One more to go

It’s taken 26 years, but after tomorrow I will have been to games at all of the SEC stadiums except - saving the best for last - Vanderbilt. Been to some multiple times with Tuscaloosa my favorite.

Saw Child’s Please, 2015 win in Baton Rouge, Meadors magic finger tips in Tuscaloosa 1995, and win over #2 Auburn in 2006. Lots of good eats, bourbons & beers , laughs with a group good friends that make most of theses trips, etc. Tennessee 6 OT loss in 2002 was toughest one to stomach.

Been a blast.


It’s cool to see the different environs. All are different. And each trip to the old places can be different.

Sometimes where you least expect it, you meet great people who take you in like family. Then other places, they are rude, snooty or not interested in providing the least bit of help. It can change dramatically from one trip to the same place two years later.

One of the places where they consistently treat you good is South Carolina. Another is Texas A&M. The Aggies are different, but good people. Very different than Texas U.

I have had good experiences at Missouri. I was chased down in the parking garage by a man waving my glove on a bitterly cold night. I thought I got into my truck with it. The man was an usher and he and two fellow ushers were drinking a beer (or two) in the parking garage to celebrate the end of a season. It was too cold to stand outside in a parking garage to drink a beer but he said they always do it to end the season. He had my glove in one hand and a beer in the other. He said, “Here you go young fella.” I was driving back to Arkansas but I took both from him and thanked him.

You get everything at LSU, good and bad. I’ve been invited to tailgates walking through pre-game when they were clear I’m media. And also taunted. But they smile when they taunt you, like we have to do it but we still like you.

Probably seen more drunk students at Alabama and more too short dresses there, too. I figure it’s like that at Ole Miss, too, but the parking garage is a few steps from the press elevator so you are spared most of that.

In my opinion, Tennessee once had the loudest crowd. Not any more. It is rarely full. Loudest is LSU. Next is Florida, and it’s always so humid there. I respect the Florida fans that will pack that place in 90 degree heat and 90 5 humidity. It is brutal there. Alabama is a silk stocking place (without the stockings in the fall), sort of like Rupp Arena. That is my assessment after going to Tuscaloosa 14 times, LSU 14 times and Florida four times. I’ve made eight trips to Knoxville.


In my opinion, Alabama has the best atmosphere.

No doubt, as Richard said, Alabama’s atmosphere is good, but the most intimidating to me is a tie between Florida and LSU. Alabama is a shade behind those two. Alabama’s crowd sits back a lot. It reminds me of Rupp in basketball, a definite silk stocking place. No stockings outdoors in the fall (like in Rupp). But there are a lot of sports coats still worn to games at Alabama.

And I’ve now seen my first Tesla charging stations, at the Holiday Inn in Columbia. They had eight neon-lit electric charging stations out back. There were three Teslas charging. I saw my first Tesla owner (I presume). I would have taken him for a Tesla owner from 100 yards. My pickup truck with the Yakima rack and my fly rod vaults on top was parked nearby. The dude with the Tesla seemed to shake his head in disgust as he walked by my rig with the over sized fuel tank.


I’ve been to several SEC stadiums and the nicest fans IMO is Auburn, saw us win there 2 times and both times their fans said congratulations y’all played very well and deserved to win, South Carolina also is a place I saw us win a couple of times and the fans were very cordial.Bama is the worst even one they were very average,they thought they were the best team in the country arrogant.

To me the best atmosphere is LSU, especially for the night games, or when day games turn to night.

I think the atmospheres at Auburn and Georgia are underrated.

I think the loudest stadium is Mississippi State because of the cowbells. Per spectator, the loudest is War Memorial Stadium for a big game.

Vanderbilt usually feels like a bowl game with about half the stadium for one team and half for the other.

Best press box food: South Carolina’s sweet potato pie.

I’ve only been to games at 3 other SEC stadiums: Ole Miss, MSU, & Alabama. All before their most recent renovations, but after a fairly recent one at Alabama. Thought Vaught-Hemingway & MSU (forget the name) were dumps. WMS better than both. But like I said, before the most recent renovations.

My family went to the Vandy game right after Paul Eells passed. He was also an important character to their history…gave him a bigtime posthumous ovation. Impressed.

It was also the game where frosh Mustain threw a great TD pass to Monk.

Not a great stadium, sorry. But, plenty of parking near the stadium. The people are nice, and they all are smart folk.

I have as well. My son and I parked in an on-campus garage the first time we played there and hadn’t even walked out of the garage before some Misery fans tailgating just outside invited us over.

