We all know the following statements are 100% true (‘No Lies Detected’):
- College Football is the greatest sport on Earth
- There’s nothing better than traveling to new stadiums to watch a game
These well-established FACTS are indisputable! Game day is the highlight of our week and for 3+ months we know Saturday’s are reserved for all day college football consumption. Now that the regular season has ended, we’ve finally arrived at FBS Bowl Season, aka ‘The Most Wonderful Time of the Year’. 44 Bowl games over the course of 25 calendar days. The ‘Hometown Buffet’ of college football viewing where you can fill your plate as many times as you can handle!
The thought of watching an endless loop of games on TV over the next month during cold December weather is the pinnacle of TV viewing. But what if you wanted to ditch the couch once or twice this Bowl season and catch some action in person? Great idea! The only thing that beats watching from home is being at the stadium.
But where should I go? With so many games dispersed all over the country, how do I maximize my trips? That’s what I’m here for! As a ‘Game Traveler’ who’s been to a game at all 130 FBS stadiums (@CFBcampustour on Twitter), planning trips is kinda my thing. I’ve put together a few trips to consider when determining where you should travel to during Bowl season:
- Sunshine State Double-Dip: If you want to get started right away, I would look at the back-to-back Florida Bowl games on 12/17 & 12/18. At 6pm ET on 12/17, MAC conference champions Northern Illinois square off against Coastal Carolina in the ‘Tailgreeter Cure Bowl’. CCU is playing in this game for the second straight year, having played Liberty in 2020 as well. I was there last year and (a) it was the best Bowl game of 2020; and (b) Chanticleer fans were fun to hang out with. Plus Northern Illinois will be looking for win #10, one year after going 0-6. Then at 11am ET on 12/18, you can catch the ‘RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl’ featuring Western Kentucky and Appalachian State. What a quarterback match-up you’ll see with WKU’s Bailey Zappe and App State’s Chase Brice. Zappe threw for a mind-boggling 5,545 yards & 56 TDs, while Brice led the Mountaineers to a 10 win season plus put up 3,020 yards & 23 TDs. Guaranteed you’re going to see the scoreboard lit up!
- Colored Turf Bowls: I can’t tell you how many people have told me that their ‘bucket list’ stadiums include venues with a non-green colored playing surface. It’s funny how watching a game on a field with different colored turf piques your interest. It’s really fascinating. So if you want to check off the two most well-known stadiums in one trip, consider going to the ‘Myrtle Beach Bowl’ on 12/20 and the ‘Famous Idaho Potato Bowl’ on 12/21. Brooks Stadium in Conway, South Carolina is home to the ‘Surf Turf’ with a teal playing surface (think ocean colors). That game is at 2:30pm ET and the following day in Boise, ID you can see a game on the ‘Smurf Turf’ at 3:30pm ET. Albertson’s Stadium is the O.G. version of colored turf stadiums with its blue playing surface. A cross-country double-header is not easy to pull off, however it’s doable. You’ll have to drive to Atlanta after the ‘Myrtle Beach Bowl’ for a 6:15am ET flight into Boise. It will arrive at 11:20am MT and the stadium is less than 10 miles from the airport. It would take a lot of effort. Myrtle Beach to Atlanta is about a 5.5 hour drive. I’ve done it and it’s not exactly fun. But if colored turf is your thing…it’s worth it.
- Texas 3-Step: From a Game Traveler’s perspective, Texas is the Mecca of college football travel. With 10 FBS schools (soon to be 11 with Sam Houston State moving up from FCS), you can almost always figure out a way to see 2 games on 1 Saturday. But how about 3 games in 3 days? That’s rare, but possible from 12/21 to 12/23. The ‘Tropical Smoothie Café Frisco Bowl’ (Frisco, TX) takes place on 12/21 and features two G5 beasts. UTSA had an amazing season, going 12-1 and winning Conference USA. San Diego State won 11 games and hosted the Mountain West Championship. Outside of the NY6 games, the 23 combined wins by the two participants is the most in any Bowl game. 12/22 in Fort Worth, a short 47 mile drive from Frisco, is the ‘Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl’. Army is taking on an SEC opponent in Missouri. Always a great experience to watch a service academy play. Plus an intriguing match-up with Mizzou, who almost never sees the triple-option. Then the following day (12/23), drive back to Frisco for the ‘Frisco Football Classic’ between Miami (OH) and North Texas. You could get a true home-road crowd dynamic in this one with Denton (home of UNT) only 24 miles from Frisco. Could make it tough on the RedHawks if North Texas fans fill Toyota Stadium. A great 3 day/3 game trip…with less the 100 miles in road travel!
