Rankings

BEST GAMES TALENT WORST AIRPORT MOST EXPENSIVE TRIP
LOUDEST STADIUM MEALS BEST AIRLINE LEAST EXPENSIVE TRIP
BEST LOOKING / MOST IMPRESSIVE STADIUM CITY / TOWN WORST AIRLINE
IN STADIUM EXPERIENCE MOST MEMORABLE CITY EVENT BEST HOTEL
TAILGATING MOST MEMORABLE TRIP MOMENT WORST HOTEL
OVERALL FOOTBALL EXPERIENCE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE BEST OVERALL TRIP
COLLEGE / UNIVERSITY BEST AIRPORT SCHOOLS WOULD VISIT AGAIN


Please note that all things associated with the Florida Gators are not eligible for Jarrett’s rankings due to his natural bias.








BEST GAMES

Jarrett

1. Florida State 16 @ Georgia Tech 22 (10/24/2015) – At no point during this game did I think GT was even in the game. But this became the top game of the quest on the last play. In a tie game, FSU lined up for a 56 yard field goal for the win. GT blocked the kick and returned the block 78 yards for a game winning TD. Great ending and an FSU loss has this the #1 game.

2. Mississippi 7 @ LSU 10 (10/25/2014) – Not exactly a clean game on offense, this game was dominated by the defenses and offensive mistakes. Given the very high stakes of this game for previously undefeated Ole Miss, this game had tons of drama. Ole Miss was in position to send the game to OT, but a delay of game and time out forced Coach Freeze to put his offense back on the field. Bo Wallace would then throw an INT on the LSU 2 yard line with two seconds left. The roar in Tiger Stadium let you know the game was over.

3. Ohio State 20 @ Iowa 17 (11/20/2010)– A back and forth affair in which Iowa led 17-10. Ohio St. scores the last 10 points in 7 minutes to pull victory from the jaws of defeat. It was a tremendous environment throughout but especially in the 4Q, but you could just tell that the crowd felt impending doom for the beloved Hawkeyes.

4. Central Michigan 33 @ Northern Illinois 30 (11/12/2008) – This would have been an instant classic if the teams were brand names. CMU jumps out to a 30-6 lead, only to have NIU come back to force OT. With all the momentum, NIU throws an INT on their first OT possession. CMU then kicks a field goal to win it.

5. Oregon 49 @ California 52 (10/21/2016) – This game was more about poor defense than excellent offense, but Oregon comes back from multiple three score deficits to force overtime. Cal wins in double overtime by picking off Oregon to end the game after 203 plays run, with no turnovers until the very last play.

Al

1. the OleMiss @ LSU Game – classic SEC battle with post season implementation on the line. Very close game, stadium standing through out. Game winning score in the 4thQ and game ending play a very exciting, and controversial play call. My ears are still ringing from the fan noise!

2. Florida State @ Georgia Tech – the “Blocked Field Goal” game will forever go down as one of the greats. FSU was undefeated and looking at a trip to the Playoff and GT was just looking. Somehow, someway, GT hung around long enough to block what would have been a game winning, season saving FG for FSU, and return it for a TD. Absolute pandemonium ensued!

3. Louisiana-Lafayette 23 @ Western Kentucky 42 (10/22/2011) – the “Bobby Rainey” game. This was a different kind of “great game” WKU hadn’t won at home since the stone age. Bobby Rainey carried the team on his back for over 200 yards rushing, plenty receiving, and a few touchdowns, in a complete dominating performance over the league leader, and then we were able to storm the field with the 2000 or so fans who actually entered the stadium.

4. Ohio State 20 @ Iowa 17 (11/20/2010) – the “Fly Over” game. This was a great game, start to finish with lots of big plays, and big misses. Unfortunately with a minute left in the game, Iowa game up a 4th and 10, and all the emotion that had been building went out like a balloon had popped. Great big game match up lived up to the hype.

5. UCF 31 @ ECU 38 (11/19/2011) – the “Troy Dreyfus” game. This was a crazy back and forth game for 2 teams that needed to get on the right track. For a smaller stadium, it was electric! Each of the last 4 plays UCF ran were OMG plays.





LOUDEST STADIUM

Jarrett

1. Tiger Stadium (LSU)– No question, hands down the loudest stadium we have been in. The newly expanded end zone is a wall of sound. Good luck hearing anything on third down. 102k can really make quite the ruckus.

2. Kinnick Stadium (Iowa)– When they pump in the AC/DC classic Back in Black for the team entrance and on third downs, you have no chance to hear the person next to you. This stadium really holds the noise and is most likely due to the crowd being packed in like sardines.

3. Beaver Stadium (Penn State)– It may simply be numbers but with 107,000 on hand, it is tough to get much louder.

4. Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium (Louisville) – Pound for pound it may be the loudest stadium anywhere, but with 50,000 it can only climb as high as #4. If this was a larger stadium it would probably be #1. I was very impressed.

