It’s A Week To Be Thankful For College Football

Thanksgiving week means it’s time to gore ourselves–but not on turkey and pumpkin pie! We’re talking about college football, and specifically this week’s rivalry week games. While other huge rivalries like Texas and Oklahoma or USC and UCLA are played out during other times of the season, this week gives us the opportunity to unabashedly wear our jerseys out to the store (or for more laxed environments, work) and have conversations with fans of the other team on how much their team, rich with history and tradition, isn’t good. Here’s a list of games we’re going to watch this weekend while our DVR works overtime recording the rest.

Auburn and Alabama (Alabama leads this series 40–33–1)
The annual Iron Bowl has a lot of intrigue surrounding it—and we’re not just talking about the players in the news. Auburn has already punched its ticket to the SEC Championship game against South Carolina. A loss to Alabama won’t prevent that, but it would put a huge damper in their quest for a national title. We’re sure that’s something Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban would love to be thankful for this holiday season.

Notre Dame at USC (Notre Dame leads series 42-33-5)
USC lack of bowl eligibility and Notre Dame’s uneven season has pulled some of the glitz and glamour out of the proceedings. But even that can’t pull us away. We’re interested to see how Notre Dame’s first-year coach Brian Kelley handles the pressure of trying to “Beat ‘SC.” While USC’s Lane Kiffin is also in his first year as coach, at least he’s been there before, as a coordinator under Pete Carroll.

Mississippi State and Mississippi (Ole Miss leads the series 60–40–6)
Known as the Battle of the Golden Egg–or Egg Bowl–a golden egg has been awarded to the winner since 1927. All we know is that lately the losers have had plenty of egg on their faces as in the past two years the winning squad has crossed the 40-point plateau, with the 2008 41-0 drubbing of MSU surely not out of their memories yet.

Michigan and Ohio State (Michigan leads the series 57-43-6)
One of football’s greatest rivalries, this contest transcends the actual game. This week, students from both schools will compete in banner contests, food drives and blood drives. That last one is fitting considering Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez is 0-2 against the Buckeyes, so if it goes to 0-3, everyone in Ann Arbor will be asking for blood, too.

Which games do you think we’ll be missing out on? Let us know in the comments!

Final Four Finale

This weekend heats up as college basketball comes to a close. Indianapolis will host the Men’s Final Four on April 3rd & 5th  while San Antonio will host the Women’s Final Four on April 4th & 6th.

Two years ago San Antonio hosted the Men’s Final Four tournament and I had the privilege to attend. Though I grew up near San Antonio, I almost didn’t recognize the Alamodome and Sunset Station. The city center transformed into a buzzing sea of energetic basketball fans. There was music, dancing, food, and smiles all around as the Texas spring sun warmed everyone up for the hot tournament. If you’re looking for a fun time with friends or family, the Final Four is definitely worth it. Tickets are still available for both tournaments!

Here’s a quick recap of my 2008 San Antonio Final Four experience.

Bowl Picks for the 2009 College Football Bowl Season

FedEx BCS National Championship
Projection: Texas vs. OU
Texas has a case, and if Missouri does not pull off a shocker, Texas should still have enough BCS points to stay ahead of Florida.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
Projection:  Florida vs. Utah
The Fiesta Bowl will pick Florida because they will be the next highest ranked BCS teams.  The big question will be the opponent, as the Fiesta will get the first pick of at-large teams and will cut a deal with the Sugar Bowl and end up taking Utah because it is closer.  And they will travel to Arizona after there amazing season.

Allstate Sugar Bowl
Projection:  Alabama vs. Ohio State
The SEC championship game loser will travel to the Sugar Bowl, and the Fiesta Bowl will enable them to scoop up Ohio State again. Ohio isn’t afraid to have a big game in New Orleans.

Fedex Orange Bowl
Projection: Boston College vs. Cincinnati
The ACC champion automatically goes here. Boston College should beat up on Virginia Tech and Cincinnati will be the last available BCS team standing.

Rose Bowl presented by Citi
Projection:  USC vs. Penn State
This is already set in stone unless USC loses to UCLA and it should be a great matchup.

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
Projection: TCU vs. Boise State

EagleBank Bowl
Projection:  Maryland vs. Navy

New Mexico Bowl
Projection: Colorado State vs. Fresno State
I’d rather be skiing!

Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl
Projection: BYU vs. California

St. Petersburg Bowl
Projection: South Florida vs. Southern Miss

R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Projection: Troy vs. Memphis

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl
Projection:  Western Michigan vs. Hawaii
Great for Western Michigan, this game will be a volcanic eruption.

Motor City Bowl
Projection:  NC State vs. Ball State
Free car for every player on the winning team!

Champs Sports Bowl
Projection: Georgia Tech vs. Minnesota
Minnesota is always excited to visit Mickey Mouse.

