The ultimate college football road trip is BACK!

from Charlotte Wilder
FOX Sports Columnist

Well folks, I’m excited to announce that it’s that time of year. The time when the kids go back to school and so do I.

The time when I collect all the vintage college t-shirts I can find and stock up on Advil in case I need to pop a tube: It’s Dos Equis Ultimate College Football Road Trip Season 2!

It starts this week (!!!) in Atlanta, where I’ll be heading to Mercedes-Benz Stadium for a non-conference matchup between No. 3 Georgia and No. 11 Oregon.

And I need your help, suggestions and best stories.

But first let me set the scene.

Last year it was the best assignment i ever got as a sports reporter. I was immersed in college football for 10 weeks and it was my job to learn the specifics of fandom at each of the schools we visited. I’ve spent an entire season celebrating the pomp and circumstance that surrounds Sabbaths.

It was as magnificent as you would expect. We were even nominated for an Emmy! Honestly, we didn’t win, but only because we followed Alabama’s lead.

Last year’s college football adventures have stayed with me over the last 12 months. Flashes of memories strike when I least expect it. I’ll see an RV on a freeway and remember Hal, the guy who gave me a tour of his party bus at LSU.

When he opened the door to show me his bathroom, a friend of his was inside and shouted that he had no clothes. Hal opened the door anyway. I caught a glimpse of the naked pig of an old man before the door closed again. Michelle, a middle-aged woman whose brother owned the most intense RV I’ve ever seen, had me do jello shots with her. LSU was wild.

Sometimes memories come flooding back when I pass a particularly beautiful dog and remember Miss Revey, the highest-ranking member of A&M’s cadet corps, who happens to be a rough collie. She was not only the cleanest dog I had ever met, she was also the most powerful. And one of the cutest.

Charlotte Wilder meets Reveille

Charlotte Wilder meets Reveille

Charlotte Wilder meets Reveille, the official mascot of Texas A&M, during the Ultimate College Football Road Trip.

When I watch a movie starring Matthew McConaughey, I think about Bevo the UT longhorn. I was lucky enough to hang out with this majestic beast and some Texas cowboys at their home ranch near Austin.

Me too spent time with the ponies who tow the Sooner Schooner (Boomer and Sooner) at their home in Norman, Oklahoma.

Charlotte Wilder describes A Schooner Voyage.

Charlotte Wilder describes A Schooner Voyage.

Charlotte Wilder tells what it was like to meet Boomer and Sooner, Sooner Schooner’s ponies.

I saw a little girl going to ballet class the other day and thought of the Tiger Girls at LSU who were kind enough to teach me how to do the TikTok dance during one of their marathon practices. It wasn’t easy to make the then 32-year-old look great, but they had the magic to get close (I still follow them on Instagram).

Train with the LSU Tiger Girls

Train with the LSU Tiger Girls

Charlotte Wilder trains with the renowned nationally ranked LSU Tiger Girls in Baton Rouge.

But mostly I think back to last fall when I just saw people around the world rocking gear with their teams on it. I said this at our last stop the day before Florida-Georgia, but I found the hospitality of the fans very touching. We live in an age of division and ridicule, and while I don’t believe sport can cure any of that, it can provide a brief moment of common ground. And people I didn’t have much in common with were always so eager to show me their teams, schools, marching bands — and their homes.

Because that’s what college football is all about. At home. It’s a love letter to where you became who you are, or where your parents happened, or where your sister met her husband. It could be where you first learned what a hangover was, or had your heart broken, or realized what you were passionate about.

College football was and still is the beat of your Saturdays. And for people to want to share that with me, an outsider, felt very intimate. I learned so much.

That’s why I couldn’t be more excited to embark on another fall full of these adventures. I get to visit some old friends (I’m looking at you Miss Rev) and explore some new places.

Here is the graph:

September 3: Oregon vs. Georgia in Atlanta
September 10: Alabama at Texas
September 24: Florida in Tennessee
October 8: Auburn in Georgia
October 15: Penn State in Michigan
November 5: Florida at Texas A&M
November 19: USC at UCLA
November 26: Michigan at Ohio State

I’m excited to welcome Bama to Texas in Week 2 (hint at UT’s SEC future), tailgate Vol Navy in Knoxville and visit the Big House in Ann Arbor. I’m a little terrified of Michigan-Ohio State in Columbus, but that’s the good kind of dread, the kind that comes with a really great roller coaster ride. I want to know which LA celebrities are most interested in USC-UCLA.

But that’s just scratching the surface.

This is where you all come in.

I need your suggestions – I want you to tell me where to go in your college town. Which restaurant I can’t miss. Which super fan is known for having the most outrageous game day. Which fan has a story of resilience that needs to be told. Which traditions are crucial and which marching band’s brass section is the hardest. Which cheerleaders do the best flips.

I want to find the most tricked out van and I want to do an “MTV Cribs” style tour. I want you to invite me to your mom’s door and I want her to teach me on camera how to make the best brisket in America. I want to march with your marching band, cheer with your cheerleaders, and dance with your dance teams.

I want to honor your place, your football teams and your people. So please chirping at meDM me find me on Instagramor send me a letter (just kidding I don’t put my address on the internet lol).

But however you do it, please give me your tips, suggestions and stories you think deserve to be told. I’m all ears and can’t wait to land in your state.

Charlotte Wilder is a general columnist and co-host of “People’s Sports Podcast” for FOX Sports. She’s honored to represent the oft-overlooked area of ​​Boston in sports media, loves talking to sports fans about their feelings, and is happiest when eating a hotdog on the field or nachos at the ballpark. Follow her on Twitter @TheWilderThings.


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