significance of the wild red towels waving around campus? What on Earth is that big floppy red mascot? A visit to Bowling Green on a frenzied gameday will help to answer these questions, and more. Upon arrival to campus you may notice a that it rests on a large hill that rises above it’s surroundings. With Western being atop this 232 foot hill, Hilltoppers became a natural choice. Finding a mascot to depict a Hilltopper posed a greater challenge. In 1979, WKU grad Ralph Carey, created Big Red as a symbol of spirit for the university. Bearing a striking resemblance to many Sesame Street characters and Grimace from McDonalds, Big Red is a big furry loveable blob that has gained national attention and fame. Getting a photo with this mascot is a true honor.
Continue reading “WESTERN KENTUCKY: HOUCHENS INDUSTRIES – L. T. SMITH STADIUM”
RICE – RICE STADIUM
Compared to the surroundings of their hated rival, Houston, the campus of Rice is like a little slice of “Oz,” and Owl fans know it. It’s a twelve minute drive from UH to Rice and the scenery changes from boarded up houses to old southern style oak tree lined streets.
MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE – FLOYD STADIUM
Just forty five minutes south of Nashville lies Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This is not the type of town that will be found in bold print on a map, but the passion for their Blue Raiders is well highlighted. Middle Tennessee State’s campus pops up in the middle of this sleepy town with the stadium being the focal point, as many southern schools are. Being in the Sun Belt, one might expect to find a dinky stadium that seats only a few willing fans. However, this double decker stadium is impressive and holds a congregation of very involved fans.