Game of the Week Game Day Guide

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Welcome to this week’s installment of the Game of the Week Game Day Guide which features the SEC matchup between #7 Florida and #1 Alabama played at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  This is the second edition of the Game of the Week Game Day Guide and will continue each week of the 2010 football season.

The top ranked Alabama Crimson Tide will host the seventh ranked Florida Gators at Bryant-Denny Stadium this Saturday.  These two teams last met on Dec. 5 of 2009 in the SEC Championship game played in Atlanta.  Alabama won that contest which became the springboard to the Crimson Tide’s 2010 National Championship.  The past two seasons, these two teams have only faced each other in the conference championship game with the winner becoming the eventual national champion that season.  With these two teams tabbed as the conference powerhouse programs, all football fans in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Saturday should be in for an exciting game.

Florida and Alabama have played each other 35 times, with only 10 of those games having been played at Bryant-Denny Stadium.  Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. was home to many Alabama football games throughout the program’s history.  When Alabama expanded the capacity of Bryant-Denny Stadium to 83,818 in 1998, it became the permanent stadium for the Crimson Tide.  Bryant-Denny Stadium now holds 101,821 fans after the South End Zone expansion was constructed in summer of 2010.  The record capacity of 101,821 is expected for the third time this Saturday against the Gators.

The game day experience in Tuscaloosa is the quintessential SEC football experience.  From tailgating on the quad, to the Million Dollar Band performing the Elephant Stomp, to the Walk of Champions, game day in “T-Town” offers everything an SEC football fan could want in a football Saturday.  The Quad is a centrally located green space on the UA campus with trees located on one side and an open grass area on the other.  The area becomes the campus’s largest tailgate area on home football Saturdays with tents, tvs, generators and food covering the stretch of land.  To some, staking out the prime tailgate location on the quad is almost as important as the seat location in the stadium.  Almost.

Located on the south side of The Quad is Denny Chimes, one of the most recognizable symbols of the University of Alabama.  The area surrounding the base of Denny Chimes is known as the Walk of Champions where Crimson Tide football team captains have placed their hand and footprints every year since 1949.

Approximately two and a half hours prior to kickoff, a newer fan favorite event known as the Walk of Champions takes place off University Boulevard as the team enters the stadium from the north end of Bryant-Denny.  Fans line the sides of the Walk of Champions for the opportunity to cheer in support of their team and show their Tide pride.  After the team has entered the stadium, fans can head over to the Gorgas Library steps where the Elephant Stomp takes place two hours before kickoff.  The Elephant Stomp is performed by the Million Dollar Band after each band section warms up and meets on the Gorgas Library steps.  They are joined by the cheerleaders and lead fans in cheers then proceed into Bryant-Denny Stadium.

A Tuscaloosa experience is not complete without a visit to Dreamland Bar-B-Que.  Dreamland has been serving ribs and pork since 1958 and boasts awards and headlines from national publications such as Forbes Magazine and USA Today.  After eating Dreamland ribs fans everywhere can agree, “There ain’t nothin’ like em nowhere!”  Fans do not have to go to the original Dreamland to enjoy the barbeque.  Inside Bryant-Denny Stadium, Dreamland barbeque is sold at the concession stand.  Barbeque nachos appear to be the crowd favorite.  To Tide fans, it seems football and barbeque are a winning combination.

Once at the game, cheers of “Roll Tide” are as ubiquitous as the color Crimson.  Fans yell, “Roll Tide” in unison after every first down, however opponents most dread hearing, “Rammer Jammer” which is shouted to the opposing team after a Tide victory.  Having 101,821 fans yell, “We just beat the hell out of you” may not endear Alabama to many opponents, but being one of the most prominent perennial powers in all of college football makes a game day in Tuscaloosa something every college football fan should experience.