The Somanystadiums 2022 tour wasn’t cheap, but it was memorable. As usual, I made some mid-season course corrections and a late double header weekend in Kansas was dropped. However, anytime you can knock out ten games and pick up a bonus game in LSU, you’ve had a good year.
It was a heavy travel year that started with back to back weekends in Colorado. We started by seeing the Buffs get trampled by the Horned Frogs. Arguably this may have been the worst match up of the year, given that TCU finished number two in the country and Colorado was the consensus winner(?) of the Bottom Ten rankings. The only thing worse than the game were the kids from the Colorado student section that leaked up into the seats next to us. I love college students but at a distance. Thankfully our bounce back at Wyoming the next day was fantastic. We had great weather and saw the Cowboys grab a big OT win. Our faith in college football was fully restored. After a week of hiking and sight-seeing, we returned to see Air Force also lay the wood on the hapless Buffaloes. If not for the company, the cold and wet day would have been a bust. As it was, I apparently had picked up Covid somewhere during the week and my symptoms were just starting to show. We really did like Colorado Springs, but it wasn’t a great finish to the weekend.
Surprisingly, after a couple of days of rest, I had only some light, lingering congestion. I thought I might have to cancel my trip to Washington, but my earlier vaccinations helped my body recovery quickly and I was essentially symptom free in a few days. After discussing with my travel buddy who was also getting over a cold, we decided both of us were sufficiently recovered to make the trip. We spent a long weekend tramping around the Palouse, squeezing in the first half of the Drake – Idaho game before hitting the main event at Washington State. There we watched the game from the posh confines of the Coaches Club enjoying great food and drink. The only thing that marred the day was that we were treated to another beating of a hapless Colorado football team. The Colorado State Rams weren’t much better than the Buffs, and WSU rolled in a game that was essentially over by the end of the first quarter.
I was rolling into my fourth straight weekend and sixth game when I found out the couple that was to join us for a reunion weekend at Texas Tech was going to have to cancel. This led to a mad scramble to find someone, anyone who would be willing to go with me. My good mate, Andy, stepped up big and made the long trip to Lubbock to see Texas Tech host UT. Thankfully, we were rewarded with one of the best games of the year. An overtime upset of a bitter rival is a sight to see and we had a first when we joined the student body in rushing the field. It made 16 hours in the car (almost) worth it.
There was no rest for the wicked as less than a week later I was off to Utah for another double header weekend. BYU is what you’d expect: good, clean fun and a pastry the length of your arm. The University of Utah, on the other, has tailgating that can compete with any of the classics venues. While the games were not great, the overall experience was very thumbs up.
After five weeks on a road, it was nice to get a weekend off. This gave me some time to recharge prior to the annual weekend with the 9 O’clock Club. While Maryland versus Indiana may not have been a marquee matchup from a rankings perspective, the game was not without merit and the tailgating was superb. It was a pleasant surprise and made for a weekend full of memories. The next weekend I was off, or I was until I got a call early Friday evening to see if I wanted to head over to see Ole Miss play LSU. My first game at LSU was a bit of a disappointment, mainly because it was hotter than a Mumbai laundromat. I had always wanted to go back and with the visiting Rebels being undefeated, I could not turn down the opportunity. This time we had local connections we could rely on which made the experience top tier. However, the trip also wore me out and convinced me I didn’t have enough steam left for the Kansas trip. It was shame because the scheduling aligned where I could have hit both the Jayhawks and Wildcats. I have been hoping to avoid two weekends in Kansas but that might not be possible.
My final game was at Sam Houston State and while technically in the FCS this year, they are jumping to the FBS next year. Additionally I was moving back to Virginia after the season was over and this game was to be a quasi-retirement party. It meant a big tailgate with about forty guests. Fortunately the current state of Bearkat tailgating provided an excellent opportunity to host a proper tailgate with two tents, lots of grub and refreshments. It was a fine end to the season and an excellent way to close-out the state of Texas. It was a great year albeit an expensive one with all the travel as the stats below bear out.