5. Memorial Stadium (Nebraska) – Great football environment and being down on the field certainly helped us to get a feeling for just how loud it can get here. This is probably the most consistent in terms of noise from kickoff to final gun.

Al

1. Tiger Stadium LSU – hard to compare field level sound with 100k+ screaming fans within these stadium walls to any stadium, or anywhere else I’ve ever been from a decibel level.

2. Papa Johns Louisville – by far the loudest stadium comparably to number of seats available. I argue the sound was as loud as a 90k+ stadium. The glass in the press box was pulsing and you couldn’t hear yourself think standing outside at the 50 yard line. Intense!!

3. Beaver Penn State – it’s hard for 104k people in one place to be quiet, and clearly the fans here don’t know how to be quiet! From the time we began filling the stadium, the noise level was at a height that I had not witnessed in any stadium to that date.

4. Jones AT&T Texas Tech – this is a group of fans that clearly save their energy for inside their stadium, almost making you feel like that have you locked in with nowhere to run. Another 50k seat type stadium that has comparable noise levels to the 100k stadiums. When “Jump Around” plays at the end of the 3rd quarter, it is hard not to stand, yell, and jump!!

5. Kinnick Iowa – tightly squeezed into this stadium, you have to talk over the person next to you. The volume never shuts off, especially since they have the “best song choices” inside the stadium to get the fans riled up!


BEST LOOKING / MOST IMPRESSIVE STADIUM

Jarrett

1. Stanford Stadium (Stanford)– I have no idea how to describe this stadium. It is built in such a way that the outside of the stadium is mostly obscured by the surrounding nature. Tunnels lead you through the landscaping into the lower bowl and steps along the landscape lead to the upper bowl. The inside concourses are built around tree lined walkways. The seating area is average, but the way it is built incorporating the landscape and trees both inside and outside makes this the best looking stadium.

2. Tiger Stadium (LSU) – The truly impressive part of Tiger Stadium is once you step inside. Standing in this place when empty is intimidating. Add in 102k and the wow factor grows exponentially. Good luck scoring into the newly expanded end zone with the game on the line. Just ask Ole Miss. The new end zone is simply a wall of people.

3. Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium (Texas)– A very impressive physical stadium both inside and out. This is a big time college football stadium. We sat in the new end zone, so our experience might be slightly skewed. The outside was under construction but it was a very nice appearance. Inside facilities were very nice with lots of variety in food options, open and wide mezzanine landing areas and comfortable seating.

4. Jones AT&T Stadium (Texas Tech)– Awesome Spanish Renaissance architecture on the outside catapults this stadium near the top. The inside is not nearly as impressive as the outside or as physically imposing as others. The press box is an overwhelming sight and quite impressive. The great outside carries it to #3.

5. Memorial Stadium (Nebraska) – Great looking stadium on the outside and an incredibly imposing stadium on the inside. It just looks like a solid wall of people. I am amazed at how many people they can fit into the end zones.

Al

1. Tiger Stadium – it is everything you’d dream a stadium to look like inside and out. Everything you’ve heard about this being “the most intimidating” place to play; multiply it by 100.

2. Texas Tech – was bar far the easiest on the eyes in terms of a design and what I envision a stadium to look like. Although not the largest, it gave the appearance of being much larger than it appeared and it was built in a very smart way to trap the noise inside the stadium much better than some other stadiums. Whoever designed the press box “building” did an amazing job.

3. Ohio State– this is a stadium that you see from certain views all the time on tv and you wonder if it really looks that good, and then after seeing it in person not only does it look that cool from the TV angles, but it looks pretty awesome all around. Reminds me of Caesar and Ancient Rome is some ways. They should show more of it.

4. Maryland – if I was going to build an 80k-100k seat stadium, this model stadium is one I would consider to build. The sidelines were very high and steep, but only one end zone is enclosed with seats. The entrance is quite grand, a single funnel of people thru the end zone into the stadium. The other end zone is enclosed with a modern athletic building. Maryland is a very pretty, old school looking campus, and the stadium only enhances it.

5. Nebraska – this is a beautiful facility that was well thought out for all aspects of the football experience; players, visitors, press and media. Fully enclosed, very high sidelines that seem to stretch into the sky, and the exterior architecture has been maintained even throughout the different expansions that it has gone through


IN STADIUM EXPERIENCE

Jarrett

1.Vaught-Hemingway Stadium (Mississippi)– There are no words in the English language to convey our gratitude towards the Ole Miss folks who provided us with a fantastic experience. I will simply say that we saw this game from some very unique vantage points and I will just leave it at that.

2. Tiger Stadium (LSU)– LSU took very good care of us on this trip including being able to see this game from down low and up high. We were even able to catch up with our old friends from Ole Miss. Great way to see a game.

3. Memorial Stadium (Nebraska)– Being able to watch pre game from the field was a great experience that will be tough to duplicate.

4. Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium (Louisville)– It was tremendous being able to watch this game from the press box with access to the photographer’s deck just outside the press box to get a true feeling of the crowd. It was also a nice stadium to just walk around in.

