The Longhorn Traveler’s Guide to the Big 12 – 2014
Texas fans know just how fun it is to watch a Longhorns football game in Austin, but sometimes it’s good to step outside the friendly confines of DKR to see the Horns play. While you’ll never get the chance to see a UT game in Norman, there are some fun trips to take to see the Longhorns play. There aren’t any non-conference away games in 2014, but between two neutral-site games in the Dallas area and four away games in the Big 12, there is still plenty to choose from for the Texas football fan.
There are two Longhorns games in the Metroplex this year, beginning with one at AT&T Stadium against the UCLA Bruins on September 13. It’s the first time the Longhorns will play in the massive new Cowboys home stadium, and UCLA will be a contender in the Pac-12 this season. Getting to Dallas is easy enough, it’s just deciding where to stay that can be tricky. If you just want to be near the venue, Arlington has a ton of hotels in the area to accommodate the usual Cowboys/Rangers crowds. Some even have shuttles to the stadium to save you from the big parking lot prices. Tickets for this one, and if you’re willing spend $50-60 more, you can get a great deal on a 200-level seat with great views of the game.
The second game is in Dallas proper, and it’s one of the best college football experiences in the entire country. Texas/OU weekend is a must for every Longhorns fan, and this year it’s on October 11. The Red River Showdown is one of the best rivalry gamesin all of sports, period. Get a hotel in areas like Midtown, Downtown or Market Center, and you’ll be close to the action. The Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) operates to and from the Cotton Bowl on game day, and you can park your car at the station while you’re at the game. I’d suggest getting to the station early (9 AM) so you can get some food at the Texas State Fair, which you get into free of charge with a game ticket, before kick off. Make sure you get your tickets on the Texas side, as you don’t want to be surrounded by a sea of crimson.
The game against the Jayhawks is early this season, kicking off on September 27. If you’re flying, you’ll be heading into Kansas City (MCI) and renting a car for the 45-minute drive to Lawrence. If Topeka is a cheaper option, it’s even closer. There are a few hotels near campus, including the Oread Hotel, Holiday Inn, Hampton Inn, and the Springhill Suites. Check out Mass St. when you’re in town for the college-town experience, and Milton’s is a must for breakfast before the game.
Getting into Manhattan for a Kansas State game is the same as Lawrence. You’d be flying into Kansas City and driving to Manhattan, which is two hours away. A flight into Topeka would cut that in half. There are not a lot of hotel options in Manhattan, so book early. The Holiday Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, and Comfort Suites will give you a good deal and they’re not far from Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Check out the Chef for breakfast before the game, and for a drink head to the So Long Saloon or Rock-a-Belly. Tickets aren’t too pricey for this one,
Texas is a big state, and the drive to Lubbock will remind you of just how much open space is still out there. It’s a six-hour trek northwest into the plains, but as we’ve seen the Longhorns always play well against the Red Raiders so it’ll be worth it. There is a Days Inn right across University from the stadium, but I’d suggest the MCM Elegante Suites. It’s comparable in price, much nicer, and gives you a big room and a free happy hour. Chimy’s is a good place for a drink if you like margaritas, and Italian Garden is the best place in the city for Italian fare.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys have become just as dangerous as the Longhorns and Sooners in the Big 12, and Boone Pickens Stadium is a great place to take in a game. Stillwater has a combination of college and old-town feel, and you’ll love it if you’re a red dirt country fan. It’s about a 6.5 hour drive, or you can fly into Oklahoma City and drive the 75 miles north to Stillwater. For hotels, checkout the Fairfield and Microtel off Hall of Fame Avenue.