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.
Due to basketball’s domination in the state of Indiana and a shortage of winning seasons in the past decade, the Hoosier football program is starving for attention in the Big Ten. However, they have all the ingredients in Bloomington to be successful. John Mellencamp, an IU alum, donated a beautiful practice facility and the campus itself is very attractive. Memorial Stadium is hard to miss on campus. It’s old-fashioned press box and extremely high facades seem to go right up into the sky. Recently, Memorial Stadium has undergone a facelift with world class weight lifting facilities and added seats that closed both ends of the stadium. All these pieces make Memorial Stadium primed to be a cauldron of excitement.
The Hoosiers have been winning the games they should win. In the competitive Big Ten East, it’s forgivable to lose to Ohio State, Penn State, and even Michigan State during their struggle saturated season. Indiana won all their non conference games, beat the lower echelon conference teams, and consequently have secured a bowl bid. With all this, though, wouldn’t it be nice to topple conference heavyweight, Michigan?
Spotlight on Bloomington for Indiana’s opportunity.
The Sooners have been playing football before Oklahoma became a state, and with each passing decade, their championship legacy has been unwavering. Conference titles, national championships, and Heisman trophies are a regular part of conversation amongst the fan base, and this has created a tradition in Norman, Oklahoma that strengthens the college football world.Continue reading “OKLAHOMA – MEMORIAL STADIUM”
During Oklahoma’s last home game, their famed Sooner Schooner toppled during its pregame ride out onto the field. Since then, the football team has also seemed to be riding on a wobbly axle. The following week, the Sooners took their first loss of the season at Kansas State. Iowa State’s arrival in Norman would offer up another speed bump in their season.Continue reading “Game 298: Iowa State @ #4 Oklahoma”
“There will be a team that will come from nowhere and will have an outstanding year. We plan on that being us.” These were the words of Coach Lovie Smith at Big Ten Media Days this past July. Now, sitting at 2-4 including an ugly home loss to Eastern Michigan, one might wonder when that “outstanding year” will start.Continue reading “Game 292: #16 Michigan @ Illinois”
Driving across the Bay Bridge from San Francisco to Berkeley provides the first indication that you are in for something special when visiting the home of the Golden Bears. Once on campus, you are immediately permeated with a dose of California coolness – that perfect blend of eclectic eateries, shops, and personalities. Driving deeper into town and further up the rising picturesque landscape will make you wish you went to college here.
When it comes to the Cal football team, the vibe in Berkeley has been one of impatience – lots of opportunity and little to show for it. This year fit that same mold. The Golden Bears would have to win out against Washington, #4 Oregon, and #11 Oregon State in order to become bowl eligible – a monumental task for sure. A gorgeous early November afternoon morphed into a chilly Friday evening of football inside Memorial Stadium. Even though the stadium was not quite a sellout, loyalty and pride didn’t take a backseat. The band played with the same passion, the fans cheered with the same energy, and the players fought with the same amount of heart.
Another typical Illinois football afternoon was shaping up in Champaign. The tailgating didn’t miss a beat despite frigid temperatures. It’s never too cold for Big Ten football. The Illinois band boomed “Oskee Wow Wow,” and fans appeared geared for a big game. A casual observer might not be able to detect that Illinois is battling a four game losing streak that has caused the media to grumble and put Coach Zook on the hot seat. Perhaps it wouldn’t leave such a bad taste in the mouth had they not ignited hope with a six game win streak.
“Hoosier Football” are two words that go together about as well as “Lite Syrup” or “Economic Stability.” Combine one bowl in 17 years and six different head coaches in the same time span. Add to it a 45 year Big Ten title drought and you have the Indiana football program. Memorial Stadium in Bloomington has been recently expanded, which just means more empty seats. We got to the stadium early and stood in the expanded horseshoe area attempting to catch a few pregame practice kicks that lofted high enough to land in the stands.