Give Me Liberty

For as long as I can remember I’ve loved the game of college football, and over the years I’ve been to my share of games; sitting in the rain the day after Thanksgiving as Arkansas beat LSU in Little Rock, being the lone Alabama fan in a sea of Ole Miss supporters in Oxford after a controversial win for the Crimson Tide. I’ve seen fans rush the field in an excited frenzy after winning the game or boo their team vehemently as they neared a loss. I’ve been yelled at for clapping and I’ve been yelled at for wearing the wrong colored shirt. I’ve shaken the hand of the quarterback taken first overall in the 2004 NFL draft, back when he was in college. Football and I go way back, and although we’ve shared a lot of experiences, there is one big one that we haven’t, that is until today. I’m going to a bowl game, the 58th annual AutoZone Liberty Bowl .

Bowl games are the ultimate goals for college football teams, the chance to travel somewhere and play a nationally televised game at the end of the season, not to mention the school and football program get a ton of money out of it. It’s not like it’s that special of an experience anymore, the only requirement really is that you win six games, a requirement that wasn’t met by all of the teams this year, because the NCAA ran out of six-win teams so they gave an open spot to five-win Mississippi State. Over the years the bowls have lost the exclusivity about them that once made them special, and now it seems almost more common to be playing in a bowl game than not, but regardless of that fact, I’ve never been to one, and am thus very excited about the game today, Georgia against TCU.

TCU (Texas Christian) and Georgia in my opinion is one of the best bowl match-ups between unranked teams this year. When the college football season first began, way back in September, the Bulldogs and Horned Frogs were ranked 9 and 15 respectively, and had they played the game then, it would have been must-see TV for the avid sports fan. But, over the course of the season, teams do what they normally tend to do, unless of course they’re Alabama, and they lose games that they shouldn’t lose, and get discouraged, then lose some more, and drop out of the rankings altogether. It’s a shame for these two football programs who are both talented enough to be ranked in the top 25, but it’s great for me, who would otherwise not get a chance to see them play each other this year.

Although I live in Memphis, the location of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, it wasn’t like I was planning on going to the game, eagerly awaiting and speculating about which two teams would be selected to play here. Sure, I’d looked at ticket prices a couple of months ago, just out of curiosity, thinking if they were pretty inexpensive it would be a fun event to attend, but they were not, so I wasn’t going to go and that was that, no big deal. Then, last week my wife got an email from one of her employers, who had been given tickets to the game and would be giving them out to their employees on a first come (or in this case email), first served basis, so I wasted no time in hammering out an email requesting two tickets, and sure enough we got them. My wife has to work today so she won’t be able to go with me, which is just fine with her because she gets bored with how long the games are on TV and isn’t to eager to watch one outside in 45 degree weather. My brother Logan came up from Arkansas and we’re going to the game together this morning, the first bowl game for either one of us, and regardless of the outcome, it should be a really fun experience.

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