After Visiting Every PAC-12 Stadium, Here’s A Die-Hard Football Fan’s First Impression Of Ohio State
Last weekend, my friend Evan made the trip to Columbus for the first time to watch his Cal Bears valiantly fight against the Buckeyes.
Since he’s a pretty well traveled college football fan, I asked him about his impression of the game and where the experience ranked amongst some of the other stadiums he’s visited.
CS: What was your favorite part about attending a game in Columbus?
E: The passion and the history. Coming from California (Los Angeles in particular), where attending an athletic event usually consists of trying to find more celebrities in the crowd than the friend sitting next to you can, walking into the deafening sea of scarlet and gray howling for their beloved Buckeyes was pretty cool.
Every single person in The Shoe (all 105,000 of them!) sported some sort of red Ohio State apparel, jumped around in support of their team during the “Buckeye Bounce,” and roared to the chiming of 3rd Down bells. They all clapped harmoniously to the school’s alma mater, to the band dotting the “i” in the famous Script Ohio, and to the school’s legends such as Bob Knight and John Glenn being honored on the field at halftime. It was awesome to see everyone put all the hardships of their daily lives on pause to come together for another hallowed game day on campus.
How many college football stadiums have you been to and where does this experience rank among them?
I’ve been to my fair share of college football games around the country and have been to even more stadiums (without the pleasure of actually seeing a game there). That includes almost every stadium in the PAC-12 and a few others throughout the country. My experience in Columbus definitely ranks up near the top of my list, alongside Neyland Stadium (Tennessee) and obviously my personal two biases: the Rose Bowl (UCLA) being my second home growing up (parents and friends went there/played football there), and California Memorial Stadium (Cal) being my second home now (currently attending UC Berkeley).
What are some highlights of other college football stadiums/games that you’ve been to?
Neyland Stadium was awesome because, like Ohio State, it holds a ridiculous capacity — 100,000+ — of spirited people who worship their hometown football teams. Being a Volunteer fan is a way of life. The stadium sits right on the riverfront and we definitely got a good feel for that good ol’ southern hospitality while tailgating, even as a fan of the opposing team. Not to mention, there were plenty of attractive ladies on-site.
But nothing beats the Rose Bowl, the Grandaddy of them all and the most famous football stadium in the world. The surrounding palm trees and mountains, the grass parking lots that endlessly host tailgates for those flawlessly clad in powder blue, even searching for the water misters that keep you cool while standing in the SoCal Fall heat in line for a coke and a hot dog; it’s all part of the experience.
Finally, Cal’s recently renovated Memorial Stadium always brings a good time, win or lose (sadly, it’s about half-and-half these days). It’s nestled up in the forested foothills of the East Bay, overlooking all of UC Berkeley’s campus, the skyline of San Francisco across the Bay, and the Golden Gate Bridge. From the team’s entrance through the fog-blown tunnel donning the first sight of that day’s unique uniform combination of blue, gold, and white, to the victory cannon exploding from nearby Tightwad Hill after every Golden Bear touchdown, it provides day to remember.
Talk about one stadium you haven’t been to yet that you want to visit.
Well, besides the games you and I have promised to attend together before we die — Oklahoma vs Texas, Auburn vs Alabama, and Georgia vs Florida — I also want to see a Michigan vs Ohio State game because I’ve never sat in the stands for either one. Having been to a game in The Shoe now, I’d hope to visit the Big House in Ann Arbor for it. After all, it is the biggest stadium in the country and one heck of a rivalry between two historic football powerhouses. It would be one of the few, if not only, times I would be okay with wearing red in a sea of blue. Only for you, Ricky.
What are three things for OSU fans to look forward to when making the
trip to Berkeley next year?
1. The weather. And not the typical Southern California beach weather everyone raves about. September often provides our best weather of the year, so if you’re lucky, you’ll see your Buckeyes play football in non-humid, slightly breezy mid-70 degree sun.
2. Experience San Francisco. I actually do love San Francisco; coming from an LA native that says a lot. Nothing beats its charm with the classic red and gold-trimmed trolleys climbing the city’s hills and carving their paths through the rolling fog. Some of the best clam chowder bread bowls you’ve ever had are located at Fisherman’s Wharf, which encompasses countless waterfront bars and restaurants on Pier 39 that overlook the unrivaled West Coast sunsets over the Golden Gate Bridge. Beyond all the tourist attractions, the city is overflowing with excitement stemming from all of its professional sports teams, shopping, cultural arts, dining, and nightlife.
3. Berkeley itself. The American Civil Rights movement in the 1960s was centered on Telegraph Avenue, and that is now “home” to many eccentrics and homeless just beyond campus limits. You can take a picture under the historic mint-green Sather Gate, the entrance to the original University of California, take an elevator ride up 307 feet to the top of the Campanile (the third-largest bell tower in the world) for $1 to see spectacular views of the Bay Area, or stroll through campus and count how many signs you find that designate parking spots to some of the many Nobel Laureates affiliated with the university.
It’s a completely different experience than Ohio, but I promise you’ll never be bored. We’re looking forward to welcoming all Buckeyes to Berkeley and the Bay next year!