Have you seen the movie, “The Bucket List”? If you haven’t, you should—underrated flick.
For those who haven’t, the 2007 film, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, centers on two dying old men. The terminally ill patients, Edward (Nicholson) and Carter (Freeman), meet in the cancer ward of a hospital—which Edward owns—and, eventually, become friends. Carter has this list of all the things he wants to do before he dies, a “bucket list,” and, with the motivation and monetary backing of Edward, the two buds travel the globe.
Edward and Carter go sky diving, drive a Shelby Mustang, eat dinner at the Chevre d'Or in France, fly over the North Pole, visit the Taj Mahal in India, ride motorcycles atop the Great Wall of China, go on a safari in Africa, and climb Mt. Everest.
All of the cool things that can be done on Earth are done by Edward and Carter.
We all need to be Edward and Carter. We all need to have bucket lists, especially when it comes to college football, perhaps the greatest sport in all the land.
What should be on this college football bucket list? We’re here to help.
There are, surely, teams you haven’t seen play, stadiums you haven’t stepped foot in, and traditions you’ve yet to partake in. We’re listing them--the really good ones, anyway. Every college football fan should do the following 15 things before they die. You'll regret it if you don't.
Presenting College Spun’s College Football Bucket List: The 15 Things Every Fan Should Do And See Before They Die.
They are in no particular order.
No. 15, Attend an Army-Navy game
No, this rivalry doesn’t normally mean anything on a competitive scale, and, no, you won’t be watching an abundance of future NFL players battle. You will, however, be viewing the football teams from the country’s two greatest military academies leave everything they have on the field. For many players, it’s the last competitive football game they’ll ever play.
K.T McFarland from FoxNews.com describes the game as follows.
“So why is the Army-Navy game one of the best in college football? Because it is a metaphor for what is best about America. It shows us that we are at our best when we fight ferociously in the game, but afterwards, no matter who wins or who loses, we come together as brothers,” she wrote.
Following the contest, typically played in Philadelphia or Baltimore, both teams’ alma maters are sung. The winning team stands next to the losing squad and they sing together. In this moment, the score doesn’t matter. It’s part of what makes the Army-Navy game so great.
Navy leads the series, 58-49-7.
No. 14, Attend an Alabama-Auburn game
Did you watch the 2013 version of the Iron Bowl? Of course you did. You probably wished you were there. As a college football fan, you need to see the South’s greatest rivalry in person.
If you’re smart, you’ll go to a Crimson Tide-Tigers game in the near future. With Nick Saban and Gus Malzahn at the helm of the two programs, no matchup in college football features two better schools.
Alabama and Auburn have combined to win four national championships since 2009. If you’ve attended an Iron Bowl in the last five years, you’ve seen a team that’s gone on to play in the BCS National Championship Game. If you attend a game in the coming years, you'll probably be watching at least one team competing for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
The Crimson Tide lead this series, 42-35-1.
Next: No. 13, Night game at LSU >>>No. 13, Night game at LSU
If electricity and goose bumps are what you’re after, attending a night game at LSU should be No. 1 on your list. Tiger Stadium, ranked the most intimidating stadium in the country by many, provides as good an atmosphere as there is in college football.
Tiger Stadium is at its best at night. Since 1960, LSU is 231-61-4 at night at home. The stadium once got so loud in 1988, an earthquake registered on the seismograph on the Baton Rouge campus.
CBSSports.com’s Dennis Dodd wrote in 2009 of LSU night games, “It has turned the knees of All-Americans to goo. It has caused coaches to lose their coaching minds. It only happens at a special space at a special time. LSU can be up, LSU can be down, but LSU’s best weapon remains … sunset.”
No. 12, Attend a home Nebraska game
It doesn’t matter when you go, just go. Attend a home game at the University of Nebraska. Saturdays in Lincoln are what college football is all about. The stadium will always be packed and the fans forever hospitable.
Memorial Stadium, home to the Huskers, becomes the third-largest city in the state of Nebraska on game day. Every game since 1962 has been a sellout, a streak of 333 straight contests. No other program is close to matching that number. Notre Dame, for example, is second with 237 consecutive games.
You’ll never be treated poorly, either, even if you’re a fan of a visting team.
