You can't live any larger
Music City keeps it real
"All right all right all right" -- Matthew McConaughey as Dallas in "Magic Mike."
It's Nashville vs. Dallas, and I'm all about the Big D.
If you want to start with how these cities stack up, let's go to the videotape, and by that I mean movie and television mentions. Sure, there's "Nashville" with Hayden Panettiere (who has dated both a boxer and a former Jets wide receiver), and Nashville has plenty of cultural heft in the world of country music, but Dallas has widespread appeal.
Matt Dillon awakened young girls nationwide with his portrayal of Dallas Winston in "The Outsiders," "Dallas" captivated viewers in the '80s and there's also "Dallas Buyers Club," "Born on the Fourth of July" ... the list goes on.
There's even been a Super Bowl in Dallas, notable for the clever use of sand after a rare snowstorm, as though it might behave like salt on a roadway. It didn't, but points for trying!
Not to say anything isn't great in Nashville, but in Dallas, it's just bigger great: the buildings, the barbecue, the heat and, of course, the oil-industrial complex.
Dallas is the ninth-largest city in the United States. It shares a metro area with Fort Worth, like a megalopolis in the desert. There's a diverse population of roughly 1.3 million people, and plenty of cultural events year-round. So you can take in the opera or a symphony on the day between games. Or head to a bar; there are lots of bars. You're just going to go to a bar, aren't you?
Let's be honest for a second. Fans would attend NCAA men's games featuring their favorite teams in an underground bunker accessible only by subterranean tube if they had to. The city in which the game takes place is an interesting sidebar to the main event. Unless it's a real dump, or if the weather is something that makes the walk from the arena to your hotel a drag.
Or doesn't have a bar.
People are simple. Food, drink and basketball. Dallas will have all three this weekend. Only bigger.
It's a sunny April afternoon and you're strolling down Broadway in Nashville, popping in and out of boutiques, checking out old memorabilia and looking for the perfect pair of cowboy boots. (You can wear those boots all year-round -- Nashville isn't 120 degrees in the summer like Dallas.) You duck into one of the many honky-tonks lining the street for a cold beer and find an up-and-coming band just flat-out rockin' the place.
You can keep your overblown boy bands and over-processed pop princesses. You wanna hear real music -- done right and done live -- you head to Music City.
Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, hit up the Ryman Auditorium and the Grand Ole Opry, or stop by the Bluebird Cafe, which is a real place, not just the stuff of television. (Though I can't promise everyone working there will be as attractive as the folks in the "Nashville" cast.) At the famous Tootsie's you can hear live tunes from 10 a.m. until past midnight every day -- they'll even play your team's fight song if you put enough cash in the jar.
Speaking of cash, the motto "Everything's bigger in Texas" applies to their bills, too. When it comes to the cost of living, bigger ain't always better, Dallas!
And speaking of bigger, if you like driving across miles and miles of flat land filled with strip malls to get somewhere, then Dallas is your place. In Nashville, everything you need is right around the tree-lined, rolling-hilled, church-blessed corner.
Want some good grub before you hit up a show? Nashville boasts some of the best restaurants in the country. Dig sports? You can walk right out of a Predators game two blocks to the Broadway bar scene -- and less than a mile away is LP Field, home of the Titans.
More of an academic? Nashville, aka The Athens of the South, has 24 postsecondary educational institutions for you to choose from.
Of course, you're here for women's basketball, so just like the NCAA you're not really interested in academics. You want a party -- and a party is what you'll get. When the games are over and you're down on Broadway, dancing at a honky-tonk, a strappin' cowboy with a BA from Vanderbilt on one arm and the Next Big Thing thrillin' you on stage, you'll know that you're in Nashville.