NEW YORK -- Has it been three months already?
Apparently it has, but after more than 90 days on the road, we still can't get enough of college football. That's because we touched down at New York's LaGuardia Airport just moments before the BCS matchups were announced. And before I get to my list of the best things I saw on Going Big, I figured I should chime in on the the latest BCS bowl pairings.
I know you've been waiting with bated breath.
SAN ANTONIO -- As a reporter I try and remain neutral, but I have to admit that I was secretly pulling for Missouri in tonight's Big 12 title game.
They were riding a magical season and were the No. 1 team in country playing for a conference title and a guaranteed spot in the national championship game. For so many seasons they have not been remotely this competitive and it really felt like this was their one chance.
Embrace The Gold
SAN ANTONIO -- Today I realized the major advantage of rooting for a college team over a pro team.
Sas pointed it out as we were lamenting (and by lamenting I mean "cursing Mets GM Omar Minaya") the trade that sent precocious young outfielder Lastings Milledge from our beloved Mets to the Nationals for the uninspiring combination of Brian Schneider and Ryan Church.
As my colleague and friend reasoned, college fans don't have to worry about their team making stupid trades, because it isn't allowed.
Score one for college sports!
Last Stop: San Antonio
SAN ANTONIO -- I didn't know exactly what to expect from college football fans when I first started this trip.
Mainly I pictured drunk students with their faces or chests painted in school colors, and there have been a few of those. However, I've been stunned to learn just how many fans there are at games that aren't students. This has been highlighted the past couple weeks as we've been at games played at neutral sites, but even at campuses there was still a huge non-student following.
What I've been most impressed with is the passion that these older fans have.
AUSTIN, Texas -- One thing I've learned in all my road tripping is that I love Austin.
And if you've been reading this blog, this should come as no surprise to you. Therefore, I'm not going to rehash all the reasons why I love it.
Instead, I will regale you with some other knowledge I've gleaned on the road, and I promise it's invaluable for all your roadside dinning needs.
No Pulsa in Tulsa
DALLAS -- One of the best and worst things about this trip is the number of places we go. It's great, because now I have cocktail party conversation with almost anyone from anywhere in the country.
"Oh, you are from Grand Rapids, why that's a lovely and tremendously underrated city."
"Did you say you were from Norman? I had the most amazing cheeseburger while I was there"
The bad part is that we are often in places for such a short period of time that we don't always get to see everything that the city has to offer.
Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad
NORMAN, Okla. -- As you can imagine, this trip has put me more in touch with the college football world than I've ever been before.
The only surprising element of this immersion is that this extends beyond Division I. I say surprising because after covering Division III football for four years of college (and not just D-III football, bad D-III football), I never thought I'd be so connected with non-Division I pigskin.
But this trip has brought us to schools from Division I-III, and there is some wild stuff going on all over the place. Really, it's wild.
The Odometer: Border War Edition
TULSA, Okla. -- Today we entered Oklahoma. While normally this isn't very exciting news, it was for me because this was my first time entering the Sooner State. Thanks to Going Big I have checked a number of states off my "never been to" list. Michigan, Missouri, Kansas and now Oklahoma are all off the board for me. I'm not sure that i will ever get to 50, I can't really imagine any reason for me to end up in North Dakota, but I guess stranger things have happened.
Once In A Lifetime
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- You know the fans are taking things seriously when the stands are jammed at kickoff.
I'm not talking about half full, or mostly full, I'm talking about filled to the gills. Even Michigan-Ohio State didn't have it packed like this for the opening moments.
But when you're Kansas and Missouri, and you don't know when you'll next get the chance to play in a game of this magnitude, it's understandable.
Getting Messy In K.C.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- As many of you already know, Matt and I were without our families for Thanksgiving dinner. We still went out for dinner and I reluctantly ate some turkey even though I don't even like turkey, but feel obliged to have some on Thanksgiving for sentimental reasons.
The main reason that I was disappointed about having Thanksgiving in K.C. was that it was a wasted opportunity to eat the city's famous ribs.