We get asked all the time where our favorite stops are in the SEC, and a lot of times, that depends on the season.
And with Edward aboard now on the SEC blog, we were able to get out to more games this season than ever before.
We both agree that the Allstate BCS National Championship Game was the best atmosphere of the season for obvious reasons. For one, the game was in New Orleans, and the scene in the French Quarter leading up to the game went way beyond festive.
The historic element of the game -- two teams from the SEC playing for the national title -- only added to the buzz surrounding the game, and any time you get Alabama and LSU together, it’s going to be one giant pigskin party.
So what we’re going to do is pick our top three on-campus atmospheres from the 2011 season. I’ll kick it off, and Edward will follow with his later today.
Here are mine:
1. LSU 9, Alabama 6 (OT), Tuscaloosa, Ala., Nov. 5: It was billed as the Game of the Century II, No. 1 LSU vs. No. 2 Alabama in one of the most hyped regular-season matchups in college football history. As it was, neither team was able to score a touchdown, but there was plenty of drama. Eric Reid’s leaping interception at the 1 was perhaps the play of the year in the SEC, and who could forget LSU punter Brad Wing’s heroics … or all of the missed field goals by Alabama? The build-up to the game was crazy, with both teams agreeing to do all-access segments with ESPN, and then the continuous roar at Bryant-Denny Stadium during the game had that rock concert feel to it that left your ears buzzing for days.
2. LSU 41, Arkansas 17, Baton Rouge, La., Nov. 25: The game moved back to its traditional spot this year, the Friday after Thanksgiving, and the different BCS scenarios were flying leading up to the game. LSU was No. 1 in the BCS and Arkansas No. 3. How would the BCS standings shake out if the Hogs were to go into Baton Rouge and win? Tiger Stadium was rocking, as usual, but Arkansas got in the first lick and jumped out 14-0 early in the second quarter. The Honey Badger, though, saw to it that Tiger Stadium came back to life later in the quarter with an electrifying 92-yard punt return for a touchdown to tie the game. From that point on, the place was pure bedlam, and the Tigers never looked back in securing their spot in the SEC championship game.
3. Alabama 38, Florida 10, Gainesville, Fla., Oct. 1: Night games at the Swamp are always something to behold. But when Alabama makes an appearance, the rowdies come out in force. They certainly did on that first Saturday in October when two of the SEC’s traditional powers collided in a battle of unbeatens. It was Will Muschamp’s biggest test to date as Florida’s first-year head coach, and the Gators had the place jumping when John Brantley went up top on the second play from scrimmage and connected with Andre Debose on a 65-yard touchdown pass. That turned out to be one of the few highlights for the Gators, who were no match for the Crimson Tide. Even so, the atmosphere leading up to and during the game was SEC football at its finest.