You gotta catch ’em all. – REVISITED and REVISED
After all the churn in 2015, I find that I seem to be more prepared for the 2016 season than I have been in a long time. I would say the only challenge to my planning has been the Olympics, which I find keeps pulling me to sit in front of the television. My schedule this year is heavy on the travel and light on the marquee games. I am taking advantage of my son living in Greenville, S.C. to pick up some of the smaller schools in that area. Games at UNC Charlotte, Appalachian State and Georgia State may not impress anyone, but you gotta hit them all. I am opening up the season with big game, heading to Austin to see the Fighting Irish take on the Longhorns. Here’s to hoping Charlie Strong has Texas ready to go. Other major conference stadiums include Iowa and TCU. Based on preseason rankings, the small schools I am seeing aren’t supposed to be very good. At the end of the day though, it is really all about the match ups. A battle between two mediocre teams can be much more enjoyable than seeing one major blowout another. With a new role at work, my global travel commitments should be greatly reduced. That has created some windows in the season where I may be able to sneak in another game or two on the schedule. But for now, this is where I will be in 2016
Game 1: Sunday, September 4th – Notre Dame at Texas. Originally I was planning on catching Alabama State at UT San Antonio when saw the this game was Sunday night. I plan on going all in with tailgating that day. With my office campus being in Houston, I can’t throw a stick without hitting a UT alum. Accordingly, I look forward to hanging with many T-sips on Sunday. I am a little worried about the Longhorns not being able to hang with the Domers. Hopefully, home field will be the equalizer the Horns need.
Game 2: Saturday, September 10th – Iowa State at Iowa. I had a blast at this rivalry game last year at Iowa State. When my buddy Doug said we should do it at Iowa this year, I was immediately in. On paper this game is certainly a mismatch but rivalry games are always hard to call. They also tend to be a lot of fun. Not sure what I will wear, but I bet I can scrape up some black and yellow gear somewhere in my house.
Game 3: Saturday, October 1st – Old Dominion at UNC Charlotte. The plan is to take two weeks off before this game. However, if someone I know wants to hit the Ohio State vs Oklahoma game in Norman, it won’t take much to convince to come along. With all the Sooner fans in Houston, there might be an opportunity to do just that.
Otherwise, I will take a couple of weeks to recharge and regroup before heading out to Charlotte. The 49ers play in an intimate setting, Jerry Richardson Stadium which seats about 15,000. It will be just like my days playing at the ‘Hurst where are stadium seated 10,000. UNC Charlotte will be hosting Old Dominion, another team with a diminutive stadium. No worries, though. I will be attending that game with my son, so I am sure I will have a good time.
Side bar on ODU, they announced this year that they are scrapping their plans for a new stadium on the water in Norfolk. Instead, they will build on the site of their existing stadium. This is certainly a fiscally responsible decision, but a missed opportunity. They could have had a jewel of a site.
Game 4: Saturday, October 15th, – Texas State at Louisiana Monroe. Honestly, this game may be the least appealing on the schedule. It is a five hour drive away and neither of these teams are exactly first tier. I need to start recruiting people now to come to this game with me. Not exactly sure what the draw would be? Perhaps canoeing on Black Bayou Lake? I am not a big Duck Dynasty fan, so that’s out. Maybe Shreveport?
REVISED GAME 4: Friday, October 14th, Memphis at Tulane. After realizing that the trip to Louisiana Monroe was going to be at least 15 hours of driving, I realized the juice was not worth the squeeze on that one. As luck would have, I have been making regular flights to New Orleans for work and Tulane is playing on the Friday night the same weekend. So it is goodbye Warhawks and hello Green Wave.
Game 5: Saturday, October 22nd, – Louisiana Lafayette at Texas State. Second straight week with the Bobcats of Texas State. I sure hope the Bobcats are a decent team, because a couple of weeks later I will see them play at Appalachian State. Perhaps I should become a Bobcat fan for the season. Or, maybe I can get a group together to go tubing in the morning? It is, after all, a 6 pm start for the Texas State homecoming so maybe some time on the San Marcos river is doable.
Game 6: Saturday, October 29th – UNLV at San Jose State. Hopping on a big bird for a weekend in San Francisco to see the Spartans take on the Rebels. A 7:30 pm game should be perfect football weather. A couple of my brothers live in the bay area and I know at least one will be joining me.
Game 7: Thursday, November 3rd – Arkansas State at Georgia State. Heading to Hotlanta to see the Red Wolves take on the Panthers at the Georgia Dome. Last time I was there was about 20 years ago to see the Steelers play the Falcons. I would guess that the Panthers will draw a slightly smaller crowd. It is my only double weekend of the year. My wife and I will hit the game on Thursday night and then do a little sight seeing in Atlanta on Friday. My guess is that another trip to the College Football Hall of Fame will not be in the cards.
Game 8: Saturday, November 5th – Texas State at Appalachian State. Second leg of the double weekend takes me to Boone, NC to see the Mountaineers host the Bobcats. It will be the third game with the Bobcats this year and it ought to make me an expert on that team. Looking forward to Appalachian State as I hear the campus is beautiful. Should be a great autumn day to watch football.
Game 9: Saturday, November 26th – Navy at SMU. Weather for Thanksgiving weekend games is always dicey, even in the south. Last year I bailed on Baylor vs TCU because of freezing rain. Same thing could happen again this year. No sense in being miserable for a game that will likely only have pride implications
Game 10: Saturday, December 3rd – Kansas State at TCU. I was really surprised there was actually a game this late in the season and then I remembered that there isn’t a Big 12 Championship game. Well at least for 2016 anyway since there will be one starting in 2017. I am friends with a number of K-Staters and at least a couple of them said they’d go to the game with me. I will be wearing purple that day, but it will likely be of the TCU shade.
As always, the games are more fun when I with friends, so as usual, I will be working my network. About half the games this year will require air travel which means little to no tailgating at some of those sites. However, whenever and wherever I can, I will be hanging the somanystadiums.com banner. If you see me, please be sure to stop buy.