2022 Year in Review

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

The Players

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.

The Costs

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

Miscellaneous

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.

Conclusion:

At 104 stadiums. The planning won’t be easy, but the memories will be worth it. Got to savor it now.

 

 

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Week Twelve

 

Last weekend, we had a crew at Sam Houston State to help me celebrate my pending retirement. It was a great day, if a little cold. Well, for the native Texans it was very cold. For the transplants from North in our group, it was standard fall football weather. I will finish my review on the Bearkat experience in a week or two since I am about four reviews behind right now. Suffice it to say, we all had a very good time.

My picks did not go nearly as well as the weekend. South Carolina got absolutely hammered by Florida. The Sam Houston State Bearkats were down 14 points less than two minutes in. It did not end well. Iowa State managed to not close out another game so I picked up a win as the Pokes won that game. I needed the Horned Frogs to cover against the Longhorns. It was looking good until Texas had a late pick six to cut the TCU lead to seven. And there it was, a push for my last game of the night and I finished 1 – 2. I don’t feel too bad. It was a crazy weekend with upsets all over the place. Some other random thoughts on the weekend:

  • I was right about Ohio State as they covered the 40 points and UConn was so hot they did beat Liberty. I was also right about Alabama taking it to Ole Miss. I was only wrong about Tulane beating UCF, but it was close.
  • It looks like the PAC-12’s playoff hopes are dashed with UW upsetting Oregon. No conference wants a 12 team playoff more than the PAC-12.
  • With Illinois losing to Purdue, the Big Ten West conference is in disarray. I bet the conference leadership wished they had ditched the whole division concept and simply had the two best teams play for the championship. Sure, it may be Michigan and Ohio State every year but it beats seeing another blowout.
  • Remember when Northwestern upset Nebraska in the Dublin season opener. Apparently it was the luck of the Irish because the Wildcats haven’t won since.

Surprisingly, I feel good about this week’s picks. UConn has been hot as of late. Getting 10 points against Army is the gift that will keep on giving. Virginia Tech has struggled all year. As an adopted Hokie fan, this is an emotional hedge taking Liberty with the full understanding that the Flames are the better team. I can’t believe Wyoming is getting 14 points at home against Boise State. That margin is a crazy given this is rivalry game. I don’t love Colorado State, but again the 22 points seem too much ignore. And again, it is kind of a rivalry game.

Other random observations for this week:

  • The PAC 12 is where it is at this week. A couple of tasty games: USC vs UCLA and Utah vs Oregon.
  • TCU continues to get no respect. Only a 2.5 point favorite against a 6-4 Baylor?
  • It would be a shame if either Ohio State or Michigan lose this weekend before their big game. Can you say trap game Maryland and Illinois?
  • Some cupcakes this weekend for sure – Austin Peay (at Bama), East Tennessee State (Miss State) and UMass (Texas A&M). Well, the way the Aggies are playing maybe that’s not such a cupcake this year.

Lastly, our review of Texas Tech is in. Check it out here.

That is all I got, enjoy the games.

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Week Eleven – Is Sam Houston State FBS ready?

Back on the road for our final game of the season. We are making the short trip to Huntsville, Texas to catch the Bearkats before they make the jump to FBS. I say “we” because it will be me and about 50 of my friends as we celebrate my pending retirement. Since Sam Houston State is not exactly the draw that UT or Texas A&M is, I put together a few reasons (ten actually) on why the should come celebrate with me.

10) Northern I-45 is really beautiful this time of year.

9) If you say “Remember the Alamo” three times in front of the Sam Houston Statue, he will shed a tiny tear.

8) Mimosas, Mimosas, Mimosas.

7) Huntsville, Tx is almost as nice as its namesake, Huntsville, AL.

6) The Bearkats are the only team to have ever won a “Spring” FCS National Championship.

5) Attending a Somanystadiums.com tailgate is a must for every college football fan’s bucket list.

4) There’s plenty of time for a side trip to visit “Old Sparky” at the Huntsville Prison Museum.