5. Blaik Field @ Michie Stadium (Army) – This ranking is entirely due to just the overall atmosphere of being at an Army football game.

Al

1. Ole Miss – Vaught-Hemingway – Probably go down as the greatest in-stadium experience I will have. Huge thanks to Ross Bjork and the Athletic Department for going above and beyond in providing us a guided tour to see every inch of the stadium and (and all AD facilities), and of course, for being able to see the game from literally anywhere inside the walls of the stadium. When you go from standing in the tunnel during pregame, to standing on 50 yard line, to under the goal posts, to the AD’s private luxury viewing box, can you ever get better than that? No.

2. Tiger Stadium – LSU – LSU is everything positive you have heard and more. Unbelievable experience. Read the trip report. Jason you’re the best!

3. Louisville – Papa John’s – This was easily pound for pound the loudest, rocking stadium, we have been in. The photographers area outside the press box, was the perfect viewing point to take in a this game. I loved that they offered true hard liquor drinks at the same concession stands you could buy sour patch kids.

4. UCF – Bright House – We had a cool tour and got to see some of the facilities which were very nice. We made it on to the field for warm-ups and pregame introduction and stuck around through the first quarter under the goalposts, before retreating to the stands with some great old friends. The stadium bounces when the fans get riled up!

5. Texas – Darrell K. Royal – From the minute you walked up to, and inside, it felt like big time football. It was loud, it was full, it was big, and there were lots of cheerleaders. Seats were comfy, good food, and lots of boots!


TAILGATING

Jarrett

1.University of Mississippi– From the people milling about saving their spot, to the 9pm Friday night when the floodgates open, to the less than an hour for The Grove to be transformed from a student quad area to tent city, to the wonderful southern hospitality, to the fancy floral centerpieces, to the tent décor including chandeliers, to the wonderful attire worn by the coeds, The Grove is everything that you have heard about it and more. This is tailgating to the extreme and the Rebel faithful do it right in every possible way.

2. Pennsylvania State University– Part of this is on us as renting an RV made this a special experience. But the tailgating and large open fields of tailgating as far as the eye could see made this the perfect tailgating event. Plus we had our own supplies.

3. Louisiana State University– LSU was tough to place on this list. The unique Bayou food certainly elevates the ranking as does the volume. Plus ESPN Gameday ensured that people arrived early. LSU does not have the unique tailgating environment of Ole Miss or the unique nature of our trip to PSU. The hospitality is second only to Ole Miss, barely. Southern hospitality is definitely a thing.

4. East Carolina University– Surprised? I am too. But the tailgating at ECU can rival almost anywhere. And they show up very early. ECU barely places behind LSU.

5. University of Iowa – A great tailgate scene. Miles of people just hanging out having fun. From Big Ass Turkey Legs to side alleys that lead to random tailgates, it was a remarkable scene.

Al

1. Ole Miss – The Grove; because it is everything you read or heard about from true fanatical Saturday football fans, times 100. And it’s not just Saturday; the organized mass chaos that goes on Friday night leading up to game day is an amazing spectacle to participate in as well. Read the trip report!

2. Penn State – bias because we spent a few days in the RV lot with not hundreds, but thousands of people who were grilling, drinking, tossing footballs, etc. They were there early, they were there in huge quantities, and they were in no rush to leave post game either. It was exactly what you’d expect from big time football tailgating for a stadium that holds over 100k people.

3. Iowa – very similar to how PSU was without us sleeping in the RV lots, although I am convinced we would have been welcome to stay in any number of booster multi-million dollar mobile homes. Very friendly, welcoming, and open to us joining in, drinking their alcohol and eating their bbq.

4. Western Michigan – we had a leg up with this one as we were lucky enough to have an invite to tailgate with the mayor of the town!! Well not really, but he could have been. I was well fed, and well boozed, and i would go back in a second.

5. East Carolina – large, early turnout for a game that was seemingly meaningless to both schools. Local school grounds volunteered to be the staging grounds for tailgaters all day and night. Lots of ball tossing at this tailgate, lots of families, kids, plenty of drinks and food. We were fortunate enough to be hosted by Pirate Radio pre-game and during the game, in probably one of the larger, well established tailgates at the stadium. Much thanks to Troy for hosting us, and explaining the “true” benefits of being in the media. Your gig is good, but so is ours!


OVERALL FOOTBALL EXPERIENCE

Jarrett

1. University of Mississippi– The combination of great tailgating, great scenery, an SEC environment, and amazing hospitality sets Ole Miss as the absolute highest bar in football experiences.

2. Louisiana State University– Where to start; great hospitality, awesome game, excellent tailgating, insightful tour. I could go on and on.

3. Pennsylvania State University– I am not sure that renting the RV to Penn St. will ever be topped. Great football environment combined with a great RV experience makes this a very difficult experience to top.

4. University of Nebraska– A great game combined with a great tailgate and being on the field for pre game make this my overall #3 experience.

