Observations: TicketCity Bowl
It seems like every time I take the football observations post assignment instead of John Tecce, Penn State ends up getting thrashed. Maybe I should take that as a sign. Regardless, let’s get right into it from Dallas, Texas.
- This was my first time in Dallas, and I wasn’t impressed. I much prefer a cozy Big Ten town with distinct features and traditions to a large city when it comes to experiencing a college sporting event. “Everything is bigger in Texas”, as the saying goes, and everything in Dallas was so spread out that almost nothing was within walking distance. I’m probably just bitter for having to spend more money on taxis than my hotel room. Touring Dealey Plaza, where JFK was assassinated, and celebrating New Years with a large contingent of Penn State fans at the team hotel were the highlights of the trip for me.
- The Cotton Bowl was nothing special. Even with the recent remodeling, the stadium is still very old and unimpressive. I tried to appreciate the history of the facility, but everything about the place is generic.
- The Westboro Baptist Church nutjobs were out in full-force with their disparaging signs. They made some custom ones for Penn State and Joe Paterno that aren’t really worth mentioning, but they were there. They seemed to put the loudest and most obnoxious wacko with the JoePa sign, unfortunately.
- The Blue Band was awesome as usual, but I don’t understand why they were only allowed to play one verse of the Alma Mater before the game while Houston played their entire song. They ended up playing the song in its entirety after the game, but it still didn’t seem fair to me. Dean DeVore, aka “The Voice of Beaver Stadium,” also made the trip, so it was good to hear that familiar voice introducing the Blue Band.
- Houston’s marching band was impressive during the game. When Houston lined up to kick-off (which was unfortunately often), they would have the drum line playing but also create a sound like the whistle of a locomotive. It was very intimidating and lasted up until the point the kicker made contact with the ball.
- As many people expected, Case Keenum made our defense look like he was playing a video game and put up record numbers. I sat there in the half empty stadium with the same depressed facial expression for three and a half quarters.
- The Cotton Bowl Stadium sold alcohol. They must’ve known Rob Bolden was starting.
- Regardless of your opinion of the head coaching search, Tom Bradley carried himself with class the entire trip. Throughout the week at the players hotel, he passed through the lobby dozens of times a day just to shake hands with Penn State fans and thank them for coming. He was truly appreciative of the fans who made the trip. It couldn’t have been a fun two months for him, but he never let it get to him publicly, and no matter what happens I’ll always be grateful to Coach Bradley for that.
- I froze my butt off. The TicketCity Bowl $99 for four tickets, four sodas, and four hot dogs special put me in the shade. Never did I think that I’d be dying for my winter coat in Texas.
- It was about two to one Houston to Penn State fans, but everyone was very respectful. Aside from a few people wearing “State Penn” t-shirts, pedo bear, and a drunk girl stumbling out of the elevator on New Years, no one had anything bad to say about Penn State.
- I’ve never been more excited for a Penn State football season to be over. Usually, I need to be pried out of the stadium after the last game, but I was ready to go this time. It’s hard to be upset with nine wins after everything that has happened, but another win or two down the stretch would’ve gone a long way for this special team.