That’s as opposed to Tuscaloosa, where I had to pull my 6-5, 300-pound son (who has never been in a fight in his life) off an inebriated, mouthy Bama fan to keep him from beating the Bammer to a pulp. Not that the drunken jerk didn’t deserve a bashing but I wasn’t ready to bail the kid out of the county jail. My son will not voluntarily set foot in Alabama again, I drove with him from Charleston SC to Fort Smith a few years later and he insisted that we detour through Chattanooga rather than go I-20 through Birmingham.

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I like Auburn’s stadium as well, and the people have always been the nicest, before, during and after the game…

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aTm are very good folks. Salt of the earth folks as different from UT as any can be. As a group, they are the best in the SEC and probably the country. LSU good folks as well. they love their Tigers, but that is ok. Inside, they are mostly real good folks. I have worked with a lot of people from MSU and enjoyed them all. Use to call on MSU a lot (more at Stoneville really). Enjoyed them. I have nothing for Ole Miss at all. They seem to think they are somehow better than everybody else. They are a very poor representation of the mostly good folks in the state of MS.

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I find what you say true, Jim.

Several of you will remember MalvernHog. He posted something similar in 2004. I saved several of his posts from the old board. (He did make it to the Sugar Bowl and I have the pictures to prove it.) Here is his post:

|Finished; Done; Complete; Finito|
|Edited by: MalvernHog at: 10/4/04 4:02:02 pm|
|My tour of the Southeastern Conference is now complete.

I have attended a Razorback football game in every stadium in the Southeastern Conference, and I have attended the Southeastern Conference Championship Game featuring Arkansas.

I have never been to the Sugar Bowl, so that’s still out there. Ditto Citrus, Peach, and lesser bowls, but the Sugar is the one of “record”.

Favorite: Tennessee. The Best SEC experience out there. If you can only attend one road game ever, Tennessee is it. Whatever you may say about it, Neyland Stadium is one of the most impressive stadiums in College Football; it’s the real deal.

The Tennessee fans are the most knowledgeable football fans in the Southeastern Conference (including ours). From children to old ladies, they know their football. It’s impressive to hear a 30 year old woman, dressed head to toe in orange, toddler on hip (also in orange), spouting YOUR quarterback’s passing stats and asking in-depth questions about your defensive schemes.

The campus is historic, handsome, and sited beautifully on the Tennessee river. The Vol Walk is unsurpassed, as is the Tennessee Navy. The Pride of the Southland is one of the top bands in the nation, not just the SEC. Their pregame show (featuring a very gracious salute to the visiting team) is one of the best in the SEC, and gets their fans pumped up. When Tennessee scores, you cannot hear the 400 piece Pride of the Southland due to excessive noise. They really know how to support their team, silent when their team is on offense, shaking the rafters when their team is on defense; it is deafening when they are really cranked

Their traditions are outstanding. From the sea of orange in the stands to the orange and white fireworks to the orange checkerboard endzones, there’s no doubt at all, “It’s Football Time in Tennessee”.

Tennessee rocks.

Runners-up: Georgia, Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss, in that order. All great campuses. All outstanding representatives of the Southeastern Conference in all its glory. Each has something unique to itself (Georgia=tradition, Auburn=friendliest fans in the SEC next to us, LSU=best food and overall great experience, Ole Miss=The Grove, unbeatable tailgate). Each has an outstandingly beautiul or impressive stadium, loyal fans wearing school colors, beautiful women, and impressive campus. Who couldn’t love the hedges, Uga’s tomb, the current Uga, the War Eagle soaring majestically in, Toomer’s Corner, boudin, crawfish etouffe, the Fighting Tiger Band playing “HOLLLDDD THAT TI-GER!” (and resulting roar), and the sight of 10,000 tents surrounded by antebellum buildings and 100 year old oak trees, with crystal chandeliers, silver that was in the well at Vicksburg, and ladies in high heels and pearls for a football game?

Any of these road trips are WELL worth your time, energy, and money. I am so thankful I have been able to see and do all this.

Next tier, in order: Alabama, Florida, Kentucky. While each has something cool to offer (Alabama=tradition, handsome campus; Florida=cool stadium, hot women; Kentucky=nice stadium), these are a bit lacking in “atmosphere”. Alabama is a quiet stadium (their arrogant fans expect to win, so why get fired up when their team makes a TD?), nice campus full of a lot of arrogant pricks and a few nice folks; Dreamland makes up for a lot there. Florida=hot women, great stadium, nice campus featuring live oak trees and spanish moss and palm trees, good architecture; little else to recommend it. Kentucky = reasonably nice stadium, decent if not great fans, very little gameday atmosphere.

