Somewhere amid the cornfields of the midwest lies Champaign, Illinois. It’s a great college town with mounds of enthusiasm and passion for their team. On gameday, tailgating takes place in open fields where music blasts, games are played, and footballs are tossed. You might even catch the band performing a quick drumline or “Oskee Wow Wow” before they make their march into Memorial Stadium.
Established in 1766 as Queens College, Rutgers is older than the United States. History is a big deal around here as nods to the original Queen’s College can be seen in logos and landmarks around campus. That sense of history also spills onto the football field as Rutgers played in the first ever collegiate football game in 1869, thus earning the title The Birthplace of College Football. A statue commemorating that 6-4 victory over Princeton stands proudly outside HighPoint Stadium- an icon on the Rutgers campus.
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.
- If the Ball brothers saw a gameday in Muncie today, they would be very proud of their investment. So much pride runs through this university that bears the name of its benefactors. The brothers Ball are most famous for their glass jar company – their name scripted on each Mason style container. They wanted to give back to the community that gave so much to them by purchasing land and donating it to the state of Indiana. That land would become Ball State University.
Ball State was competitive at Notre Dame a couple weeks back. That same spirit would need to emerge as a winless, yet hungry Western Kentucky team strolled into Muncie. A great crowd was anticipated to fill Scheumann Stadium as evidenced by the expansive tailgating scene that filled the green acreage beyond the concrete lots.
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).
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.
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 no longer The Big Ten’s little brother.