Games and Teams
Total Games Attended: 11, up 2 from 2021
Best Team Seen: TCU – The Horned Frogs had a helluva run.
Final AP Top Twenty-Five Teams Seen: 5 (#2 TCU, #10 Utah, #16 LSU, #17 Oregon State, #25 Texas)
Worst Team: 1 -11 Colorado, (#1 in the Bottom 10). Honorable mention to Colorado State.
Best Game Seen: Texas Tech 37 – Texas 34, 9/24/22. -Texas Tech’s first home win over Texas in 12 years
Worst Game Seen: Washington State 38 – Colorado State 7: Over after first quarter.
Bowl Game Teams Seen: 15
College Award winners seen: Four, Davey O’Brien QB award Max Duggan TCU (although he was actually on the bench in the Colorado game), Doak Walker – RB Bijan Robinson, UT, Jim Thorpe DB Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson TCU, Coach of Year, Sonny Dykes TCU.
All Americans: 10, with 3 on the first team.
The Stadiums (of 2022 visits)
Best Stadium: LaVell Edwards Stadium – BYU, Provo, Utah. One of the most dramatic views in college football.
Worst Stadium: Bowers Stadium – Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX. Not a fair fight really, given they are still in the FCS.
Best Game Day Experience: Indiana Memorial Stadium – University of Indiana, Bloomington, IA. Tailgating in the Grass Lots is superb, affordable and with a little planning, available to anyone.
Easiest Stadium to Get To: Falcon Stadium – U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO. Easy drive from Denver, and entrance and exit into the Academy is run with military precision.
Hardest Stadium to Get To: Jones AT&T Stadium – Texas Tech, Lubbock, TX. Lubbock is a long way from anywhere, whether by plane or car.
Best Concessions: LaVell Edwards Stadium – BYU, Provo, Utah. The Cougar Tail is legendary and the legend is all true.
Worst Concessions: Folsom Field – University of Colorado, Boulder, CO. Grab and Go style concessions have a long way to go. Not efficient, not enough and no souvenir cup.
Best Souvenir: War Memorial Stadium, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY. Free bobble heads, even if they are of the team announcers, always win the day.
Worst Souvenir: Colorado, my fault I bought a hat and a t-shirt. They aren’t worthy of both.
Best Cup: A slew of good cups this year. Sam Houston State gets the nod for a classic design, but Wyoming was not far behind.
Worst Cup: BYU’s was a bit weak, but at least they had a cup. Shame on you Colorado.
Total Season Spend: $7,300 ($6,600 ex mileage) made this the most expense year ever. Flying all over the place was not cheap; Ave per Game: ~$739 (ex mileage ~$660) up over $200
Most Expensive Ticket: Oregon State vs Utah – $185 actual (Stubhub) with a $75 face
Cheapest Ticket: Tie, Idaho and Washington State – Free thanks to Doug’s extensive network
Average Ticket Price Paid: $46 (up $15 over 2021)
Average Savings on Tickets over Face Value: $12 saved per ticket
Miles Driven: ~2,056 vs 1,500 in 2021
Miles Flown: ~5,551 (Denver, Salt Lake City, Spokane, Chicago)
Two Game Weeks: Three – Colorado / Wyoming, Idaho / WSU, BYU / Utah
Best Fans: Indiana. Plenty of sharing going around in the Indiana Grass Lots.
Worst Fans: Colorado. I don’t want to sound like the grumpy old man, but the kids at Colorado were killing me. A stark contrast to great ones we met at IU.
Most Pleasant Surprise: Wyoming. We heard lots of criticism before we got to Laramie, but we had a great time there.
Most Unpleasant Surprise: University of Colorado football team – watching them play twice was brutal.
Lesson Learned / Re-affirmed: Never, ever arrive into O’Hare after 10am on a Friday. Any later and your Friday night is going to be ruined.
My Regular Season Pick Record: 26 – 20 Not too shabby but a decline versus the prior year.
At 104 stadiums. The planning won’t be easy, but the memories will be worth it. Got to savor it now.