If you want to create a lasting memory, go to a college football game.
It has worked so far for me.
When I think of football, I think of my 10-year old self waking up my family at 6 a.m. so we could catch the Vol Walk for a noon game. (I also did this when ESPN’s College GameDay strolled into Knoxville for the 2012 Tennessee-Florida game. Turns out, college football is the only thing that can get me out of bed before 7 a.m.)
I remember smiling at my grandfather, a longtime season ticket holder, during the second half of the 2006 California game, as both of us took in the deafening crowd noise of Neyland Stadium.
Now in college, my memories are a little different. I remember walking down a crowded Strip with some of my closest friends the night before the 2014 Florida game, absorbing the frenetic atmosphere.
And sometime in the future, I will remember my time as the Sports Editor at the Daily Beacon, the first opportunity I had to cover a major college football beat.
It’s not just the memories that make college football so great. Tennessee football game days would not be the same without the Pride of the Southland's incredible pregame show, or without the tailgating and great places to eat before the game.
I also love the stories that come from the sport. Stories like how an overlooked high school prospect became one of the most dynamic defenders in the SEC, or a stories like how a video game has strengthened the relationship of a football team. These are the stories that make college football so intriguing.
College football has its share of problems. I am not denying that. But there is just something romantic about a game day on a college campus—when over 100,000 fans set aside their differences to cheer in unison for one team.
Having around 100,000 fans all cheering for one outcome is, well, an experience.
And that is the goal of the football preview: to have students wildly anticipating that experience.