friday, september 09, 2011
Arizona State vs MissouriMy 2011 football watching season got officially underway as my dad and I headed over to Tempe to see the Sun Devils take on the Tigers. Weirdly enough, the last time I was at Sun Devil Stadium it was to see Missouri. This time it didn't end any better for the boys from Mizzou.
The weather all week has been consistently past the century mark and that was the expectation for this one, even though kickoff was well after sunset. A band of thunderstorms moved through during the day and the temperatures were... well, still pretty warm but very nice for an early-season game.
The ASU folks decided to run a gameday special on lower level tickets, probably due to the fact it was a nationally-telecast game. Dad said the nosebleed ones were fine so we hiked up to our aerie just below the luxury boxes for this one. We got there about half an hour before kickoff and there were lots of open spots around the stadium.
wednesday, february 16, 2011
Why Toomer's Corner is ImportantThe Iron Bowl is the one time each and every season an Alabama fan cannot hold anything in reserve. It is the game you are completely invested in no matter whether you think the Crimson Tide are a lock to win or have hardly a chance at all.
As a result, the outcome of the game is marked by the most extreme of emotions by the faithful. Some years Alabama wins and I enjoy the most delightful rush of ecstasy and joy that lingers with me for weeks on end. Some years Alabama loses and I'm crushed emotionally and physically, left in a dour mood that takes at least a fortnight to shake.
No matter what, when the game ends it's over. Until next year...
Harvey Updyke couldn't wait till next year. When Alabama fell to Auburn last November he felt the formidable sting of the loss and instead of accepting it and rising to the challenge it presented -- which is what we ask of the players -- he chose to strike back in the most destructive manner he could think of. read more
friday, january 14, 2011
Kleph Looks Back on the 2010 SeasonWith the fall of confetti to the field at the University of Phoenix stadium in Glendale on Monday, the 2010 college football season has come to a bittersweet close.
It has been one hell of a memorable season for me. In the course of the last three-and-a-half months I've been able to see no less than 15 football games (including 12 college contests) involving 24 different teams. I've traveled to five separate states and seen games in nine different stadiums.
That's more football in general and Alabama football in particular than I've ever been able to see live and in person over the course of a single season in my entire life. And it was a blast from start to finish. During the course of it all I endured my team suffering two painful losses. Weirdly, this only made the experience that much more meaningful. read more
wednesday, january 12, 2011
The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Gameday
Few bowl games this year inspired less enthusiasm than the matchup of No. 4 Oklahoma against No. 25 UConn in the Fiesta Bowl. As the champions of the Big XII and Big East conferences respectively, both earned their way to the game but the mismatch was apparent to any reasonable person who had been watching this season.
As great a time I had earlier this season visiting Connecticut's Rentschler Field for their matchup with Buffalo, I certainly didn't see anything in the team's performance to lead me to believe they were any kind of giant killer. Still, there's a reason they play the games and so, after watching my beloved Crimson Tide annihilate Michigan State, off I went to Glendale. read more
tuesday, january 04, 2011
Kleph Doesn't Go to the BCS National ChampionshipBack in October, I purchased a suite of tickets to bowl games here in Arizona affiliated with the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. The whole thing was a deal to pick up a ticket to the BCS National Championship Game: if you wanted to see the title matchup you had to buy the rest. Which was fine by me since my goal this season was to see as much college football in person as I possibly could.
Now I certainly was hoping my Crimson Tide was going to be in the game but I knew it was a long shot. Never in my worst nightmares did I think our most hated rival Auburn would earn the honor. But that's exactly what came to pass and, in a weird way, I took a perverse pride in the fact I would be going to see the game. It was a twisted testament to my hate.
Then the resale prices for the ticket started to climb. And they climbed a lot. read more
wednesday, december 29, 2010
The Insight Bowl Gameday
When the bowl lineups were announced earlier this month, The Insight Bowl was probably the one I was most excited about.
While Iowa fans had to feel their team's had a disappointing 7-5 season but my impression of seeing them play in September was that this was a squad with a lot of talent and potential. Missouri flirted with the No. 1 ranking in the nation for a week after beating Oklahoma but their stellar 10-2 record, while legitimately achieved, smacked a tad of overachievement.
