Every Friday, the Friday Five will rank something in the world of college football — anything and everything from the logical to the illogical. This week we rank five things every college football fan should do.
On Monday night, I was out at an event in Chicago with quite a few local sports media types in attendance, and one of them had a sad story to share with me.
Nick Friedell, a reporter who covers the Chicago Bulls for ESPN.com, was telling me about a devastating crisis in his life. You see, Nick, like so many members of the sports media, is a Syracuse graduate. He was telling me about how he’s been looking forward to Syracuse playing at LSU this season for years, and how he was planning on making the trip. Unfortunately — or fortunately depending on your perspective — Nick received a call from a friend. This friend is getting married and wants Nick to be in his wedding.
When is this friend getting married? On Sept. 23, the day Syracuse plays at LSU. Nick is obviously going to be in his friend’s wedding, but he was seeking some solace and asked me if going to a football game in Baton Rouge was really all it’s cracked up to be.
I could not provide any solace for him because it is.
If there’s any good news to come out of this, it’s that Nick’s pain inspired this week’s Friday Five. I began thinking about the things every college football fan should try to do some day. A college football bucket list, if you will.
So for this week’s Friday Five, I’m ranking the five games I would most like to see in person. Not as a member of the media covering the event, but as a fan in the stands taking it all in.
This is my top five.
5. Blacksburg at night. There are so many wonderful traditions in college football, and while the first four choices on this list came rather easily, figuring out which one I wanted to place in the five-spot wasn’t. In the end, I decided to go with a night game at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg.
I’ve never been, but I’ve always enjoyed the atmosphere of the crowd as Virginia Tech runs on to the field with Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” playing while watching on television, and I can only imagine how amazing it is to be there in person.
4. An Ohio State-Michigan game. Honestly, while I wouldn’t mind going to either Columbus or Ann Arbor to see the game as a fan, I lean slightly toward Columbus just so I can see the Ohio State marching band dot the I as well as everything else.
As for the game itself, Ohio State and Michigan have one of the greatest rivalries in all of sport, so to be able to take it all in from the seats with 100,000 of my closest friends seems like it would be a good time.
3. A night game in Baton Rouge. This is about so much more than just the game. While it would be great if LSU were playing Alabama or Florida that night, the opponent wouldn’t really matter. The game is just the encore to the entire day.
What I’m really here for is spending the entire day tailgating outside Tiger Stadium.
Oh, the fun we could have.
2. The Army-Navy Game. There just isn’t anything else like it in college football. The tradition of the rivalry, the pageantry, and just being in a stadium filled with the Midshipmen and Cadets.
The “march on” before the game starts, everyone on the field singing the other school’s alma mater after the game, everything about it just seems amazing, and I’d like to take it in for myself just once.
I mean, Presidents show up to this game, it’s kind of a big deal.
1. The Rose Bowl. It’s not just one of the most historic games in this wonderful sport, but it’s also the most beautiful place in the country to just watch a football game. A beautiful stadium, a beautiful field, a beautiful sunset and the San Gabriel Mountains all serving as a backdrop.
Simply put, it’s college football perfection, no matter which teams are playing in the game. Though if both teams want to put on a performance like the one we saw between USC and Penn State last season, that would be cool too.
Honorable Mention: Iron Bowl, Roll Toomer’s Corner, Take a boat ride with the Vol Navy, The Sugar Bowl, Midnight Yell, roughly 100 other things