Bottom of the barrel (also in order): South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State. Other than the cockabooses (big deal), South Carolina’s unimpressive stadium has the worst ingress and egress in the SEC (walking down a railroad track with broken glass and weeds to get into the stadium is not my idea of a good time). Snotty fans with no reason to be. Campus is spread out and urban, stadium is not on campus. Columbia is like Little Rock, without the charm. Vanderbilt HAS no gameday atmosphere; it’s like playing Rice. At least you’re in Nashville, fwiw. Mississippi State is ugly and its mother dresses it funny. Crappy stadium on ugly campus in pitiful town in the middle of nowhere full of crass redneck fans with ugly attitudes. I mean, there is nothing at all to recommend MSU.

Overall, I have to say that the Southeastern Conference is outstanding. It is college football at its finest; I would proudly put up any SEC school (even MSU) against almost anything the rest of the country has to offer. I would put our top tier up against anybody in the country, even-on, and I have no doubt whatsoever which would turn out the winner. Tennessee or Michigan? PLEASE! Auburn or Ohio State? Give me a freaking break here! Arkansas or Texas? Absolutely no contest at all (and I’m totally serious).

What’s that you say? Where does Arkansas fit in?

For those of you who have never been to an away game, let me tell you: Arkansas fits very nicely, imho, between Tennessee and Georgia, Auburn, LSU and Ole Miss. In other words, we’re second or third in the SEC overall, in terms of tradition, facilities, campus, women, friendly knowledgeable fans, and overall gameday experience. Our Band is as good as or better than the Million Dollar Band, the Tiger Band (both the Plains and Bayou Bengal variety), the Redcoat Band, and the Rebel Band. The Pride of the Southland gets the nod on sheer size alone. Ole Miss has us on tailgating (including The Grove over The Golf Course); Tennessee has us on size; UGA and Auburn are, in my opinion, our equals in almost all respects, LSU has us on stadium size and tailgating. We have, with actually no competition, the nicest facilities in the Southeastern Conference, and the best OVERALL facilities in the Southeastern Conference (thank you, J. Frank Broyles).

In “Overall Gameday Experience”, we are, imho, among the best in the top conference in College Football. That ain’t too shabby, folks.

It has been my great privilege to represent the University of Arkansas at these other venues, and I hope to be able to continue to do it for many years to come.

If you’ve never done it, you owe it to yourself to go. It’s fun to be in a small band of red-clad faithful, screaming your head off in the corner seats (worst in the house) at some huge hostile stadium, and have your players (on the opposite side of the world), hear you and turn around and point at you.

There’s nothing like the thrill of being in some hostile environment, vastly outnumbered, and seeing your cheerleaders running across that field with a big HOG on one side and the State Flag of Arkansas on the other. It makes you stand up taller and stick out your chest with the “A” on it. It makes you Call the Hogs with all your might, to coin a phrase.

You see your team down there—the TRAVELING unit, which is so much smaller, in that cauldron of noise in Knoxville or Athens or Auburn or Baton Rouge, and you truly would jump out of the stands to help them if you could. You want them to win so badly you can taste it, not for yourself, but for THEM. You find yourself willing the ball to fly down the field into the waiting arms of your receiver.

Favorite memories: the back of Fred Talley’s shirt flapping in the breeze as he runs away from our fans, toward the opposite end zone, with the ENTIRE Auburn football team hopelessly chasing him; Todd Wright’s field goal soaring toward me and KNOWING it’s going in, and hearing that ROAR from the Razorback section and 96,000 people being silent; Matt Jones scrambling around in his own endzone, and hurling the ball at a flying Richard Smith—I’m telling you, the world stood still for a few seconds, it was all slo-mo, and I can still feel my heart stopping; Me and RazorMatt and a few thousand of our little friends Calling the Hogs ALL THE WAY DOWN THE RAMP at Oxford, our knees buckling from the stress of the 7 overtimes (a much better game than the Kentucky game last year)…

What a long, strange trip it’s been.

Football is just a game; eternity is forever; NEVERTHELESS, GO HOGS!!!

See y’all at the Georgia game!!!|




MalvernHog is missed. Prose indeed Clay.

I agree that Tennessee has the best game day experience. Been there a lot since we live here and my daughter graduated from Tennessee. And the fans there have always been very gracious and kind.