What I was expecting was a high octane offense match up against a solid bend-but-don't-break defense for a great 60 minutes of football. And guess what? That's exactly what I got.
saturday, december 25, 2010
The MAACO Las Vegas Bowl Gameday
Las Vegas is only about a five hour drive away from where I am and the journey didn't seem too insane to watch what promised to be one of the better matchups in the bowl season - The No. 20 team in the land, the Utah Utes (10-2) taking on the No. 10 Boise State State Broncos (11-1).
Sounds like a pre-New Year's Day bowl dream but then Mother Nature decided to step in.
For much of the week, the West Coast was pounded by rainstorms and on gameday one of these systems had moved over Southern Nevada and was just sitting there. Hovering over Las Vegas dropping a copious amount of rain on the region.
Getting on Highway 93 going north in Phoenix there wasn't any precipitation to contend with but the skies sure weren't welcoming either. Pretty much across the whole of Arizona things went smoothly enough but right about Kingman the rain started. read more
tuesday, december 14, 2010
AIA High School Championships Gameday
It's a long tough slog from the end of the college football regular season to the start of the bowl games. Not as tough as the brutal 8-month death march of the off-season of course, but a difficult stretch nonetheless. Luckily, I found something to get me through it - the Arizona High School football championships.
Arizona splits its highest division 5A into two independent divisions. The 5A-I game was featuring the Hamilton High School Huskies from Chandler versus Mesa's Desert Ridge Jaguars. The 5A-II contest pitted Scottsdale's Chaparral High School Firebirds against the Centennial High School Coyotes from Peoria, AZ. These are all from the Phoenix metro area so I figured there would be a decent number of folks out at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale to see these games. read more
monday, december 06, 2010
A Few Thoughts on Alabama's 2010 Regular SeasonIt’s not the will to win that matters. Everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters. – Paul W. Bryant
There are few times in my long love affair with Alabama football that have been as painful and disheartening as the end of this year’s Iron Bowl. To see a team this talented come that close to victory and squander it away simply stung in a way few loses over the years ever have. It’s not a game that will or should be forgotten anytime soon.
Which makes it a little odd that I find myself not only optimistic about this team in particular, but in a pretty good mood about the state of the Crimson Tide nation in general. And to understand why you need to start with Coach Saban’s book, “How Good Do You Want to Be?” read more
wednesday, december 01, 2010
Georga Tech vs Georgia Gameday
While I was initially disappointed that the powers-that-be had forced the Iron Bowl to be moved to the Friday following Thanksgiving it turned out to be a bit of a boon for my game-going expedition. There were a host of other rivalry games occurring the following day and one that I had a particular curiosity about was the one pitting the Georgia Bulldogs against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
So I got in contact with T. Kyle King, the proprietor of Dawg Sports website which covers all things concerning the University of Georgia athletics and asked if he could help me get to see the game and he was more than happy to help. read more
monday, november 29, 2010
Auburn vs Alabama Gameday
First and foremost, even three days since this game I'm still wincing from the thought of it. The 75th Iron Bowl was not the Crimson Tide's greatest moment on the gridiron. Pretty much all our hopes for the 2010 season went "POOF!" in the second half of the game at the hands of our greatest rivals. In some ways, the lost to Louisiana-Monroe in 2007 stung less.
But this blog is about the experience of attending these games. And as godawful as the outcome o the contest was, the atmosphere leading up to this game was one of the most electric I've had the pleasure of experiencing in Tuscaloosa.
The students were at the gates five hours before kickoff for seats. Given the weather -- temperatures in the low 40s and dropping with intermittent rain -- not to mention the likelihood of hangovers this was an impressive level of dedication. I offered a heartfelt "Roll Tide" in support but then hurried on to find a warmer location to wait for the game. read more
friday, november 19, 2010
Georgia State vs Alabama Gameday
Due to a series of scheduling quirks, Alabama was playing on Thursday night this week. It was the first Thursday contest for the Crimson Tide since 2001 when a matchup with Southern Mississippi was moved back due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The foe this week was Georgia State, whose football team was in its inaugural year under former Crimson Tide head coach Bill Curry.
My mom, who is from Atlanta, was incredulous this summer when I told her Alabama was playing the Panthers. Her brother, a Georgia grad who follows college football pretty casually if at all, simply didn't believe her when he was told last week. But, yes, it was true and Georgia State fans were on hand in T-town to prove it. read more