5. University of Iowa – Another great game, great tailgate combination.

Al

1. Ole Miss – Ole Miss has been all over the rankings pages, it’s not fair to keep repeating. Read the trip report! Hard to get better than this.

1. LSU was very comparable to our Ole Miss trip in all aspects; tour, hospitality, tailgate, game, post game, it’s tied for #1 and quite distanced from #3….will be there again. Hard to say “it doesn’t get better than this” here

3. Penn State – this one will be tough to gauge until there is another trip via overnight lot, until then the experience is by far one of the best I have had all around. Not too many schools have tailgates that go on for what seems like miles and miles. I’ll definitely go back.

4. Nebraska – this was real, big-time, football. Everything about this trip was 5 stars; the stadium, the treatment, the school, the fans, the game, the tailgating with the one and only Brett Baker, the food and the pep band throughout the restaurants. Awesome!

5. Kent State – great trip from the second it was on our schedule. School tour with future AD/superstar host Kaitlyn, a very unique golf experience with an ex footballer, game seats on the field, and an invite to the Presidents Suite for the second half. Tons of history at this school; American history, sports history, look it up.


COLLEGE / UNIVERSITY

Jarrett

1. Stanford University– This is the most beautiful school I have seen, both on and off the quest. This is exactly what a University looks like when you close your eyes and picture college. Pictures can’t do justice to the beauty of this campus. The weather certainly does not hurt.

2. United States Military Academy at West Point (Army)– A picture perfect campus with immaculate grounds located right on the water. Army is a truly wonderful place to walk around on a fall day and an absolutely a beautiful campus.

3. Rice University– Even in the pouring rain, this was an absolutely gorgeous campus.

4. Western Kentucky University– A very picturesque campus with lots of hills. Very pretty but tough to walk.

5. Wake Forest University – A beautiful campus with two large quads. The campus itself is not very large, but absolutely beautiful. Exactly what you picture when you think tree lined campus in North Carolina.

Al

1. Army – by far, the campus is sprawled out on the side of a mountain, overlooking the Hudson River. All the stories about how gorgeous it is, is entirely true.

2. Western Kentucky – Western as it is known, was a very picturesque campus built directly on a hillside. The design of the buildings was not bland as other schools we have seen, and the art or architecture on the campus was well thought out. Nice place!

3. Vanderbilt – the overall feel of the campus was what I’d expect to see at a nice, northeast style campus. Magnolia and Alumni Lawn were good use of space, where I could see myself lounging hours away during the day or even tailgating if Vandyville ever expanded.

4. Boston College – I guess I am bias towards the smaller campuses built onto hills? This has an old school feel to it, and rightfully so. A student body ratio of 22 women to every 1 male; it probably should rank higher.

5. Maryland – This is a great campus, that looks like what a college campus should look like. Buildings have “real” names, you can walk from one “area” of the campus to another “area”. “Feels like college”. St Elmo’s Fire!


TALENT

Jarrett

This will only be a list because the less said in this section the better for all of us.

1. University of Mississippi

2. Miami (Oh) University

3. Central Michigan University

4. Louisiana State University

5. University of Central Florida

Al

1. Ole Miss – Here is University that has probably one of the best reputations in this category, ever. Try to beat it.

2. Texas – hands down, end of discussion, a top pick here forever! 80% of the pictures from this campus were of women and their boots. Other 20% were cannons.

3. Western Kentucky – just a whole lot of really cute girls who actually were dressed very well (bonus). Cute is really the correct word here.

4. UCF – I was very quickly reminded why I needed to transfer out of UCF as quickly as possible, and head back to NYC. The talent is so damn friendly on this campus!! Where else can you walk around every day and get “free hugs”?

5. Central Michigan – what a pleasant surprise! It’s like all the “Al Rules” converged on one campus.


MEALS

Jarrett

1. Burrito Brothers (University of Florida)– My only exception to the no Florida on the rankings rule is with respect to food as my stomach knows no allegiances. This is far and away the best burritos I have ever had anywhere. This was a staple during my years in Gainesville and continues to shine year in and year out. No trip is made to Gainesville without at least three meals here.

2. Cagle Steaks (Lubbock, Tx)– Best steak other than Peter Lugar’s. The sides are nothing special, but the steaks are awesome. I am still ordering steaks to my home in NY from here.

3. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que (Syracuse) – We had to take it back to the hotel because it was a 90 minute wait so it may have even been better. This place has awesome ribs spiced to perfection and great sides. The Mac and Cheese had some heat as did the bbq beans, but it was not overpowering and added a great dimension. I am going to be craving this place.

4. Big Bad Breakfast (University of Mississippi)– A breakfast skillet that was absolutely amazing. This is a must stop in Oxford, MS.

5. Cochon Butcher (LSU) – This place is actually in New Orleans and is a great sandwich place. Even better than the sandwiches are the side dishes. I have never had better Brussels sprouts, yes, Brussels sprouts (sorry Randy). And the mac and cheese was awesome too. It was so good, we actually went back on the way to the airport leaving NOLA.

