Wednesday, December 16, 2015

115 stadiums and counting - the year in review

About a week and a half ago I drove from North Carolina to Mobile, AL to see App State take on the South Alabama Jaguars.  This was my 115th FBS stadium, not counting bowl games or other special events.  The game started at 6:30 local time, so I had plenty of time to drive the whole way on Saturday, and then come home Sunday.

Some people say I'm crazy (very few have incontrovertible proof though).  But, as I tell my friends, obsession is what lazy people call commitment, and when you are committed to seeing all 130 FBS stadiums, you just don't balk at a 20-hour road trip!

Going to Alabama was not even my longest road trip this year, btw - before Thanksgiving I drove to Hattiesburg to see Southern Miss, which is a little further than Mobile.  Long drive maybe, but flying just isn't worth it - 45 minutes to the airport, plus getting there an hour early, plus the flight, maybe a layover, so flying somewhere could take 5-6 hours or more.  Plus then you have to buy a plane ticket and get a rental car, so in the end you may as well drive.  Although to be honest, 10 hours one way is about my max, longer than that and I'll fly all day.

So if you have been reading my other posts, or if you happen to ever read ESPN, you may know that App State beat South Alabama in this, their final game of the season.  The Jags ended with a 5-7 record, so did not qualify for a bowl, helping other 5-7 squads squeak in under the wire, b/c the NCAA allowed too many bowl games - you can read my diatribes on this topic elsewhere on the site.

So back on point - South Alabama hasn't had football for long, they only started in 2009, and made a quick leap to the FBS, not unlike Georgia State.  In both cases the respective cities already had a stadium, which makes it a hell of a lot easier to start a program.  The Panthers play in the Georgia Dome, while the Jags' home turf is Ladd-Peebles Stadium, which was built in the 1940s as part of the CCC, and has been hosting bowl games since 1951.

Check out my review of the Ladd-Peebles Stadium here:

But wait, you said this would be a year in review?  Okay wise person (hey, I ain't no sexist), here it is.

  • At the start of this season I had been to 100 FBS stadiums (unique home games)
  • This season I saw 22 games in 15 states, not counting states I just passed thru
  • 15 of these games were at new FBS stadiums (hence 115 and counting)
  • The other seven games included six repeats and one D2 game
  • Attending a Baylor game was another 1st - this was the first time I saw the same school in more than one stadium (Floyd Casey in 2004 & McLane in 2015)
  • All told, that makes 122 unique venues I have seen college football played in - 115 home stadiums + Baylor, + 4 bowl games, Red River Rivalry, & the Army-Navy game
    • Close to 150 if you add in NFL games at pro stadiums

And the season is not over yet!  I still have 3 bowls games on tap, one of them in the Bahamas.  So check back in a couple of weeks and read all about it.

Until then...Omaha!

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