© Tim Heitman

97.3 The Fan Goes to College GameDay!

Braden Surprenant and Will Galvez Share Their Lone Star Experience

Braden Surprenant
September 17, 2018 - 1:12 pm

For anyone who knows me or has heard me on the radio, knows I am a proud Texas Christian University (TCU) alum. One of my best decisions I have made in my young life was attending TCU. While at TCU I majored in sports broadcasting and worked on the video staff for TCU football. That will be my disclaimer for my portion of my experience this past weekend at ESPN’s College Gameday as well as the TCU vs Ohio State game at AT&T Stadium. Later on you will read the experience of my colleague Will Galvez, a San Diego State alum who was experiencing Texas, TCU, Jerry’s World, and Whataburger all for the first time.

I, like him, am from San Diego. I grew up in the Scripps Ranch/Poway area of the county and attended Cathedral Catholic High School before finding myself deep in the heart of Texas for college. I had such a great experience when I was in college, that I could not wait to come back when I saw this game on the schedule, especially when it was decided it was going to be played at AT&T stadium, where the Dallas Cowboys play. I invited Will along, to accompany me on my travel back. Our plan was simple, experience College Gameday, then drive to Jerry’s World to watch the Frogs beat the Buckeyes on the big stage.

We flew in Thursday night so we would have enough time for me to meet up with college friends as well as any of my favorite spots throughout Dallas, and Fort Worth. Saturday morning rolled around and we headed to TCU to experience ESPN’s College Gameday. This was the one thing on my trip that I had not experienced before! The atmosphere was exceptional! Gameday was filmed right in the middle of TCU’s campus, what we like to call the campus commons. A courtyard like area, surrounded by sophomore dorms, Frog Fountain, Scharbauer Hall, and the Brown Lupton University Union.

I had expected there to be many Buckeye fans, but to my dismay there was purple everywhere! Although the majority of the fans were supporting the Horned Frogs, many colleges were represented. So many flags of different colleges, and fans from every walk of life. A simple celebration of college football, almost convention like. There were hilariously inappropriate signs, banners and flags. People of all ages gathered together representing their college and enjoying themselves at 9am on a Saturday morning. It is a great way to get fired up for football to start your day.

From there, we headed over to Arlington, TX which is about fifteen minutes East of Fort Worth on the way to Dallas. As you drive closer you start to see the roof of what looks like a planet peaking over the horizon. Then you see the big AT&T logo appear on the roof as more of the stadium is in view in the distance. I remember the first time I saw the stadium in person, I was in awe of just how far away you can see the stadium. The closer you get the more you realize how small people are in comparison to this world wonder.

Before we started tailgating we decided to check out the newly built, Texas Live! In between AT&T stadium and Globe Life Park, where the Texas Rangers play, sits a sports fan’s dream. It is like a ESPN Zone, a Dave and Busters, and a Buffalo Wild Wings all put together and on steroids. The best way I can describe what it looked like on the inside, for us San Diegans, is what Seau’s used to look like. An open area in the center with a stage and behind the stage was about ten large projected screens of college football games. On the floor were tables and booths packed to the brim with people, in an open seating first come first served environment. Upstairs was a balcony that stretched around the entire main room with seats and tables all facing the large screen of football. There were about four bars and different restaurants on both floors, mixed with random arcade games, pool tables, ping pong, foosball, and even beer pong. Outside were more giant TVs and more bars, with fire pits. A great place to hang out before or after any game, and if any of you travel out to Texas for a Padre game, or maybe the Aztecs in the Cotton Bowl, or a Padres Rangers 2020 World Series, you have to check out Texas Live! Here is Texas Live during a Cowboys game:

After Texas Live!, we tailgated some more on our own before walking into the stadium that was filled with 70 percent Buckeyes. Now us TCU fans will travel well and always represent our squad, but you have to remember we are a small school of only about 10,000 students, of which 8,000 are undergrad. Our living alumni totals 88,000 people whereas Ohio State has 550,000 living alumni. For perspective purposes, San Diego State has 300,000 living alumni.

As far as the game went, it was one of the best football games I had ever watched. It was back and forth, fast and full of huge plays. TCU came and punched Ohio State in the mouth put too many self-inflicted wounds ended up hurting the Frogs in the long run.