Al

1. Cagle Steak House Texas Tech – Any answer other Cagle Steak House in Lubbock Texas as the best meal is just wrong!

2. The Big Brown Louisville – the Big Brown at the Brown Hotel, although a huge tourist trap, was awesome. I would eat there every time I pass thru Louisville moving forward. One of the few meals I licked the plate.

3. Dish Bar and Grill University of Connecticut – Dish Bar and Grill in Hartford was superb. The fact I remembered the name without looking back and my notes speaks volumes.

4. Big Bad Breakfast Ole Miss – BBB had the best breakfast ever. Lord have mercy! Big Bad Breakfast skillet. OMG.

5 – The Cochon Butcher LSU New Orleans LSU trip. We went out of our way to go back for a second helping….enough said.


CITY / TOWN

Jarrett

1. Iowa City, IA– Great off campus environment. Lots of places to walk around, eat, and have a drink.

2. Oxford, MS – A picturesque southern town centered around a town square with the courthouse in the middle. Lots of shops and restaurants line the square and surrounding streets. Exactly what you picture from literature of a southern town square.

3. Orlando, FL (Central Florida)– Having access to all things Disney plus the rest of Orlando is a huge plus (or minus). Good food and amusement parks all close by. How do you not flunk out of this school?

4. Oxford, OH – Oxford is a true small college town. Lots of tree lined streets with quaint little stores and restaurants. A nice place to walk around, and the scenery doesn’t hurt.

5. Ann Arbor, MI – Ann Arbor makes the list due to a charming downtown area that is completely walkable, only a short distance from campus, and features lots of local places and very few national chains. We only got to sample a few but it looked like there were some really nice local restaurants and a very active nightlife.

Please note that I do not view Boston College as being in Boston for purposes of this ranking. BC was evaluated based entirely on the immediate surrounding area.

Al

1. Oxford, MS– the University and the people in and around the University really made a strong case, but The Square put this town over the top. Could live here, easily.

2. Lincoln, Nebraska – pleasantly surprised with the layout of the campus and the city, with its very specific areas…from the Marketplace for us older employed people who can afford real meals, to the main avenues loaded with food, drink, things to do options, the capital plaza being right in the center and so accessible, and the campus actually feeling like a big time campus spread out and laid out as you’d expect.

3. Miami, OH – always love a town where you can get lost on streets that all run north/south or east/west. Lots of trees……today I am a fan of trees I guess.


MOST MEMORABLE CITY EVENT

Jarrett

1.College Football Hall of Fame (Atlanta)– A wall of over 800 helmets and interactive exhibits make this a must for all college football fans…a college football fans dream.

2.Orlando Grand Prix– Two 12 lap races in go karts that go 50 mph. My arms still hurt.

3. Delaware Park– We went to Delaware Park Racino and I only lost $10. This is a record for me. Enough said!

4. Austin Capitol Building– Truly wonderful grounds and an immaculately maintained building. We took the Capitol tour and I found it very interesting. What can I say, I like this kind of stuff.

5. Lincoln Capitol Building – Not as nice as the Texas State Capitol building but equally interesting. Did you know that Nebraska is the only state with a unicameral legislature? Nebraska has some ideas of government that the rest of the country could learn from.

6. World’s Largest Truck Stop – It was not the truck stop itself, but Al’s attempt to eat mystery meat from a buffet at a truck stop that was so memorable. I did think the World’s largest truck stop would be bigger.

Al

1. World’s Largest Truck Stop on the way to University of Iowa – are you kidding me? I was so excited reading the signs as we approached but was so let down by the lack of size. However, the memorable part is the buffet…..which has left a permanent hole in my stomach, but etching into my brain to never eat at buffet ever again, anywhere. Ever. Ever. Ever.

2. Niagara Falls – I have to say that was pretty impressive, and the fact people go over that in a barrel…well they are just stupid. BTW, if you ever go to the Falls, there is ZERO reason to stay on the American side and all the reason to cross over to Canada and stay there.

3. Texas State Capital – this building, property was built for a war. I don’t care who you ask. If there ever is WWIII I am going to the Texas State Capital to hide. There were lots of cannons here, and the tour guide let us sit in the chairs in the chambers!

4. Parking in Eugene, OR– where else can you just be driving down a one way street and park right in the middle of it?? Also First National Tap House; best bar concept ever!


MOST MEMORABLE TRIP MOMENT

Jarrett

1. College Hockey Game @ Miami (Oh)– Absolutely the most awesome non football event of the Quest. This probably has #1 locked up for the next 35 years. We are going to have to seek out more college hockey games.

2. Notre Dame Locker Room & Misc.– Watching our kids run down the steps and hit the “Play Like A Champion Today” sign in the ND locker room is just an incredible moment. The sign is iconic. I know it is a bit hokey, but to a blue blood college football fan, it is just one of those things that you remember from your childhood, watching the ND players run onto the field after slapping the sign. Also, sitting in on a coaches session and Q&A with the AD Jack Swarbrick was truly enjoyable.

