Every once in awhile people will ask if I would like them to write a guest post about a road trip they took to a college football game. In all honesty, I would love for the site to grow into that exact type of thing, where everyone shared actual game stories, but I don’t have the time or the skill to get the website where it needs to be for this to happen.
However, today we have a guest post from @KilroyFSU from his trip to the Florida State at USF game. I’ve been to Raymond James stadium, just for the Outback Bowl when Penn State played Tennessee, just not a USF game. I love how he added which stadiums he has been to, both for games and just to visit. If you would like to add a guest post about a visit to a stadium, just let me know @collegiatestdms.
Anyways, without further delay, here is the post from @KilroyFSU:
Over the years, I have attended as many FSU road games as I could. Now, I am by no means a super-fan in that regard. I have a friend I went to high school with who has been to every Ohio State game – home and away – since he was 13 or 14. I’m not even close to that level of travel. I am a Florida State grad, and I only missed one home game during my time as a student, and I have been to every ACC road venue except Virginia Tech and Boston College. (In the interest of full disclosure, I have not been to a Miami home game since they left the Orange Bowl, though I have seen an FSU-Miami game in their current venue, ironically enough, during an Orange Bowl matchup the year before Miami joined the ACC.
That being said, I do everything I can to attend as many out of conference road games as possible. As long as FSU is in the ACC, there will be an opportunity to attend a game at Boston College every other year. But most out of conference road games consist of a home and home series, and no more. FSU may never play at Oklahoma again, and I greatly regret that I was not able to attend FSU’s road game in Norman a couple years ago. I have had the opportunity to attend out of conference road games at Syracuse (ironically, a future ACC opponent), Notre Dame, BYU, Colorado, and Florida.
All of this leads up to FSU’s road game at South Florida. For a number of reasons, it is unlikely that FSU will ever play USF at Tampa again. Since I live in Tallahassee, a road trip to Tampa was easy – just a weekend road trip. We left Tallahassee after work on Friday and headed to my in-laws’ house on the east coast of Florida. We left their house in the morning in plenty of time to make the 6 PM kickoff. I had my 13-year-old son with me, and my wife and other two sons made the trip to Tampa, so I spent the day with them until the game, but as I walked from the International Mall to Raymond James Stadium, the tailgating scene along Dale Mabry looked lively. I had a friend that I hadn’t seen in a couple years who invited me to his tailgate, but I did not have time to stop by, to my regret.
Raymond James Stadium is an NFL stadium, of course, home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I generally detest NFL stadiums. Yes, they are more comfortable, with individual seats instead of bleachers, but they are void of character and passion. Tampa’s stadium has some character compared to most NFL stadiums, with the massive pirate ship and all, but it’s not USF’s stadium. One nice feature was the $7 pop, which included free refills. I normally resent paying for overpriced drinks at stadiums, but even though the price was steep, it was nice to be able to send my son for refills whenever the cup ran dry.
The crowd was massive – officially a sellout and the largest crowd in USF history, but it still did not feel like a USF home game, like it might if they had an on-campus stadium a couple miles north. Yes, part of that may be due to the fans – it seemed like as many FSU fans were in the stadium as USF fans, but I can’t imagine any other game at Ray Jay would “feel” like a USF home game. I have been to a UCF home game (not against FSU, obviously) at both the Citrus Bowl and at Brighthouse Stadium on campus, and the latter is a far superior venue. USF will do well to emulate their future Big East rival and build a smaller stadium on campus that they could sell out on a regular basis.
As for the game, it was nothing like some of the rowdy road trips I have been on, such as Clemson, North Carolina State or Florida, but the crowd was into the game and pretty loud for a pro stadium. Florida State won in a listless performance, one that would unfortunately be a preview for the following week, when Florida State lost a tough road game in Raleigh.
This game adds USF to the list of college stadiums at which I have attended a game. The list is now as follows: Air Force, Nebraska, Michigan State, Ohio State, Indiana, Akron, Penn State, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Clemson, Virginia, Maryland, Syracuse, Notre Dame, UCF, Florida, Miami, Colorado, Minnesota (when they played in the Metrodome, unfortunately), Duke, and now, USF.
I have attended bowl games at the Orange Bowl (including the 2000 season’s national championship game, when FSU ingloriously lost to Oklahoma by a 13-2 score), the Gator Bowl, the Champs Sports Bowl, the Capitol One Bowl, and the Sugar Bowl. I have attended ACC championship games at both Jacksonville and Charlotte.
I also have a little side hobby of trying to visit as many college stadiums as I can, even if I cannot attend a game. I have been inside many stadiums, and been locked out of others after trying to get in. You’d be surprised how many college stadiums are wide open to the public during business hours, including being able to go onto the field in some cases. At Florida State, I’ve never gone by Doak Campbell Stadium at FSU without being able to get inside by any number of entrances. Others, like Michigan, are seemingly locked up like fortresses at all times.
Stadiums I’ve been inside (not listing stadiums that were listed above because I attended a game there): Troy, Arkansas, Colorado State, Illinois, Northwestern, Purdue, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Kentucky, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Southern Miss, Missouri, Bowling Green State, Cincinnati, Miami U., Ohio U., Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Baylor, Houston, Rice, Southern Methodist, Texas Tech, Utah, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Stadiums that I have gone by but failed to get inside: Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas State, Fresno State, UCLA, USC, Georgia, Hawaii, Ball State, Kansas State, Western Kentucky, Louisiana State, Navy, Michigan, New Mexico, Toledo, Oklahoma State, Tulsa, Texas, Texas A&M, Washington, and Marshall.
As you can see, I have been to games in 24 different Division 1-A (sorry, I’m not calling it FBS) stadiums, and have been inside 32 others, and have been to (but not inside) 22 others. And that does not count college teams that use pro stadiums. (For example, I’ve been in the Superdome for a Sugar Bowl. The Superdome is Tulane’s home stadium, but I did not count Tulane as a team whose stadium I have been to. Maybe I should?) I have no delusions that I will attend a game at ever 1-A stadium. That takes more time and money than I have, not to mention that my wife would kill me if I ever tried to make such a goal. But I hope to at least see every 1-A stadium at some point. That, I think, is a doable goal. Obviously, it takes a lot of travel, but I love traveling and I love visiting college campuses, so it is a fun hobby.