Going to try to make this post a little jazzier (and shorter) than my previous ones. For those who have been reading my posts, thanks so much. And for any new readers, welcome aboard - let me fill you in briefly on what's going down here.
I am on a mission to see all 129 FBS stadiums, or in other words, a home game for every FBS team. So far I have been to 105 of them, but I am behind, so this post will be about my 102nd stadium visit. I do write stadium reviews of some of the ones I visits on StadiumJourney.com, so please check out my reviews there (http://www.stadiumjourney.com/member/Aaron%20S.%20Terry).
So for # 102, I visited Georgia Southern. GSU has been an FCS powerhouse for many years, and recently made the transition to the FBS. Looking for more brand recognition, maybe, but mostly they are chasing money, like all of the other jumpers - in fact, some schools have even STARTED brand-new football programs with the explicit goal of joining the FBS in a few years, like Georgia State, in order to cash in on TV revenue and bowl payments and whatever other monies are to be had.
Do I think this is a good or bad thing? Well, it makes things harder for me, because more schools equals more visits I have to make. Plus, most of the newcomers aren't really good (yet), with the possible exception of programs like App State who will always be remembered for beating Michigan in the Big House all those years ago, and that means the average level of competition will decline, and means there will be even more Alabama vs. South Memphis Academy games wasting space on calendars in September.
I hate Septembers b/c I have this rule about not visiting a stadium on weeks where they are playing an FCS opponent, and most schools play those games in September, so it is sometimes hard to find somewhere to go - for example, back on September 19th I had the perfect opportunity to see Michigan State at noon and Western Michigan at 7 pm (both at home, less than an hour apart), so I TOTALLY could have seen 2 games in 1 day and checked 2 more stadiums off the list. But I bagged it b/c I didn't want to see Western Michigan play Murray State (seeing Illinois beat the hell outta Kent State in week 1 was bad enough).
Really I yearn for the old days when conferences played tough out of conference scheduled in September, to gear up for the conference schedule, b/c back then the conference title was all that mattered. Now it is all about the committee and rankings and money and TV time (and fantasy sports) so we get this lame games. Plus the NCAA pushes it b/c they want the big schools to pay money to the little schools so the NCAA can pretend that they are helping level the playing field. Sure you are.
But back to GSU - I live in North Carolina, so GSU is about 6 1/2 to 7 hours away, depending on whether or not I stop for peaches at a roadside stand. So I drove down to the game on Saturday, and came back the next day. I won't spend a ton of time detailing the stadium itself b/c I have a review for that (http://www.stadiumjourney.com/stadiums/paulson-stadium-s1787), but I have to say the fans are pretty intense, and I really enjoyed myself. The most notable thing was when the fans all waved their hats in unison during kickoffs (one of their cheers). Or maybe the special box seats where the ticket includes alcohol - not real box seats, mind you, just certain sections of bleachers that are blocked off (and guarded so you can't get in without the right ticket), with tables set up below the seats with food and adult beverages. That and the couple bars right across the street, so you could hang out before or after the game.
It's always a lot more fun when the home team wins, and GSU did. I remember the Colts-Steelers playoff game back in 2006, when the Colts lost at home, and everyone was just angry. Much more fun when the home team wins.
So that's a wrap for 102 - check back again for numbers 103 and beyond.