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Friday, November 11, 2011

Game of the Century

Football Friday, Volume 9 (Part 1)
By Brian Smith

(Editor's note: Last week LSU and Alabama played in what many dubbed the "Game of the Century."  I imagine it must have been an unbelievable atmosphere to attend a game.  Two nights earlier the polar opposite of that game occurred in Chestnut Hill.  It also marked Brian "Poopa" Smith's first time attending a college football game.)

Raucous.  Loud.  Crazy.  These are things one would expect when attending a college football game.  I, for one, had never had the pleasure of attending a college football game before.  When told I had a chance to attend the BC-Florida State game on November 3rd, I jumped at the opportunity.  I mean, who wouldn’t? My first college football experience would be Boston College vs Florida State, two ACC foes going head to head in a game that was slated to be nationally televised on ESPN on a Thursday night.  Needless to say, my expectations were through the roof for this experience. 

But first, a little bit of a backstory.  When it comes to sporting events, I manage to get myself insanely hyped up for them.  Just ask the writer of The SLReport about Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in 2010 between the Cavs and the Celtics.  It’s damn near impossible to temper my expectations for a sporting event.  Thus, my head was in the clouds when it came to this game.  In August, dancing around in my head, were thoughts of Florida State coming into this game undefeated.  Florida State is also one of my most hated teams when it comes to sports.  I dreamed of BC pulling off the upset and being able to storm the field and tear down the goal posts!!(Editor’s note: I didn’t have the heart to tell Poopa that stadiums now break down the goal posts to prevent fans from doing such a thing)  I was ready to go!!  But fast forward a few months into the season and Florida State struggled to meet high expectations out of the gate and came into the game with a 5-3 record.  Even worse, BC was making their way through a rough season and stumbled into this game with their record at 2-6.  My hopes of storming the field were dashed.  But nevertheless, with both teams bowl streaks on the line, there was much to play for and I was still genuinely ready to take in my first college football experience.  And with that, begins the photo essay…

To get to a football game at Chestnut Hill, you have to park in Needham and you get bused over to the Heights for the game.  Being told the bus ride would only take 15-20 minutes, I literally couldn’t sit still when I got on the bus.  45 minutes later and stuck in traffic, I was wondering if fans going to the Iron Bowl or any big time college football game had to suffer through the same fate.  I chalked it up to the fact that this was probably standard operating procedure for a BC game with the stadium having pretty much no parking and continued on my way. 

When we finally got off the bus and took a short walk to the stadium, I was greeted by the fa├žade of Alumni Stadium.  I got chills, as my expectations were still pretty high for this game regardless of the records.  Well, it was that or the fact that it was rather cold out that night and I had managed to not dress properly for the game.  Either way, I didn’t realize how quickly it would take for disappointment to wash over me.

TAILGATING!!  Every college football game has that!!  I soaked up the atmosphere and felt like I was a part of something special.  I really felt as if we were in store for something epic that night.  In hindsight, that was a really stupid thought.

This is the scene I was greeted with when we reached our seats in the North end zone.  Oh, and I’d like to point out that this was less than half an hour before kickoff.  Where’s the crazy student section?  Where are the people jumping up and down and chanting and yelling?  Where the hell is everyone!?!  Uhhhhh, this is nothing I like I had imagined it to be….uh-oh.  And most possibly the worst thing I had heard during this time was the BC marching band playing the FLORIDA STATE fight song!!  Would you hear Oregon’s marching band playing “Hail to Old OSU” in a Civil War game at Autzen??  I think not!  This was pretty much a foreboding as to how the rest of the night was going to go.

I guess this is a little bit better now?  My two friends and I (Editor’s note: Apparently he couldn’t mention us by name; I was there along with MATT SILBERMAN!!! ) managed to get ourselves pumped up for the kickoff and off we went.  I’d like to point out that the three of us had about 6 rows to ourselves at this point and we also seemed to be amongst a sizable Florida State contingency.  Again, not quite what I was expecting. 

One of the aforementioned Florida State fans.  Have I mentioned how much I HATE Florida State? 

I wish I could tell you when this picture was taken but I honestly have no clue.  It was 28-0 at halftime.  The first six drives that BC had ended with a fumble and 5 punts.  BC was getting blown out.  That crazy student section that I was expecting… Yeah, well that was more than halfway empty by the end of the halftime.  The pretzel that I bought (Editor's note: I bought him that pretzel) was colder than the soda that I got to drink with it.  The most exciting thing I saw….well, at least I think I saw it; it could have just been the boredom kicking in, was when the Florida State kicker was warming up at halftime, and I’ll carry this to my grave, and kicked two balls in one attempt from the 50 yard line.  One ended up going through the uprights and the other fell just short.  I was told there was no way in hell that I saw what I thought I saw.  I don’t know, maybe I was just going delirious at this point (Editor's note: this absolutely 100% did not happen). 

This picture pretty much sums up the second half of the game (Editor's note: that is me in that picture, again apparently Poopa couldn't mention me).  Almost no crowd noise it felt like, and to make matters worse, it was becoming a very slow moving football game.  Most of our excitement was spent on wondering if we were going to be the last two people in our section, we were….by about the 10 minute mark of the fourth quarter.  Thank God for smartphones and Facebook.  I wonder if Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook for nights like this.

A Florida State fan in a Christian Ponder Vikings jersey, enough said.

This picture pretty much sums up the night as a whole: final score 38-7.  I think the most excited the crowd got this whole game is when BC’s backup QB, Josh Bornder came in and did his best Tim Tebow impression.  I got to walk out of the stadium getting to listen to the whole Florida State tomahawk chop/chant….it sucked.   Don’t get me wrong, I had a fun time and everything being at the game with friends, but this was NOTHING like I had expected.  I guess I was expecting too much from a school in the Northeast that feels out of place in a big conference like the ACC.  But I guess this serves as a lesson as to what college football is like in the Northeast.  I think high school football games in Texas contained more excitement than Alumni Stadium that night.  Blame it on the crowd, or the bad showing by BC, blame it on whatever you want, but I imagine this is nothing what football down south is like.  Take this past weekend’s SEC matchup between LSU and Alabama as an example.  Now that’s what a college football experience is all about.  This was an experience for sure, and I would definitely do it again, but next time, my expectations will definitely have to be tempered. 

(Editor's note: Thanks to Poopa for his contribution.  I am hoping to get him more involved with the blog moving forward.)

Click here for Part 2 of Football Friday including my picks.

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