A Georgia fan said this about the Husker fan base prior to the 2012 Capital One Bowl:
"They're too nice to dislike. Nebraska fans have a national reputation for being among the classiest in college football, and for being especially gracious to opposing fans. Every Cornhusker fan with whom I ever have come into contact seemed to be a genuinely nice person. They're polite to the point of being rude. I mean, really, people; we're trying to hate y'all over here. Do you mind?"
The Tunnel Walk is pretty cool, too.
No. 11, Attend an Ohio State-Michigan game
It’s the greatest rivalry, pound for pound, in the sport. Maybe it lacks the recent national relevance of Auburn-Alabama, or the patriotic-ness of Army-Navy, but it more than makes up for it in pageantry and hate. And, to be fair, the Wolverines and the Buckeyes are the No. 1 and No. 6 winningest programs of all time, respectively. Alabama and Auburn are No. 8 and No. 19. In 2006, then-No. 1 and No. 2 Ohio State and Michigan played “The Game of the Century.”
Attending an Ohio State-Michigan game means you’ll step foot in, either, Ohio Stadium or Michigan Stadium, the Horseshoe and the Big House, two of the sport’s premier stadiums. You’ll listen to “Hail to the Victors” and watch The Best Damn Band In The Land dot the I. You’ll see great players and iconic coaches, and, most likely, a great contest. Michigan leads the series, 58-45-6, though seven of the past 14 games—10 won by Ohio State—have been decided by one score or less.
Dress warmly when you go, too. It’s played the Saturday following Thanksgiving and it’ll be cold. If you’re lucky, it’ll be snowing. The cold weather makes “The Game” that much better.
No. 10, Witness a "White Out" at Penn State
There's not an eerier environment in college football than Beaver Stadium on a fall Saturday. College football is not its own little world, but you feel like you're on a special planet when inside Penn State's home confines.
For the big games--the home, night contests against Ohio State, most especially--the 100,00-plus Nittany Lions' fans wear all white, producing one of the craziest and strangest atmospheres in the sport. There's really nothing else quite like it. The "We Are...Penn State!" chant is among the best in the country, too.
“When they have that White Out, it feels like it’s you against the world. It’s so hard to hear there,” one Big Ten player said of the spectacle.
No. 9, Attend the "World's Largest Cocktail Party"
In the 1950s, then-Florida Times-Union sports editor Bill Kastelz dubbed the Florida-Georgia game, "The World's Largest Cocktail Party." He reportedly came up with the name when he witnessed a stumbling, drunk fan offer an alcoholic beverage to a police officer.
Good football and debauchery, what's not to love?
The game, played annually in Jacksonville since 1933, typically produces some high-level football. You're attending the contest, though, for the tailgating, hence the game's unofficial nickname.
It's always an awesome time.
No. 8, Attend The Red River Shootout and the State Fair Of Texas
Attending the Texas-Oklahoma game at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas brings gifts, twofold:
1. Witnessing a rivalry game between two of the country's premier programs.
2. Being able to attend the State Fair of Texas.
The game, also known as the "Red River Shootout," has been held at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas during the State Fair of Texas since 1932.
The contest is always great, but the State Fair of Texas is where much of the fun can be had. There's incredible food to be eaten.
