State College is to College Station as Columbus is to Austin

Two weeks ago I was in State College, PA, home of football powerhouse Penn State University.   One of the first things I noticed upon entering my tasteful, blue and white hotel room at the Nittany Inn was the brochure for Football Fantasy Camp 2009.  For $4,995, one could spend four days in football/PSU alumni bliss: meet JoePa, get lectures from the coaches, suit up, tread upon the natural grass of Beaver stadium, and then play an exhibition (flag) football game.  I can totally see the appeal to forty/fiftysomething men.

Chad pointed out that PSU has more wins this year than Rice, the Seahawks, UW Huskies, and Washington State Cougars combined.  (This may not be a fair analogy: Rice‘s record is better than those other three teams combined, too.)  Still, the level of enthusiasm is totally foreign to me.  While geocaching on a warm Tuesday evening near their ginormous (capacity: 100,000+) stadium.  Students were already tent-camping in the open lot,  hoping to secure tickets for the next home game:

Students line up on Monday for good seats on Saturday
Students line up on Tuesday for good seats on Saturday. (PSU won #8, 46-17)

On the other side of the stadium was a tribute to Joe Paterno’s long, successful career:

Joe Paterno, PSU coach since before I was born
JoePa, PSU coach since before I was born

Not surprisingly, this rates as virtual geocache. The cache owner wrote me a paragraph educating me on the “bonus” question.  That’s enthusiasm.

The following week, I was in Columbus, home of Ohio State.  Whereas State College is the university, there was no doubt Columbus was the fifteenth largest city in the U.S. that just happens a large university on the north side that mucks up traffic whenever there’s a home game.  They’re mostly harmless.  Just don’t park your car there. (For my Texas friends: State College is to College Station as Columbus is to Austin (without any hills.)

Since I was going to be downtown all week, it made sense to ditch my rental car.   While I could have just done a blind drop-off, I was hoping to get them to give me a ride back downtown.  To pass the hour until they opened, I stopped at a park along the Olentagy river.    When I returned, I saw OSU’s welcome wagon had visited:

With love from Ohio State fans
I did not receive the"don't park your car outdoors" memo

Nothing was stolen, but I was officially rooting against OSU in The Big Game scheduled that weekend.  (State College was no safer after the game.)

3 thoughts on “State College is to College Station as Columbus is to Austin”

  1. I’m a baseball or hockey girl myself, and have never understood the appeal of football. The husband, tho, who hails from Nebraska (where there is nothing to speak of, save corn and football) will be the first to tell you that when the Huskers’ Memorial Stadium is at capacity,it becomes the third largest city in the state.

    Mindboggling.

  2. To be honest, I’m not sure why I enjoy watching football. I used to enjoy going to games when I was in school, but my school’s teams always sucked.

    I can’t stand basketball.

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