3) Corn hole for Cash.

2) If we have 50 attendees, we get a visit from Sammy Bearkat, pregame field access, and group photo after. At a hundred, I think they will rename the stadium after us.

1) It is Texas football without the Cult of Texas A&M or the Underperformance of UT.

It was a good week for me as I went 4 – 0 on my picks for the first time in a long time. To be honest, it was about as stress free as it gets. The teams I picked were all pretty much ahead the whole day. Even Liberty jumped out to a big lead over Arkansas. And when the Razorback did made a run late in the game, it didn’t matter because the Flames were getting 14.5 points. The biggest disappointment was that the Tennessee vs Georgia game turned out to be a bit blow out. However, Bama at LSU more than made up for it. Instant classic is overused these days, but it was a great game.

  • I knew the Oregon State vs Washington game was going to be a good one. Unfortunately, my head was nodding by 8:30pm.
  • Some nice shake ups in polls coming with Clemson and Alabama losing the weekend.
  • Oregon and Bo Nix have certainly turned things around. They are both hotter than two dollar pistols.
  • Shame that Liberty lost their first game of the season. The Flames are on fire and will very likely run the table for the rest of the season. Lord knows the woeful Hokies are not going to slow them down.

I am not exactly confident of my picks this week. I was surprised that the Horned Frogs are seven point underdogs to University of Texas. This is much a pick of protest for the overall lack of support for the undefeated Frogs as anything else. I also like South Carolina against Florida. I think the eight points are enough against the streaky Gators. Speaking of streaky, I look for Oklahoma State to break their losing streak against Iowa State. The game we are going to does not have a point spread to bet against so I am treating it as a pick’em. I am all in on the Bearkats this weekend. Other thoughts for this week.

  • Ohio State is a 40 point favorite against Indiana and I don’t they will have a problem covering
  • I wanted to keep riding the Liberty train, but they are playing a hot (sort of) UConn. It was just enough to keep me away.
  • I also liked Ole Miss getting twelve against Alabama, but I am afraid Alabama is going to be hungry for this game
  • American has two teams in top twenty and they play each other. I think Tulane will beat UCF but it will be very close.

That’s all I have got, enjoy the games,

Tree

 

 

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Week 10

This week was originally planned to be a double header in Kansas, but only if the game times allowed for attending both. With the way the Jayhawks were playing it looked like a night game was in the cards, but then three straight losses by Kansas ended hopes of a night game on their end. Also, the game was shaping up as a solo trip, which I don’t love. And then, I hit Ole Miss at LSU a couple of weeks ago sealing the fate on a trip to Kansas. It is a bit disappointing that I now see that I could have hit both games on Saturday. The tailgating would have suffered for sure but it would have been nice to not have to make multiple trips to Kansas in the future. For now, this becomes another week at home.

I continued to struggle picking games this week, going 2-2. The weekend started well enough the TCU and UNC both managing to cover, although to be fair, the Horned Frogs final score was a bit of a hook job. The night games took a turn for the worst. UCLA manhandled Stanford, while Wyoming won but did not cover at Hawaii. It was another weekend of mediocre picks.

Other notes from last week:

  • PSU hung with Ohio State a lot longer than I thought was possible.
  • Loved the Black and Orange uniforms of Tennessee
  • Oregon is getting a lot of the good Bo Nix on Saturdays.
  • How about the UConn Huskies beating Boston College. That will cost them a spot in the Bottom Ten.

Another week where I don’t see a lot of easy picks. I haven’t seen Tulane play much this year, but they always seem to look good the morning after on College Football Final. Roll Green Wave. I guess conventional wisdom says the Missouri Tigers are rising up and the Kentucky Wildcats are sliding down. However, I think the Wildcats are straight up better than the Tigers. I know Liberty are big underdogs against Arkansas, but the Flames have not let me down yet. The Gamecocks are another team that recently took it on the chin, but I think they will have Vanderbilt’s number.