3. Ole Miss Tour & Game– We received an amazing tour of the Ole Miss athletic facilities and were able to watch this game from some very unique places.

4. LSU Tour & Game– The entire experience at LSU was great but we received an amazing tour of the LSU athletic facilities and were able to watch this game from some interesting places.

5. Flyover at the Iowa Game– Anytime a pilot gets suspended for going too fast and too low, it must be fantastic.

Al

1. Miami Ohio Redhawks hockey – “it’s all your fault, it’s all your fault, it’s all your fault!!” Enough said but in case, search on YouTube for Miami Redhawks goalie chant and turn the volume way up!!

2. University of Maryland “bridge” – first of all it took until this trip to find out Jarrett has a fear of enclosed, overcrowded spaces. So when exiting the tailgate lots, they all funnel over a small single file bridge, that clears a 10 foot wide creek. This was a two-fer; Jarrett having the cross the bridge with 1000’s of people (and later enter the stadium thru a single door), and the few drunk idiots who thought they could jump across a 10ft wide creek at 30 degrees. Big smile.

3. Army – I truly enjoyed the “shortcut” I found at West Point from the stadium to where we parked the cars….running down very steep terrain thru the private cadets area, past their dorms???? I think we could have fallen and rolled off the cliff…

4. Iowa – the flyover at Iowa still gives me chills thinking about how close they were to us at the top of the stadium.

5. Penn State – 2 things. Our first TV interview….and then second, when I stepped out of the driver’s seat of the Winnie when we were returning it.


SHOPPING EXPERIENCE

Jarrett

I decline to do rankings in this category on principal. I will leave it to Al to do the rankings here. My wife gets cash upfront.

Al

1. Zappo’s – hands down the best, most reliable way to kiss my wife’s a** with gifts from my trips

2. UCF Bookstore absolutely destroyed the store at UCF for some $350 worth of crap. But all in all, the woman at the register was one of the nicest we’ve encountered on the Quest.

3. Starbucks free plug for the most addicting expense of the Quest. I don’t even drink coffee yet I’m in there 3 times per trip. Iced Grande Chai…..


BEST AIRPORT

Jarrett

1. Islip (MacArthur) – You have to love an aiport that only serves one airline and has only 5 flights. It makes in and out very easy. Parking is very close and much cheaper than LGA or JFK. Not cheap, just cheaper. And don’t forget the Suffolk County Sports Hall of Fame.

2. Minneapolis– Very easy change of planes and it seems like one of the better airports to be delayed at.

3. Detroit – Surprised? I was too. For a larger type airport, the Delta terminal was quite nice. Security was fast, good food options, not very crowded and an intra terminal shuttle. Only downside is you need a shuttle to the rental car area.

4. Akron-Canton – Security took less than one minute and there were 3 spokes for 10 gates. Food choices could have been better but it was tough to beat the CAK games (escalator races and will she or won’t she).

5. Gerald R. Ford International Airport (Grand Rapids) – I had to go through security twice and no line either time. Yes it was early, but so what. Rental car return was very close. They could have better food/drink options.

Al

1. Lubbock – just on principal that it has the balls to think it is an international airport because they have flights that connect thru Dallas. Hard to go wrong with a one terminal building though

2. JFK – only the JetBlue terminal…….it is probably the nicest terminal in the country. With the recent addition of Starbucks, they now have everything you could need.

3. Minneapolis – I could live there, and I may have to someday.


WORST AIRPORT

Jarrett

1. LaGuardia – Central Terminal– This is the worst terminal at the worst airport. This spot can be etched in stone.

2. Chicago O’Hare– A maze and if you have to change terminals, good luck.

3. JFK – Terminal 7– Why is USAirways in the same terminal as Qantas, Icelandair, Iberia, Cathay Pacific, British Airways, and ANA? Lots of large planes, international travelers and a small terminal makes for a very uncomfortable flight experience. USAirways needs a new home at JFK.

4. Chicago Midway– I thought we were doing the right thing going to Midway as opposed to O’Hare. Security line not long but PreCheck took 5x as long as regular line. Terminal is just as crowded and cramped as LGA. Chicago has no good options.

5. Raleigh – Not really fair because this is on the TSA, but absolutely awful.

Al

1. LaGuardia – Southwest “area”

2. LaGuardia – every other terminal

3. Nothing else will EVER come close. I’m not sure this is a fair question.


BEST AIRLINE

Jarrett

1. Southwest – I hesitate to put them here given past experiences but what they did for me in the Grand Rapids airport went above and beyond, so they get the #1 ranking.

2. JetBlue– My favorite airline in general (Now that JetBlue has PreCheck), because things are just easier and good snacks. But they are getting worse so the door is open.

3. Virgin America– Any airline with live tv on a Sunday during football season makes this list.

4. Delta– Depending on the day, Delta can easily be on this list or the worst airline list.

Al

1. JetBlue is far and away the best airline

2. Delta – I have become a fan of Delta because being an employee of my bank, has granted me some status on the airline which gets me into the Delta Clubs and upgrades for no cost and without question…usually.

