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College Football Tour Stop 1-Texas vs. Texas Tech

Posted by cuorange on September 22, 2009

Any serious college football fan should have at least a working history of Texas football. From Tommy Nobis and Earl Campbell to Ricky Williams and Vince Young the Longhorns have given us some of the greatest players of all time.

After 21 years living in the Austin area I attended a Longhorn game for the first time last Saturday night. Texas was facing Texas Tech in a rematch of last year’s thriller in Lubbock.

Everyone knows what happened in the game, but here are the sights and sounds of a fall Saturday in Austin, Texas at Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium:

Getting There
Austin traffic is never great, but on game day it becomes chaotic, choking and slower. Jamming a Texas record 101,279 into a stadium in the middle of downtown Austin is a challenge. We made it through unscathed and found a parking spot only 17 blocks from the stadium.

Tailgating
I’ve been to some tailgates in my day and those of us born and raised in the deep South like to snicker at what other fans call tailgating. TailgatiTailgaiting 1ng is usually associated with lush green grass and I saw some of that where grass was available. But Texans never let a dearth of the green stuff downtown stop a good tailgate as every inch of every parking lot, sidewalk and some parts of the roads were used to set up shop.

Make no mistake about it – these guys know how to tailgate and they do it in style.

One place that is a “must” is Scholz Beer Garten on the corner of 17th and San Jacinto. It’s been there since 1866 and it is where Colin Cowherd’s show originated from the Friday before the game and the place where the pregame radio shows broadcast from. It’s not for the faint of heart as there is wall to wall, and I do mean wall to wall, people within the grounds. Very crowded.
Scholz Beer Garten

Scholz Beer Garten

 

Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium (DKR)
Huge and impressive are two adjectives that come to mind. The climb to our seats was steep and long and I noticed several older folks who I didn’t think were going to make it. I imagine the escalators were literally a life saver for some of the seasoned fans.Texas

The recent upgrades and additions have increased the capacity in recent years and the announced crowd was 101,279 on Saturday, which was a record for a football game in the state of Texas.

The field was gorgeous, the GodzillaTron jumbo and the setting was perfect for big time college football.

Atmosphere
I was a little disappointed in this aspect of the experience, though I admit it may have to do with where I was sitting. A festive pregame atmosphere turned into a crowd that sat on its collective hands throughout most of the game. Sure, there was the occasional roar on 3rd down, but nothing that was really loud or sustained.UT

The GodzillaTron was a great tool for viewing replays and providing information. On the other hand, at times it became a distraction and an annoyance with the loud commercials and continuous noise that is part of today’s culture at sporting events. I must be getting old.

Sportsmanship
I was prepared to see and hear a lot of verbal, and maybe physical, altercations as I have yet to meet anyone from Texas who likes a Techie and vice versa. I saw none of that. All interactions that I saw between burnt orange and red and black were cordial and friendly. A caveat here is that I did not hit Sixth Street after the game, so what I saw was all pregame (and the walk back to the car). I was extremely impressed by both sides, but especially the Texas fans who had every advantage (including a huge disparity in numbers) on their side and not one so much as tried to instigate any type of altercation.

Being one of the few not wearing burnt orange or red/black gave me a unique perspective. I got a few quizzical looks over my blue shirt and Clemson hat (though you would not know it was a Clemson hat as it only has the paw visible and not “Clemson”), and there were a few friendly “How’s it going?” type interactions with Texas fans and a couple Tech fans. Again, both were friendly and respectful.

Summary
Every college football fan should take in a game at DKR if given the chance. You can feel the history of the game oozing from DKR and see a top college team play while enjoying tailgating and the sights in one of the greatest cities in America.Texas Flag

 

 

 

The overall experience was top notch. The only three minor negatives were parking (which little can be done about), the fans sitting on their hands (at least where I was) and the abuse of the GodzillaTron. These were very minor issues on an otherwise memorable day.

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