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.
A trip to Williams-Brice Stadium will satisfy all the elements of an electric SEC atmosphere. The energy that ripples through these stands is challenging to duplicate, and it can pulsate throughout Columbia on game day.
Georgia State’s football program is young. Both teams date back to the early 1900s or late 1800s. Georgia states inaugural season was 2010.
It was Bill Curry, former Kentucky and Alabama head coach, who chose to return to the sidelines to help build the foundation for this brand-new program. Georgia State certainly endured a healthy dose of growing pains, but with Bill Curry’s guidance he was able to pass the baton onto a new head coach who has since taken them to their first ever bowl game.
USC really drives the tradition of west coast football. With their first squad fielded in 1888, Southern Cal is a team that sets a standard for others not only near the Pacific, but nationally. USC is one of those places that define tradition. An illustrious history includes coaching legends, Heisman Trophy winners, national championships, and classic rivalries (Notre Dame and UCLA most notably).
San Diego State plays their home games off campus in Qualcomm Stadium. The venue is shared with the San Diego Chargers (now defunct) and although off campus stadiums are typically less than desirable, Aztec fans make the best of it. Their passion and love for their team is evident on gamedays. The lots fill with cheer outside this concrete giant of a stadium as the players arrive on their traditional Warrior Walk through fans and into the arena.
The Rose Bowl is known as the “granddaddy of them all” because of its prestige, rich history, and striking beauty. Set amongst the San Gabriel Mountains and placed in the ritzy neighborhoods of the Arroyo Seco, the setting is timeless and leaves a lasting impression. Arguably college football’s most picturesque view occurs as the sunset illuminates the mountains adjacent to the Rose Bowl, while outlining this colorfully grand arena. It’s one of perfection’s rare visits.
Central Iowa is home to the beautiful state capitol, fields of corn, and Iowa State University. The surroundings along the twenty mile drive north of Des Moines offer little suggestion that college campus life lies just ahead. When cutting off toward Iowa State, it isn’t long before a stadium jumps into view. The campus is a few football tosses away. Lincoln Way is the main drag with the Campus Bookstore and several quaint hangouts. On gameday, parking lots are full and tailgating is in full force right from the highway exit. The party starts early as a flurry of activity permeates the perimeter of Jack Trice Stadium from first class tailgating to the team walk that attracts fans, the band, and Cy the Cyclone mascot. The band scurries over to the Alumni Center to perform their Step Show – the fight song, chants, and cheerleaders continue the festivities as fans anticipate kickoff.
Mix together typical American homes with welcoming folks, well-appointed lawns, tree lined streets, a dash of cornfield and a sprinkle of charm and you have West Lafayette, Indiana. Ross-Ade Stadium lies in this town as a landmark at Purdue. It falls in line beautifully with the red-bricked architecture that is contagious throughout campus. Visitors get a sense of West Lafayette’s midwestern appeal as soon as they begin their search for parking because many of the locals happily open their lawns to cars from out-of-town areas.
Looking down from high atop Sentinel Peak (“A” Mountain), widespread afternoon views of Tucson lie below. Looking up at this peak from campus, the rock-formation “A” is a beacon of pride for Wildcat fans. Even though night games are a common trend at Arizona, gameday action builds a grand crescendo all day long.
While some alumni may not be proud of Arizona State’s consistently high party school ratings, the expectations for fun do translate very well on football game days. Tempe is a vibrant campus town that benefits from its big city neighbor, but radiates a character of its own. Eccentrically urban, Tempe is the ideal home for Arizona State.