Emerald Bowl
Projection: Miami vs. Arizona
Hope some people go to this game because Miami is staying at the beach.  The Canes are back though and will lay the ground work for next year.

Meineke Car Care Bowl
Projection: North Carolina vs. Pitt
Home game for North Carolina.

PapaJohn’ Bowl
Projection: Rutgers vs. Florida Atlantic
Extra cheese please! Oh, and hold the pepperoni.

PetroSun Independence Bowl
Projection: Louisiana Tech vs. UL Lafayette

Alamo Bowl
Projection: Iowa vs. Nebraska
Everyone deserves a chance to visit San Antonio in the winter and enjoy a little sunshine.

Texas Bowl
Projection:  Notre Dame vs. Rice
Rice will be excited to see the Fighting Irish eat a little BBQ.

Pacific Life Holiday Bowl
Projection: Oklahoma State vs. Oregon
Oklahoma State has had a great season, and Boone Pickens can bask in the ocean breeze.

Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl
Projection: Wake Forest vs. Nevada

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl
Projection: Air Force vs. Houston
Air vs. Oil Bowl

Sun Bowl
Projection: West Virginia vs. Oregon State
They would rather have Notre Dame; but if not, tequila all the way!

Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl
Projection: Clemson vs. Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt has had a good year and this home game will be the icing on the cake

Chick-fil-A Bowl
Projection: Virginia Tech vs. South Carolina
This game will be a tough cock fight.

Insight Bowl
Projection: Wisconsin vs. Kansas
Kansas, coming off a lucky upset of Missouri, will enjoy a little sunshine after that game.

Outback Bowl
Projection: Northwestern vs. LSU

Konica Minolta Gator Bowl
Projection: Florida State vs. Missouri
This depends on how Missouri plays against OU.  This game will show the world how great the Big 12 conference really is.

Capital One Bowl
Projection: Michigan State vs. Georgia
Georgia slides into this game, but there is still a chance Ole Miss may be here instead and Georgia will end up playing in the Cotton.

AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Projection: Tulsa vs. Kentucky

AT&T Cotton Bowl
Projection:  Texas Tech vs. Ole Miss
The Cotton Bowl would love to have Georgia, but Ole Miss travels pretty well and it would be great to have Jevon Snead return to Texas to go head-to-head against Graham Harrell.

International Bowl
Projection: Connecticut vs. Buffalo

Projection: East Carolina vs. Central

Anticipating the Kickoff

For some reason, I woke up this morning and was excited.  At what, I am not sure. Maybe I actually slept last night. Very often I stay up late and get up early, tossing and turning in between grabbing at the blanket that has started slipping to the floor.  Or maybe I just woke anticipating the weekend – it is Friday you know, and I tend to romp a bit when I have the time.

More than likely I feel this great because I am rested, ready for the weekend and dreaming about another football game.  I still can’t imagine a better way to spend my Saturday.  Oh yeah, tomorrow’s Saturday.  If you see some fool driving circles around Darrell K. Royal stadium tomorrow in a white 2002 Mustang, you can be assured it is me, lonely for some football.  If you are cute and wave, I might pick you up.

In my entire 23 years of existence, I have only attended four college football games (slapping my wrist as I write).  Now, don’t get me wrong, college football is the bread that nourishes my entire family.  Just to take a stab at it, I would guess that I have spent at least a 1,000 hours sitting in front of the tube, praying my receiver would catch that Hail Mary.  I would imagine I have consumed over 20 lbs. of Thanksgiving Day turkey, screaming at the television between mouthfuls.  However, the fact remains that I do have some regrets – namely, that I was so poor in college that it was better to scalp my ticket and catch the game at a friend’s house.  God knows I’m not the only one who has been in those shoes.

When I was junior at the University of Texas, I got my chance to see my first live college football game.  As a photographer for UT’s yearbook, The Cactus, my first ever experience was directly on the field, in the absolute core of the breathtaking action.  I was able to experience the expansive cheers of the crowd, the deafening roar of the touchdown cannon, the sea of burnt orange color that were the fans, and the crack of helmets and shoulder pads as big sweaty bodies mauled each other right in front of me.  (I was nearly killed by a sideline play that game, and it was awesome.)  Texas walloped OSU 36-10, and I was officially addicted to the experience.

I photographed a few other games as well.  You can see some of my pictures from last year’s Cotton Bowl here.

I guess the whole point of this post is simply this:  if you have never seen a college football game at the stadium, you are not taking the right vitamins.  Get out of the house, go hang out with those guys in the parking lot under the colored tent, and have some real fun.  I don’t care how young or old you are, don’t give up the opportunity to be a fan – NCAA football is priceless.  We have the best tickets to every major NCAA game, so go.  You may not get to stand on the field, but we’ll get you pretty darn close.  Please, whatever you do, don’t end up like this guy:

Kid needs a ticket -Texas vs. OSU pregame
Kid needs a ticket -Texas vs. Ohio State pregame