Thanks for taking the time to read this blog. I hope to have one each day while Chris and I
are in California covering this year's BCS National Championship Game in
Pasadena. We have a lot of work ahead of
us when it comes to gathering content for our sportscasts, so that's why I
can't guarantee that I'll have a blog each day, but it is my goal. It doesn't help that we're 3 hours behind. That means First Coast News at 5 really begins
at 2:00 for us which means that our deadlines come 3 hours earlier.
Thursday was primarily a travel day for us. As you might've seen on Twitter (follow me
@CushCam) or on TV, one of our layovers was in Austin, TX. I've been to this airport once before and I
can remember walking past a sports bar that appears to be owned by Texas
legend, Earl Campbell. This time around,
that's where Chris and I chose to eat lunch.
The food was just average, but I liked all of the sports memorabilia in
honor of "The Tyler Rose."
We had another stop in Phoenix. It was cool to see aerial views of all 3
major sports venues in this area from the airplane. I could see University of Phoenix Stadium (home
of the Cardinals) in the distance from where our play flew overhead, but we
were really close the arena where the Suns play and the baseball stadium where
the D-Backs play. I also saw a few
players from the Michigan State football team in the Phoenix airport. They were trying to get home from Pasadena
while we were trying to get there.
We finally arrived at the John Wayne Airport in
Orange County around 9:00 Eastern. Some
of our luggage didn't arrive with us, and as I type this blog at 1:45 a.m.
Eastern, I still don't have any fresh clothes to wear on Friday nor do I have
the bag of snacks my wife packed for me.
The airline gave me a replacement toiletry kit since I don't have the
ones I packed. I've been told that I
should have the missing luggage by the morning.
Well, now that we're here, I'm really looking
forward to this trip for a lot of reasons.
First and foremost is the great opportunity to cover a big-time sporting
event at a historic venue. While I've
covered my share of big games, this will be the first time that I will have a
lot of time in front of the camera instead of being behind it as I've done so
many times in the past. It was a
different experience packing for this trip because I've never had to bring
blazers and ties on the road before since I've never had as much on-camera responsibility
as I do now. In previous years, I've
been able to get away with a collared shirt, a pair of shorts, and even a ball
cap, but not anymore. I'm known
considered as "talent.'
Being able to attend a game at The Rose Bowl will
allow me to check another item off my bucket list (for more, see the bottom of
this blog). I know this is the final
year of the BCS, but this is the only one of the BCS bowl venues that I've
never attended or covered a game in.
I've been to BCS National Championship Games hosted by the Orange Bowl
twice (FSU vs. Oklahoma in 2000 and UF vs. Oklahoma in 2008). I've been to one Sugar Bowl game (FSU vs.
Georgia in 2002) and I've been to one BCS National Championship Game hosted by
the Fiesta Bowl (UF vs. Ohio State in 2006).
While it was fun to cover two of the Gators football
program's three victories in national championship games, I've never been able
to see Florida State (my alma mater and favorite team as a child) win a
national championship in person. I was
at the old Orange Bowl stadium on New Year's Day in 1994 when FSU beat Nebraska
to win the first national championship in program history, but my dad and I
were not able to find tickets to the game outside the stadium, so we listened
to the game on the radio while sitting in a parked car while my uncle and cousin
were inside the stadium.
When Florida State lost in the 1996 and 1998
championship games to Florida and Tennessee respectively, I was in high school
at that time, so I watched both games on TV.
The Seminoles' national championship in 1999 against Virginia Tech came
during my freshman year in college. I
thought about going to the game, but I wasn't sure if I could get a ticket, and
I didn't realize that New Orleans was only a 5 hour drive from
Tallahassee. I regretted not going after
seeing what a great game the Seminoles and Hokies played. I did however get to partake in some
impromptu victory celebrations on Tennessee Street in Tallahassee that night
after watching the game in my dorm room.
When FSU played Oklahoma the next year for the
national championship in Miami, I had learned my lesson from the year before,
so I was lucky enough to buy a ticket for a seat in the upper deck for $100. It turned out to be an awful game. FSU's offense couldn't get anything
going. Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke
had an off night. His star wide receiver
Snoop Minnis was ineligible to play in the game because of academics. Most of the other receivers including the
great Anquan Boldin had trouble catching the ball in this game. The only dependable receiver on that night if
I remember correctly was Jacksonville's own Atrews Bell. Rumor has it that Mark Richt, in his final
game as FSU's offensive coordinator, spent too much time preparing for his next
job as the new head coach at Georgia instead of preparing a quality game plan
for current job at the time with the Noles.
Anyway, it's been a long 13 years since FSU last
played for a chance to win a national championship. This will be an opportunity of a lifetime to
be in California covering the events leading up to the game and then the game
itself. Like I said, it was a fun
experience covering the Gators teams with Chris Leak, Percy Harvin, and Tim Tebow,
but I think my expertise that comes from following FSU football closely since I
was 6 years old will come in handy during this trip. It just so happens that the first Seminoles
season that I can remember is 1987, the first of the so called "dynasty years"
in which FSU finished in the top 5 for 14 consecutive seasons. Who knows, maybe this year will be the
beginning of a new dynasty?
Pro Football Hall of Fame: My wife took
me there for my 30th birthday. Great present, huh?
- Wrigley Field: I planned a trip to
Chicago for my wife's birthday one year.
She my girlfriend at the time, but I managed sneak a Cubs game into the
itinerary. The actual purpose of the trip was to propose to her, but my plan
wasn't coming together, so I ended up doing it at a Jaguars game before we went
to Chicago. It turns out that proposing
at the Jaguars game was better than anything I could've dreamed of doing for a
proposal in Chicago.
- Fenway Park: I went to a game there
with my mom when I was in 6th grade. That was more than 20 years
ago, so I need to make another trip to Beantown.
- Yankee Stadium: I went to a couple
games at the old stadium and have been to one at the new stadium.
- AT&T Park in San Franciso: My
parents were nice enough to take me there about 10 years ago when we visited
California for my great uncle's 75th birthday. Somehow, my brother and I scored front row
seats in left field which happened to be where Barry Bonds was playing all
night. We saw him hit career home run
number 685, and I think it splashed into McCovey Cove.
- AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX:
I've only seen the new home of the Cowboys from the outside, so does
- Olympics: My uncle always treated me
like I was one of his kids, so he took me on a road trip to Atlanta in '96 with
his family. We attended the gold medal
game for womens basketball in which USA defeated Brazil.
- Rose Bowl: I'll be able to check this
off the list in the next few days.
- Notre Dame: Maybe I'll get there some
- Lambeau Field: See the description for
- Clemson's version of Death Valley: Looks like a fun place to watch a game, but
I've never been.
- Kyle Field at Texas A&M: See
description of Clemson. Would've been
fun to see Johnny Football play in person for the Aggies, but maybe we'll have
the chance to see him play for the Jaguars?
- Cameron Indoor Stadium: I would love
to see the Cameron Crazies in person.
- Sports Authority Field at Mile High: I
would imagine it's cool to see a game at that elevation.
- Century Link Field (I think that's what the
Seahawks stadium is called): It's
supposed to be the loudest stadium in the NFL, so why not check it out in
person to hear the noise for myself?
- Augusta National: The place is
immaculate from what I hear.
- Kentucky Derby: I'm not really into
horse racing. I'll watch the race in
most years, but it seems like quite the event to go to.
First Coast News