Blogs & Opinion


Austin power

Read part two of Alex's Texan story

Alex Ferguson Posted 7th September 2012 view comments

Skysports.com blogger Alex Ferguson spent last weekend checking out some college football in the the Lone Star State, Texas.

In part one of his diary, which you can read here, Alex ventured to the spectacular Eagle Stadium in Allen, but he had just as good a time in a sweltering Austin - as you'll find out by reading below...

SATURDAY

We arrive in Austin around 1pm, and the heat's already making everything a wee bit sticky.

Texas quarterback Ash put in a solid performance against Wyoming

Texas quarterback Ash put in a solid performance against Wyoming

Austin - the state capital of Texas and one of the prettier towns in the United States - seems to be wearing one colour: burnt orange. That's because the University of Texas (or 'UT' as it's known in these parts) is playing its first game of its College Football season against Wyoming, and everyone's pretty excited.

And while Southeastern Conference schools we've visited, like the University of Georgia, are celebrated for the scenic tailgate between the magnificent vistas of the campuses, we're reliably informed this doesn't happen in Texas - they simply gather in the multitude of car parks around the stadium and university - set up tents, and drink rather a lot.

Austin is a fun mix of students and city people gathered together to celebrate the sport they love the most, and the stadium is magnificent.

Alex Ferguson
Quotes of the week

And while parts of you don't exactly enjoy supping beverages in the hot Texas sun while straining to get some cover underneath a tent, other parts don't find it that difficult.

Especially as when every few minutes you open your eyes at some of the sights wandering around, be it the men in - and we kid you not - large cowboy hats, leather waist jackets, and cowboy boots (they only miss the lasso, in our view!), and the women - all of them blonde-haired and beautiful, wearing white shorts or burnt orange skirts and cowboy boots.

It's quite a look, we can tell you. And listening to them dancing to R&B while waiting for the game to start? Even more amusing.

After making a ton of conversation about Texas' starting quarterback David Ash, the future for the Longhorns this season, and the laughably awful start of the season that former Texas 'Coach In Waiting' Will Muschamp has had at Florida (where they were dreadful in their victory over little-known Bowling Green) has had, we make our way to the 101,000 colossus that can only be called Darrell K. Royal Texas-Memorial Stadium.

The stadium itself is breathtaking, with three sides of the stadium (including the all-important luxury boxes and press box), and is crammed to the rafters with burnt-orange love. After all, for lovers of Texas Football, the opening day of the season rivals Texas' monster battle with Oklahoma in a few weeks' time - even for the most hardened lover of the Red River Rivalry.

And Texas football isn't just a 'man's sport', everyone is there to watch the game, and give their viewpoint on improvements. If you want scenic, it doesn't have the hedges that adorn the sidelines of other schools in the South, but it does have a mighty big screen in one end-zone, that might well be the biggest TV on earth (I'm already in love with it!), and it is a piece of breathtaking power. A pack of students stand below it and cheer mightily next the University of Texas Marching band, complete with every kind of instrument. You still come out with the words "Wow" when looking at the place, we can promise you!

The student section has already filled nicely with expectant Texas fans, and everybody's excited. The game kicks off to a cannon's roar (which makes this writer jump out of his skin!), everyone holding up the Hook 'Em horns sign, and an expected sea of burnt orange expecting an easy victory.

Well, after one quarter, a few hearts were in their mouths. The Longhorns were down 9-7, playing badly, and those who hadn't wilted in the 100+ degree temperature in the stadium seemed a little worried. After all, Ash and the Texas defence were being simply outclassed by Wyoming QB Brett Smith.

But in the second quarter, Smith threw two interceptions, Texas took advantage and scored two touchdowns from the situations, and it was 24-9 at half-time. My neighbours - two postgraduate nurses - were a little happier with life, as were about 100,000 Texas fans.

The Wyoming corner (let's credit them for travelling across the country for this, shall we?) was a little silent, but the burnt orange party didn't care. Second half, and it was all Texas. The team added two more touchdowns - celebrated with some joy by the fanbase and even more jubilation on the field - and the game was over. And the night was cooler.