Other thoughts for this week:

  • Tennessee vs Georgia is must see television this weekend.
  • I was tempted to take Texas Tech and the points against TCU. The Horned Hogs have been walking a tightrope all season and they may be looking forward to UT. This looks a lot like a trap game.
  • Don’t look now, but UConn is going to be 500 after they beat UMass this weekend.
  • 7 – 1 Oregon against 1 – 7 Colorado. Yikes that is a game where the fans are the real losers.

 

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R&R 2.0

We had an absolute blast at Indiana last week. It was with the 9 O’clock club, who are a lock for two things. One, we will laugh all weekend. Two, the weekend ends at 9 O’clock Saturday night. Rest and recovery is definitely on the agenda for this week. And speaking of locks, I had thought the Clemson game was definitely a lock. After a shaky start, the Tigers got their act together and by the third quarter I knew Clemson was going to win. The BYU game was a pick ’em and I made the wrong pick. Arkansas had that game won by half time. The biggest surprise was that JMU got upset by Georgia Southern. It was close but no cigar for the Dukes as they leave the ranks of the unbeatens. Back in Indiana, it looked like not only were the Hoosiers were going to cover, but they were going win outright. A fumble on the potential winning drive put an end to the Hoosiers chances and only reaffirmed the Indiana fans conviction that the Hoosiers will always find a way to lose.

Some other random thoughts of the last week.

  • Hard to believe that a 2OT win by TCU over undefeated Oklahoma State would be the second best game of the weekend. The Volunteers wobbly winning field goal ended the best game of the weekend. Bama’s loss however did not end their FBS playoff chances.
  • Syracuse and Ole Miss keep their seasons undefeated as well. Ole Miss has a tough test this weekend when a hot LSU rolls into town.
  • The Sunbelt continues to be the Fun Belt. In that conference, anyone can beat anyone on any given day – like ODU upsetting an undefeated Coastal Carolina
  • While I escaped the curse of the 9 O’clock club, I did not manage to watch the finish of the USC vs Utah game. I made it to the start of the fourth quarter. Despite knowing it was going to come down the wire, the lure of the Airbnb king bed was too strong to keep me up and I missed the Utes big win.

 

My 2 – 2 record from last weekend did nothing to restore my confidence in my picks. Houston let me down earlier this season, but it feels like they are more than three points better than Navy. I have to admit my gut is telling me to not walk, but run away from any game that FIU is playing in. However, the lure of getting 14.5 points against the home the nameless QB, was too much to ignore. Yes – Charlotte has a generic statue of a QB in front of their stadium – actually, they have bunch of generic sports figures around their stadium. It is straight out of a bad made for tv movie, where they didn’t want to pay any licensing fees so the teams are named “State” and “Tech”.

My favorite pick of the week is Liberty getting seven points against BYU. The Cougars have disappointed me a couple of times this year, while the Flames have been rock solid. I haven’t seen Cincy or SMU play this year, but I seem to recall SMU not playing well. That, and Peruna, their pony mascot, taking a dump on the field a couple of weeks ago. It is not the most sound reason for taking the Bearcats but sound reasoning has not worked so far this season. I figure what the hell, let’s go with Cincy.

Here are some other thoughts on this week.

  • Michigan confirmed what a lot of us thought about PSU. The Lions were a bit of a fraud. Will Clemson do the same to the Orange of Syracuse? The 13.5 spread was one point too short for me to take the ‘Cuse, but I will be rooting for them.
  • Another game I wouldn’t touch: WVU vs Texas Tech both of whom are 3-3. Absent TCU, there’s no consistency in the Big 12, which also probably means K-State will upset the Horned Frogs.
  • And speaking of frauds, undefeated Ole Miss visit to LSU will be a great test for the Rebs, err Land Sharks, err Black Bears. I am still not really sure what the mascot of Ole Miss is these days.
  • If the FIU vs. Charlotte isn’t the worst game this week then Hawaii at Colorado State surely is. Tickets low as $17. Pity the folks at that one.

That’s all I got. Enjoy the games.

Tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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