">October 13, 2013
— Adam Herman (@Herman248)
— Adam Herman (@Herman248) October 13, 2013
">October 13, 2013
The game can be pretty entertaining, too. Next: No. 7, Sailgating at Washington No. 7, "Sailgate" at a Washington gameBeing out on the open water can be incredibly peaceful. Attending a major college football game can be extremely exciting. Combine the two experiences and you get "Sailgating" at the University of Washington, perhaps college football's most distinct tailgating scene. Docks were built near Husky Stadium in 1960, and ever since, Washington fans have been coming to games not by foot or car, or train or plane, but by boat. There's "sailgating" at Tennessee and Baylor, too, but the pure blue water color, proximity to the field, and views of the Cascade and Olympic Mountains set Washington's scene apart. “When I take people, they’re just dumbfounded that Husky Stadium sits on the water, that you can do something like this,” said one "sailgater" to the New York Times. “Everybody has their own way of tailgating. This is how we do it.”So, get your hands on a boat, and experience "sailgating." You'll be happy you did. Next: No. 6, Ole Miss' The Grove >>>No. 6, Tailgate at The Grove at Ole MissIf college football programs were ranked based on the ability to tailgate, and not the capacity to perform on the field, Ole Miss would annually top every poll. Sadly for Rebels fans, that's not the case. Thankfully for you, it doesn't matter. Whether or not Ole Miss has a good football team (it does this year, ranked No. 19 preseason), tailgating at The Grove is always an enjoyable experience. The Grove, a 10-acre plot of land outside Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, has everything: good food, good-looking co-eds, and the perfect mix of classiness and rowdiness, all leading up to the "Walk of Champions," when the team marches through the tailgaters on way to the playing field. “We may not win every game,” Helen Craig told the New York Times. “But we’ve never lost a party."Next: No. 5, Wisconsin's Jump Around >>> No. 5, Witness "Jump Around" At WisconsinThe best time at Camp Randall Stadium is when the game clock isn't moving. During every Wisconsin home game, between the third and fourth quarters, the crowd goes absolutely crazy. The House of Pain song, "Jump Around," blares through the Madison, Wisc. stadium's speakers. Everyone in attendance--at least those supporting the Badgers--jumps up and down, dancing. The tradition, voted college football's best in 2012, began in 1998. It's been an incredible hit ever since, helping Camp Randall Stadium become one of the most intimidating stadiums in the country. “The stadium definitely shakes,” Mike Oliva, an engineering professor at Wisconsin, told the New York Times. “People in the upper deck tend to feel like the motion is anywhere from 2 inches to 10 inches.”Next: No. 4, Clemson and The Hill >>>No. 4, Witness Clemson running down "The Hill"It's been described by legendary college football broadcaster Brent Musberger as "the most exciting 25 seconds in college football," and it's unlike any other entrance into a stadium in the world. Before every Clemson home game, Tiger players arrive at Memorial Stadium in buses. They enter on the east side and stand atop "The Hill." When the touchdown canon sounds, "Tiger Rag" begins to play and Clemson's coaches and players sprint (OK, some jog) down the hill. It's extremely exciting to watch, even on TV, but it's best experienced in person. Next: No. 3, Texas A&M's "Midnight Yell"No. 3, Attend "Midnight Yell Practice" at Texas A&MTexas A&M refers to its fans as the "12th Man" for a reason. Aggie supporters are truly a part of the team's pre-game preparations. On the evening before a Texas A&M home game, "Midnight Yell Practice" is held at Kyle Field at, of course, midnight. Midnight Yell, which began at Texas A&M in 1913, is somewhat of a pep rally. More so, though, it's an opportunity for the Aggies' student body to learn different chants and cheers. The Yell Leaders, appointed by the student body, lead the practice. Texas A&M fan or not, witnessing this event is a must for any college football fan. Next: No. 2, Bourbon Street >>>No. 2, Celebrate a victory on Bourbon StreetWitnessing your team win either the Sugar Bowl or the national championship in New Orleans is close to as good as it gets for a college football fan. Celebrating that victory on Bourbon Street makes it even better. The country's most famous avenue, located in the heart of the French Quarter, New Orleans' oldest neighborhood, is filled with bars and restaurants. There's no open-container law in NOLA, so the party literally fills into the streets. That's where most of the fun is had, too. There are fans cheering and taunting the opposition--you party on Bourbon Street when you lose, too--people running around topless, and police officers riding horses trying to contain it all. It is, perhaps, the most vibrant scene in the country. Everyone parties on Bourbon Street when they're in New Orleans for a college football game. You should, too.
">@AdrianPeterson on Bourbon Street ! pic.twitter.com/9Uv2FdoDHI
— kristin taylor ✞ (@kris10waine)
— kristin taylor ✞ (@kris10waine) January 3, 2014
">January 3, 2014
Next: No. 1, Sunset at the Rose BowlNo. 1, Witness the sunset at the Rose BowlThere are many reasons why the Rose Bowl is called the "Grandaddy of Them All." None, though, have more to do with the game's stature than the scenery. The Rose Bowl kicks off every year in mid-afternoon. By roughly the third quarter, the sun begins to set behind the San Gabriel Mountains, forming the most perfect sky you'll ever see. The photos of the sunset are awesome. Witnessing the spectacle in person is even better.
">January 2, 2014
">@TonyBruin: told you, the best setting anywhere for college football pic.twitter.com/NxSvaebnoM — Bonnie Bernstein (@BonnieBernstein)