Coming out of the stadium, there were a few notes of dissatisfaction. Although Ash didn't come out of the game with bad numbers - 20 of 27, 156 yards, 1 TD, and the running game - 280 yards, 4 TDs did well, many felt annoyed that the best player (bar the interceptions) was Smith, who had a tidy 276 yards and 2 TDs against one of the best defences in college football. "Why didn't we recruit him?" moaned one Texas fan. "Against a better offense, our secondary's going to be toast", said another.

And as for my experience? Austin is a fun mix of students and city people gathered together to celebrate the sport they love the most, and the stadium is magnificent. And if you have bad eyesight, look towards one of the end-zones, where all the great plays are replayed on the 81ft tall, 136 ft wide 'Godzillatron'. You can't miss a thing on that one!!

back to top

Other Blogs:

Latest Posts in :

Alex Ferguson

Start your engines!

Alex Ferguson predicts who will triumph in NASCAR's showpiece race, the Daytona 500....

comments

Jamie Carragher

Carra: Top four in sight for Spurs

Spurs can make the top four, says Carra, depending on how seriously they take their European duties....

Ed Chamberlin

Van the man?

Ed Chamberlin explains why Tejay van Garderen is capable of plucking the Tour de France's Yellow Jersey....

comments

Paul Merson

Merson's predictions

Merse expects a losing start for Neil Warnock, but wins for Arsenal, Chelsea and Man Utd....

Stuart Barnes

Size doesn't matter

Stuart Barnes admires the All Blacks' emphatic win and salutes Argentina's fight with the Boks....

Barrie vs Terry

Barrie v Terry

Barrie McDermott and Terry O'Connor go head-to-head with their Super League predictions......

Phil Clarke

Clarke: Six into one

Phil Clarke looks at the contenders for the League Leader's Shield as we head into the sharp end of the season....

Phil Clarke

Rules of the gain?

Phil Clarke is worried some of the basic laws are being ignored just to make rugby league faster....

Barry Cowan

Murray to make move

Barry Cowan is backing Andy Murray to make the last eight in New York and test Novak Djokovic....

0 comments

Alex Hammond

Look to the Future

Alex Hammond on a fantastic week at York and picks three best bets for this weekend, including Godolphin's Future Empire...

Alex Hammond

Royal week of racing

Alex Hammond shares tips for the Galway Festival and Glorious Goodwood - where Captain Cat is among her selections....

comments

Neal Foulds

Selby steel

New world champion Mark Selby's the master of match play, says Neal Foulds - but what's next for Ronnie?...

comments

Neal Foulds

Trump tip

Ronnie O'Sullivan is favourite for the Worlds - but Judd Trump could spring a shock, says Neal Foulds....

comments

Neal Foulds

Night at the Circus

Neal Foulds is looking forward to another fun, raucous Snooker Shoot-Out - but can't pick a winner....

comments

Kelvin Tatum

Back on track

Lakeside can make it two wins over Belle Vue Aces in four days, says Kelvin Tatum, but it'll be close!...

comments

Kelvin Tatum

Hit the road

Swindon are struggling this season but will fancy their chances at Birmingham, says Kelvin Tatum....

comments

Kelvin Tatum

Racing away

Belle Vue are unbeaten at home but Kelvin Tatum asks if they can transfer that form at Swindon....

comments

Richard Moore

The final curtain

Richard Moore reflects on Sunday's Closing Ceremony to an unforgettable Olympic Games......

comments

Richard Moore

A lasting golden glow

Richard Moore suggests all the British Olympians should visit schools and talk about their experiences....

comments

Richard Moore

Favourite Froome

Richard Moore reveals his predictions for the 100th Tour de France, which starts on Saturday....

comments

Wayne McCullough

Wonderful Davis

Wayne McCullough watched Antonio Rogerio Nogueria take on Phil Davis at UFC Fight Night 24. ...

0 comments

Wayne McCullough

Jones shines bright

Wayne McCullough was highly impressed as the talented Jon Jones made short work of Mauricio Rua....

2 comments

Wayne McCullough

A bloody marvel

Wayne McCullough salutes Diego Sanchez as he edges out Martin Kampmann in a UFC humdinger....

0 comments