When we retired 3 years ago our plan was to RV to every game that year and eventually hit every stadium. That got derailed somehow but we plan to get it done as soon as things get back to normal. Been to Vandy, Bama and TN so we have a lot of traveling to do. And i’ve made 2 SEC championship games in Atlanta. I’ll be back there when we make it again.

Thanks Marty. Miss that guy.

I have been to South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Auburn, Alabama,Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Ole Miss. Missouri and Mississippi State are both easy trips, but for some reason I have not made those games yet. Since Ole Miss and Tennessee are games I have attended often(long overtime games in both places) I kind of take them for granted. Campus/game day wise I guess I would go with Georgia and Auburn as being most impressive. Kentucky seemed kind of dingey to me, Lexington is pretty nice and Keeneland is impressive, but the campus reminded more of a Big Ten campus (did not feel that Southern to me).

I still keep up with Malvie on Facebook. He’s working remotely due to the pandemic and splitting time between Houston and the Florida Gulf Coast (not bad).

My SEC list is short. I’ve been to Baton Rouge (but not for an Arkansas game), Starkville (they were nicer to me than they were Malvie, but that was a year we were good and they weren’t; the Leghumpers get full of themselves when they think they’re good), CoMo and Tuscaloosa. I’ve seen Neyland from the outside but not inside, and went to NCAA tournament games at the old Stokely Center. Haven’t seen Vandy’s campus as an adult (perhaps as a 6-year-old). I’ve seen the light towers at Williams-Brice from a distance but that’s all. Never been to Oxford or Athens or Auburn or Gainesville or Lexington. Or College Station, even with them being in the SWC all that time and my living in the Houston area.

Now that I live in ACC country, I’d like to check out some of its campuses and maybe catch a game or two. I’ve been to UNC and Duke. Interviewed at the Wake Forest hospital which isn’t on campus, and drove by the exit for the NC State stadium and arena, which aren’t on campus either.

Been to Florida, LSU (7 OT victory with DMac et al, best sporting event my older son says he has ever been to, and he was a journalist at the Beijing Olympics and saw Usain Bolt win for the first electrifying time), South Carolina multiple times (first time for first SEC game ever when we surprisingly blew them out after the Citadel loss), Tennessee several times (including the Stoerner fumble and 6 OT games and the one we won with Barry Lunney), Ole Miss (when Nutt was their coach), Mississippi State (when we could all hear Petrino plead “How could you?” to Kniles Davis when he fumbled—we won in OT anyway), Vandy (wife and younger son went to the Grand Ole Opry instead), Alabama several times (once Saban’s first year when they beat us by a ref’s timeout for measurement when they were a yard and a half short and time was running out, followed by an interference call in the end zone so outrageous my son yelled “Bullsh-t!” so loudly I think they could hear it in
the entire stadium, once when my wife was overcome by heat and she got medical attention in the bowels of the stadium while Arkansas players on stretchers were paraded by her), Auburn (with Cam), Georgia (we had DMac and Felix in their coming out party). Everywhere but Missouri, Kentucky, and Texas A&M (but we did go to the Jerrydome game with the tripping call).

Great games, great times, great food (bbq, catfish, boudin, even Egyptian food in Knoxville, you name it), and sightseeing (Civil Rights museums, Sun and Stax recording studios, Bear Bryant museum, Houndstooth Bar, place where The Yearling was set, the Blues trail, the Natchez Trace, Tupelo and Graceland, Dollywood, the Hank Williams museum, where Rosa Parks got on the bus, etc.).

When Arkansas moved to the SEC, it was so much easier to catch Razorback games since they were so much closer.

Best story, I was walking from my car to the Auburn stadium, three nice old ladies who were Auburn fans told me they loved North Carolina except that they were walking a trail near Asheville and were confronted by a bear, I said “Wow, you mean a real bear?”, and they answered “Yes, if it was Bear Bryant we would have killed it”.

Btw, first two away games we saw were the South Carolina and Tennessee wins in the Hog’s first SEC season, those were the first Razorback games my 6 year old son had seen in person, and since we had lost every game but them and never lost when he went, I sent Frank Broyles a photo of my son with a Razorback outfit including a pig nose in front of my red Razorback convertible at South Carolina, and I asked Frank if it was against NCAA rules to pay my son to go to games, he was undefeated, and Broyles said in a wonderful letter that it was no coincidence that we had won the games he attended.

Me, on the other hand, went to so many losing away games in a row that my brother said if I lost the next one I attended he was no longer procuring tickets for me. With the pressure on, I went to the South Carolina game where Mustain got yanked, and when we pulled it out in the end I was the happiest guy in the stadium.


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