- Major League Baseball Stadium Double-Header: How ambitious are you? Are you a “go big or go home” person? If you’re like me, you love a challenge. Plus trips to unique venues makes it even more enticing. A dream trip you can actually pull off is the ‘Holiday Bowl’ at Petco Park in San Diego on 12/28 and the ‘Pinstripe Bowl’ at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx on 12/29. Easy? Cheap? No. Possible? Yes. The ‘Holiday Bowl’ is at 5pm PT, so let’s say it ends worst case scenario at 9pm PT. San Diego airport is only 4 miles from the stadium and there are two red-eye flights available (10:29pm PT on United & 10:32pm PT on American) that arrive in New York no later than 11:15am ET. LGA (La Guardia Airport) is only 5 miles from Yankee Stadium and the ‘Pinstripe Bowl’ doesn’t start until 2:15pm ET. Can you imagine seeing two Bowl games in awesome MLB stadiums on separate coasts in a 24 hour period? You don’t have to imagine it because I did for you. This is your chance to pull it off! You’ll have a story for life that all of your friends will be completely jealous of…do it!
- NFL Stadium NY6 Adventure: There are plenty of available options to see a game in a NFL stadium over during Bowl season. In fact, 17 of the 44 Bowl games being played are in NFL venues. Look specifically at the time period of 12/30/21 to 1/1/22 for the most bang for your buck. December 30th has 4 Bowl games in NFL stadiums: Bank of America Stadium (Carolina Panthers), Nissan Stadium (Tennessee Titans), Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta Falcons) and Allegiant Stadium (Las Vegas Raiders). December 31st has 3: TIAA Bank Field (Jacksonville Jaguars), AT&T Stadium (Dallas Cowboys) and Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Dolphins). And January 1st 2022 has 3 as well: Raymond James Stadium (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), State Farm Stadium (Arizona Cardinals) and Caesars Superdome (New Orleans Saints). 10 total NFL stadiums to choose from. So how can you see CFB’s biggest games in NFL stadiums on consecutive days? You’d choose the ‘Peach Bowl’ in Atlanta on 12/30 (Michigan State vs Pittsburgh), as it’s the only NY6 game that day. You’d have 2 options of 12/31: ‘Goodyear Cotton Bowl’ (Alabama vs Cincinnati) or ‘Capital One Orange Bowl’ (Georgia vs Michigan). 1/1/22 you have 3 choices: ‘PlayStation Fiesta Bowl’ (Oklahoma State vs Notre Dame), ‘Rose Bowl’ (Ohio State vs Utah) or ‘Allstate Sugar Bowl’ (Baylor vs Ole Miss). Which ones you choose depends on available flights, most desired venues, favorite teams, etc. But as you can see, pulling off a NY6 triple-header in 3 NFL stadiums can most definitely be accomplished.
So there you have it. 5 different trips to consider during college football’s Bowl season. What an opportunity to knock games off your bucket list. In 2021, I’ve been to 80 games so far myself. 28 FCS games during the Spring 2021 season and 52 games this Fall (35 FBS games & 17 FCS games). I’ll be attending 8 more games during the post-season:
- 12/18: South Dakota State @ Montana State (FCS Playoffs – Semifinal)
- 12/24: ‘Hawaii Bowl’ (Memphis vs Hawaii)
- 12/28: ‘Holiday Bowl’ (UCLA vs NC State)
- 12/29: ‘Alamo Bowl’ (Oregon vs Oklahoma)
- 12/31: ‘Cotton Bowl’ (Alabama vs Cincinnati)
- 1/1/22: ‘Rose Bowl’ (Ohio State vs Utah)
- 1/8/22: ‘FCS National Championship’ (Teams TBD)
- 1/10/22: ‘FBS National Championship’ (Teams TBD)
If you make it to any of the games I’ll be at, please do not hesitate to reach out. Meeting other fans at the games is my favorite part of traveling. Or if you take one of my recommended trips during Bowl season, please tag me on Twitter (@CFBcampustour). I’d love to share your adventures with my followers. The countdown to Bowl season is almost over! Hope you enjoy it…wherever your travels take you…