Despite the outcome of the game I had a great time this weekend, and I can not wait to go back and visit Texas again soon! I will always keep a part of Texas with me but how was Will Galvez’s experience? Here is Will…

Will Galvez:

My four-month anniversary of being employed by Entercom San Diego, LLC. is arriving soon. Since I joined the, 97.3 The Fan team, it has introduced me to genuine people and some of the brightest minds in the sports media industry. One of my colleague’s, Braden Surprenant, who is a Texas Christian University (TCU) alumni and a native of San Diego, invited me over this past summer to go on a trip to see the TCU Horned Frogs play the vaunted, Ohio State Buckeyes at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Braden, wanted to show this San Diego State University Alumni (who had never stepped foot in the Lone Star state) what it was like to spend a football-chalked, early Fall weekend, in what Don Swander famously sung, “Deep in the heart of Texas”.

Saturday’s in San Diego, California are spent by people enjoying the sunshine. Whether it is soaking up some rays at the beach, Seaworld, or Balboa Park, the residential community of America’s Finest city has a variety of options to choose from. Filled with tourist activities throughout, it is often forgotten that elsewhere around the country, Saturday’s are spent tailgating and consuming college football. Barbequing savory meats, jamming out to classic songs, and competing against your opponent on who can sink the most bean-bags in circular hole on a board. Yes, the art of tailgating may be a fading luxury to some but after my trip to Texas this weekend, I can assure you that this tradition is alive and thriving in the parking lots outside of Jerry World.

My visit to the TCU campus this weekend was worth every penny. Among the beautiful women, captivating statues, and athletic facilities, my Instagram and Snapchat stories could only capture so much. There have been some remarkable accomplishments in TCU athletics over the last century. I was fortunate and humbled to see; LaDainian Tomlinson’s Doak Walker Award Trophy, Charles Coody 1971 Masters Champion Green Jacket, Davy O’Brien’s Heisman Memorial Trophy, Jake Arrieta’s Cy Young Award, and the two AFCA National Championship Trophies from 1935 and 1938.

College Gameday is ESPN’s favorite live television program on Saturday’s that airs from a new college campus every week, that features two perennial teams, duking it out on primetime television for power ranking supremacy, a possible berth into the College Football Playoff, and a chance to hoist the National Championship Trophy. The Horned Frog family showed out in full force for the College Gameday set and the energy that the students, alumni, faculty, and fans showed was unprecedented. The witty, snarky signs that were aimed to put down Buckeye Nation were hilarious. The constant boo-ing of guest-host, WWE Wrestler, Roman Reigns. TCU fans are loyal to their program and as a neutral fan without a dog in the fight, I felt right at home cheering along to the Riff Ram Bah Zoo chant. Among the sweltering heat, I can knock off the College Gameday experience off my bucket list. As an unabashed Aztec fan, seeing Kirk Herbstreit (an analyst for ESPN College Football) choose SDSU over Arizona State was equally one of my favorite memories from the weekend.

    Among the chaos of pregame festivities, Ohio State fans littered the bars, parking lots and more than half of the seats in AT&T Stadium. OSU has been a relevant football program and institution for quite some time, among of the off-field discrepancies in recent memory. As a first time visitor to Jerry World, this stadium was unlike any other I have seen in person. This one takes the cake. The illuminating LED signs. The colossal video board that hangs as the centerpiece of the stadium. The incessant “O-H” cheers from Buckeye galore. LaDainian Tomlinson, a Hall of Fame running back and arguably TCU’s best athlete ever, serving as an honorary pregame captain. The sea of purple die-hard fans scattered throughout, curling their index and middle fingers together to symbolize frog eyes. It was a lifetime experience even if the home state team did not emerge victorious. Being emotionally invested in Frogs football for roughly three hours, it was a deflating feeling seeing a 21-13 lead dwindle away into a 40-28 win for the Big Ten Conference favorite. Gary Patterson’s “Spit Blood” squad had an Urban Meyer-less, Nick Bosa in street clothes, No. 4 ranked team in the country, on their heels and failed to capitalize on the momentum they had gained. Fort Worth. Arlington. Dallas. Braden Surprenant. Thank you for treating me well, I will be back. Hopefully, next time the result for TCU will be a victory, as I anoint myself as an honorary Frog Fan now. The city of Fort Worth will continue to rally and support their Frogs. On a related note, there was a city 1,319 miles away that was able to relish on this wild college football Saturday.

My SDSU Aztecs securing a victory over the No.23 Arizona State Sun Devils. The Aztecs 28-23 win handed Herm Edwards, an esteemed SDSU Alumni, his first career Sun Devil loss as a coach. In front of a crowd of 34,641 people in attendance, behind a solid performance from Junior Quarterback Ryan Agnew (Southlake Texas native) and a stout defensive effort in the second half, the Aztecs walked away with their second victory of the year. The only other way to chalk up this victory is heeding the advice from the former New York Jet and Kansas City Chief Head Coach, “You Play to Win the Game!”