3. Virgin 1st Class to Vegas– This so far has nothing to do with any Quest trips, but i can tell you that this is the best domestic flight in the United States of America.


WORST AIRLINE

Jarrett

1. Southwest– Please read to the Nebraska trip report, but all I can say is over an hour delay due to counting issues. Additionally, no PreCheck at LaGuardia.

2. American– Can you buy a new plane please? Our flight actually had ashtrays in the arm rests. Really, it did!

3. Delta– Depending on the day, Delta can easily be on this list or the best airline list.

Al

1. Southwest – only SW would spend millions on brand new planes with amazing technology, and still try to run their processes like before computers existed. No problem telling SW “you suck”

2. American Airlines – the places are refurbs from the 70’s and early 80’s. When the plane still has ashtrays in the seats and bath rooms, it means the planes are not only old, but haven’t been upgraded.


BEST HOTEL

Jarrett

1. Harrah’s New Orlenas – A nice large room, spacious bathroom, and a good view of the river. But most importantly and most expensive, the casino.

2. Hilton Niagara Falls– We paid a lot for the last minute purchase, but it was a nice room with a great view. We don’t normally go this high end.

3. DoubleTree by Hilton Syracuse – A step up from where we usually stay, but when the kids come along an indoor pool is a must. Plus, free cookies (Not free…included)!

4. Best Western (Coralville, Ia) – Normally you would not find a Best Western on this list, but oversized rooms and a great Olde World Medieval theme made it a standout.

5. Hyatt House (Atlanta) – A comfortable suite and an excellent hot breakfast. I just wish they cleaned the room after the first night.

Al

1. Iowa – this was either a medieval themed hotel or a 70’s hotel that wasn’t upgraded. Either way it was pretty cool, definitely different

2. Buffalo – the hotel for Buffalo was at Niagara Falls. It was very high end, had a great view, was attached to a casino, and had good food. Yep, top of the list.

3. Chicago Sheridan – was another nice hotel above our usual poor expectations. Very good location, etc.

4. Harrahs New Orleans – was a little bit too impressive for our normal travel expectations. Toss in a casino that was giving money away….


WORST HOTELS

Jarrett
It should be noted that at some point on the Quest we instituted a rule that all hotel rooms must open into a hallway and not to the outside. This does eliminate a lot of the hotels that would normally show up on this list.

1. Motel 6 (Somewhere in Ct)– You get what you pay for and we paid $45. Never make an impulse stop on the side of I-95 on the way back from a casino at a Motel 6. Consider yourself lucky if you wake up in the morning.

2. Best Western (Boston College)– We went with convenience to school and it was a mistake. This is a very dirty and small motel. It seems like Best Western is a hit and miss brand. We will need to pay close attention when looking to book in the future.

3. Red Roof Inn (Lubbock, Tx) – Again, you get what you pay for, except when they jack up rates on a football weekend and you get very little for a lot. This hotel was not even close to worth the money. But doors did open to the inside.

4. Hyatt Regency (Cincinnati, Oh) – This one is a surprise as Hyatt’s tend to be very nice. List of problems; at midnight it took us over 10 minutes to check in, the kiosks were not functional, hotel was very run down, and lots of elevator problems. The hotel’s business model is to break even on the room and kill you on the parking. We fell for it.

5. Sleep Inn (Baton Rouge, LA)– A small room and a shower that looked like it was placed in the room as an afterthought. It was not as horrible as it looked, but it was still not good. The hotel could have been cleaner.

Al

1. UConn – this was a hotel we found on the side of route 95 driving back form the casino at 3AM because we were falling asleep driving. When I woke up I was fortunate to be alive. What a dump.

2. Boston College Best Western – god awful design to this building, no parking, ridiculously cramped. Terrible. No stars

3. Red Roof Inn in Lubbock – anytime there is an indoor pool in the center lobby that is not enclosed, the chlorine smell reaches, well, everywhere. Disgusting. Also I think the field behind the hotel was a missile silo from the 50’s. Just sayin’


BEST OVERALL TRIP

Jarrett

1. University of Mississippi– The confluence of events at Ole Miss firmly places it as the #1 trip of the quest. Tailgating, talent, hospitality, food, etc. all line up to have made this a truly great experience.

2. Louisiana State University– First, this was the best game of the quest thus far. Second, an extra day in New Orleans is never a bad thing. Third, everything else; tailgating, hospitality, food, etc. Awesome trip!

3. Pennsylvania State University– The RV factor is a one of a kind thing and just experiencing that places this trip as #3. It is tough to beat the tailgating scene especially since we were parked right in the middle of it.

4. University of Notre Dame – An iconic venue and University that lived up to its hype and expectations. That is a rare feat to pull off. The kids coming along, the tradition, and our our unique experience lands this as a top 5 trip.

