Located in north central North Carolina, Wake Forest brings spirit and tradition to the landscape of college football. While not a conventional powerhouse program, its history and passionate fan base make Demon Deacon nation stand out.
No one could have anticipated an undefeated Wake Forest team hosting a winless Florida State team, but unpredictability is the life blood of college football. However, the Seminoles’ path to winlessness was altered by Hurricane Irma, which canceled or postponed some of their games. In addition, their leader and star, Deondre Francois, suffered a season ending injury in game one, causing the team to readjust on the fly. The Demon Deacons would bring on an unexpected challenge.
Let’s face it. Duke is known for basketball. Cameron Indoor Stadium gets all the national attention for being a bucket list arena for college sports fans. However, don’t overlook the history and charm that built Wallace Wade Stadium, a landmark on campus for which Blue Devil fans show great pride.
Duke is undefeated, which typically means that basketball season is well underway. But, alas, the football Blue Devils have experienced a tremendous September and enter their Friday night prime time game undefeated as they set to face ranked Miami. The Hurricanes have undergone a turbulent road to their undefeated status. Hurricane Irma had postponed games and disrupted everyday life causing much distraction among the team.
The University of Toledo is a proud beacon in this classic Midwestern blue-collar town. Game day showcases that pride. Blue and gold blanket the entire campus from the team walk in pregame to the final canon blast on the field. Once assembled inside The Glass Bowl, it becomes evident that the fervent fans fuel the Rockets.
Toledo and Tulsa opened their playbooks to the “Defense Optional” chapter. The consequential offensive torrent made for a thrilling game for casual fans, but a frustrating one for invested supporters – lots of groans hovered over The Glass Bowl on this Saturday night, but the final celebration belonged to the home fans.
Often regarded as the Big Ten’s wildest and most 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).
Hurricane Irma had canceled, postponed, or relocated games for all the college football teams in the state in Florida, except for Florida Atlantic. The Owls traveled to Madison the day prior to the game and two days prior to the storm making landfall. The team felt more comfortable doing so since the University of Wisconsin offered to house and take care of the team as the storm passed through. Needless to say, a football game was not the main concern for Florida Atlantic.
Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois is known as the “Wrigley Field” of college football. It doesn’t quite have the history of the Cubs, but boasts a very classic and old school stadium atmosphere. For a while now, NU has been calling themselves Chicago’s Big Ten Team. Attempts to market this slogan are popping up around the city, and the evidence is beginning to show with more rumps in the seats in Evanston. Perhaps because Chicagoans are slowly realizing that Northwestern is true Big Ten football. It’s the real deal, especially lately.
DeKalb, Illinois is not that far from the city life of Chicago, but it may as well be in central Nebraska. From interstate 88, you can see Huskie Stadium, that is if the corn has already been harvested. Due to television contracts with ESPN, many Middle-American conference games fall on weekday nights, but that does not dull the enthusiasm. Many folks drive in from work and it may take a while to get adjusted to the college football mindset, but once the Huskies take the field to a barrage of fireworks, that ol’ Saturday feeling comes back.