Inspired by friend Chandler’s Facebook group/blog, Living for Saturdays (Join at https://www.facebook.com/groups/720114478075443/), I’ve decided to write about my favorite football games of all-time that I’ve attended in person. Although I found it too difficult to narrow it down to five (like the question posed on Living for Saturdays), here is a far too exhaustive list of 10 of the top games I’ve seen in person. This is by no means exhaustive and in no particular order.
No real solid set of criteria here: mostly memorable experiences and wins. There are a few losses on the list, but for the most part, like any ex-athlete and fan, I have purged those from my memory bank.
East Carolina at Virginia Tech, 2007
My first game on injury reporting duty on the sidelines as an intern at Virginia Tech also happened to be the Hokies’ first football game after the tragedy that hit the campus on Apr. 16, 2007.
Utah vs. Alabama, 2009 Sugar Bowl, Jan. 2, 2009
No one (including myself honestly) thought the Utes would even compete, much less win, against the mighty Crimson Tide in their own backyard (The Superdome a mere four-hour drive from Tuscaloosa). And the couple days I was in New Orleans before the game, their fans let us know about it, too. But Stevenson Sylvester, Robert Johnson and the defense came to play and after Brian Johnson and offense unleashed its hurry-up offense with three unanswered touchdowns and never looked back.
Wisconsin vs. Oregon, 2012 Rose Bowl
One of the most heart-breaking losses in my lifetime, but a great game and a great time with the Ute crew. It had been six years since I had seen a Badger game and I picked a good one. Russell Wilson put on a show!
Watch the entire game here.
The Badgers broke the defending national champion Buckeyes’ 19-game winning streak. And Lee Evans absolutely toasted Chris Gamble! I think Lee is still running!
Went with my mom to Ann Arbor and the ‘Big House’ for my eighth-grade graduation present to see the Wolverines, led by Tom Brady and the ‘A Train’ Anthony Thomas, take on Antwaan Randle-El and the Hoosiers.
My dad surprised me with tickets to the Christmas Eve game down at Soldier Field between the Eagles and the Bears. The Bears got out to a 17-0 lead in the first half before holding on for a 20-14 victory. Rashaan Salaam went over 1,000 yards as a rookie before he became a fumbling mess and Erik Kramer was at the peak of his Chicago quarterbacking career.
My friend Shane got us tickets in the student section and we were there for the biggest comeback in Notre Dame Stadium history! From the article, “Trailing 24-3 in the third quarter, the luck of the Irish helped ND secure the win. No more was that evident than the game-winning score when tight end Jabari Holloway won the scrum for Jarious Jackson’s fumble in the end zone with 2:40 remaining.”
Boston College at Virginia Tech, 2007
I was on the Lane Stadium sidelines to witness Matt Ryan’s comeback victory for the Eagles over the Hokies on a rainy night in Blacskburg.
Stocco! He and Brian Calhoun engineer the game-winning drive and Stocco’s draw seals it for the Badgers over a Michigan’s Chad Henne and Jason Avant.
What could be better than beating your rival to win a conference title and bust the BCS! Maybe forcing six turnovers!