5. University of Nebraska– Big time football, big time tailgating, nice city, good food. Is there anything missing?

Honorable Mention

East Carolina University – Riding the wave of a great tailgating experience, ECU makes an honorable mention. This is a very underrated venue and is worth a stop if you find yourself in Greenville, NC.

Miami University (Oh) – By having the top non football experience of the quest (college hockey game), a nice town, and great scenery, Miami gets honorable mention.

Al

1. Ole Miss – The best. Period. Quite frankly, they could have been listed in every rankings category here, but then my love affair with Ole Miss would seem too obvious. Will take a lot to knock them off the thrown. Too many good things, too many!!

2. LSU – Very enjoyable 4 days where every aspect of the trip lived up to and beyond expectations.

3. Penn State – lots of days in a Winnebago with thousands of friendly football fans sleeping just feet apart is a recipe for….an AWESOME TIME!! No complaints about this weekend trip. Everything was amazing.

4. WKU – having a camera in your face the entire game was like having paparazzi follow us around like we are the founders of the CollegeFootballQuest…oh wait, we are those guys!! Great time here; from meeting the AD, to getting a full tour of all the facilities, to having several stories written about us, pictures in the paper….the school as a whole made me feel most welcome of anywhere we have been to that point. Loved it!

5. East Carolina – I am sure some of you are shocked to read this. Don’t be. This school put us in the trustworthy hands of one Troy Dreyfus, owner of Pirate Radio….I’m lucky I made it into the stadium….and no I am not complaining!! Very early tailgate scene, tons of people, lots of food and drinks, and a place to sit and hang out for hours before the game and watch other games on the big screen. Perfect way to tailgate! Plus I learned the power of media, websites and my camera at this tailgate. Thanks Troy! Lucky man to enjoy ECU almost every Saturday!


LIST OF SCHOOLS I WOULD VISIT AGAIN

Jarrett

Georgia Tech University
Louisiana State University
Miami (Oh) University
Michigan State Univ. (only if Zack is still there)
Pennsylvania State University
Rice University
Stanford University
Texas Tech University
United States Military Academy at West Point (Army)
United States Naval Academy (Navy)
University of Central Florida
University of Iowa
University of Michigan
University of Mississippi
University of Nebraska
University of Notre Dame
University of Oregon
University of Texas
Wake Forest University
Western Kentucky University

Al
Army
Ole Miss
Texas
UCF
Iowa
LSU

 


MOST EXPENSIVE TRIP

Jarrett

1. Syracuse University– Taking the family to a game is VERY expensive. A family trip with no flight, was easily more expensive than traversing the country on my own. Lots of souvenirs and bye bye 2013 budget!

2. Louisiana State University– It is quite expensive to fly to New Orleans, plus we went for an extra day in New Orleans and ate well overall. Hotels were not that bad nor was the car. Oh wait, $168 in gambling losses.

3. Ohio State University – Many factors at play here, but first and foremost is a ridiculously expensive game ticket. Almost double what we have paid anywhere else. A not cheap flight and an expensive hotel, plus some gambling loses, has this game come in at number 3. Quite frankly, I don’t know how this game was not #1.

4. University of Mississippi– Delta charges a lot to fly to Memphis and hotels are very scarce in Oxford so we rented a condo. These factors plus a Thursday departure made this the fourth most expensive trip of the Quest.

5. University of Oregon– No surprise here. The combination of a cross country flight, a Thursday departure, and having to buy a game ticket, easily have Oregon as one of the most expensive trips.

Note: Notre Dame with an additional plane ticket and misc costs for my son to attend, still did not make the Top 5 most expensive. That just shows how expensive the above trips were. Especially considering that #1 did not even involve a plane ticket.

Al

1. All Of Them – these trips aren’t free you know. No sponsors. Travel from NYC every time. Bucks….

2. Oregon – And not worth it, except for the National Tap House and the company there. Oh, and maybe Pre’s Rock.

3. Ole Miss – We made it more expensive with the # of days, the condo, the eating out each meal, the shopping, the drinking….worth every penny and some.

4. UCF – I was easily a top 5 single day purchaser of all time in the bookstore.

5. LSU – wasnt the most expensive but the added day put it over the top


LEAST EXPENSIVE TRIP

Jarrett

1. United States Military Academy– Not having to pay for a hotel and being an easy drive from our base in Long Island, easily makes this game the least expensive.

2. University of Maryland– Easily in second for least expensive due to a close drive, cheap ticket, and cheap hotel. Plus I had only $10 in gambling losses on this trip.

3. Boston College – Another game within driving distance, a cheap ticket and only one night in a hotel easily has this game as third least expensive.

4. United States Naval Academy – One night in a hotel + driving distance + no game ticket cost = 4th least expensive trip just slightly more than BC. I am sure that this will be the only inexpensive trip of 2016.

5. Western Michigan University – Part of a doubleheader makes this game squeeze into the rankings as the 5th least expensive trip mostly due to a large sharing of airline and hotel costs.

Al

nothing is not expensive, so im on the lookout for sponsors.








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