Gridiron season is here. So whether you're already headed
out on a business trip or just looking for a great weekend jaunt,
here are our must-see pairings for the rest of the
Let's face facts, we all like to brag. You know, the puffing of
one's chest as you tell your office mates about your previous
weekend's accomplishments. Then it's back to the fun of TPS
reports, joke e-mails, and endless meetings about synergy and team
spirit. Rah, rah.
One way to win those Monday-morning bragging rights is to follow
our sports fan's ultimate football guide. The objective is simple:
See lots of football. The strategy is a bit more daring: Determine
how best to travel to the right destination at the right time to
see the perfect matchups. The tactics: First, lay out the college
and NFL schedules (we'll help you with that one). Then, take out
your PDA and see how many future business trips can be extended by
a day or two.
We're not suggesting that you shirk work for play, but if you're
already going to be in, say, Miami, for that computer convention,
why not go a few days early or stay a couple of days after and
catch the Hurricanes on Saturday and the Dolphins on Sunday? Of
course, if your workplace is tightening the belt (and whose
isn't?), or you don't have any business trips on the horizon, just
grab some of your sports-loving buddies, throw your toothbrush in a
duffel bag, and head to the airport.
To show you how easy it is, during one three-day Detroit-area
jaunt, I once caught Florida State vs. Michigan and the Bucs vs.
the Lions, not to mention the Orioles vs. the Tigers and the
Blackhawks vs. the Red Wings (preseason). Which tells you two
things about me: 1) I often plan my life around sports, and 2) I
was single at the time.
But enough about me. Without further ado, here's the year's best
gridiron matchups. Pack your bags.
SEPTEMBER 6-7 (TWO GREAT OPTIONS TO CHOOSE
Saturday: University of Florida vs. University of
Miami at the Orange Bowl. Whenever two of Florida's Holy Trinity
of college football get together, the nation is fixated on the
Sunday: Houston Texans vs. Miami Dolphins at Joe
Robbie Stadium. With a Pro Bowl-caliber performer seemingly at
every defensive position, the Dolphins are sure to torment
second-year Texans QB David Carr. OR
Saturday: Marshall University vs. University of Tennessee
in Knoxville. Get 100,000 orange-clad Volunteers together in the
same building and it's bound to be a blast, no matter who they
Sunday: Oakland Raiders vs. Tennessee Titans in Nashville. The
defending AFC champ Raiders kick off the season with a night game
on the road against last year's AFC championship opponents and a
prospective challenger to their throne again this year.
Saturday: USC vs. University of California at Berkley. If
you're in need of a good campus protest and a great college
football environment, this game is for you.
Sunday: San Diego vs. Oakland at Oakland Alameda
Coliseum. The Raider Nation welcomes their fierce AFC West rivals
at their place for dinner and a movie.
Saturday: University of Miami vs. Florida State in
Tallahassee. The second Battle of Florida in little more than a
month is another can't-miss showdown. Here's hoping the Seminoles
have finally found a kicker with a better compass.
Sunday: Miami vs. Jacksonville at Alltel Stadium
in Jacksonville. In this much-less-heralded Battle for the Sunshine
State, the Dolphins travel north for some revenge. Remember, it was
the Jaguars that ended Dan Marino's career with an embarrassing
butt-kicking. Sure, that was a couple of seasons ago and Marino's
quarterback rating was already slipping, but it was still a tough
way to go out for one of the most beloved QBs of all time, not to
mention the game's most prolific passer.
ANN ARBOR/DETROIT, MICHIGAN
Saturday: University of Illinois vs. University of
Michigan in Ann Arbor. The Big House on a cool Ann Arbor fall
afternoon is why college football was invented. Being part of the
largest crowd in the country (107,501) is simply an added
Sunday: Dallas vs. Detroit at Ford Field. Hearing
"Joey Harrington to Charles Rogers" over the PA is something Lions
fans hope to hear a lot of in sparkling new Ford Field. And several
games into the season is an ideal time to see how well new Cowboys
head coach Bill Parcells' team is shaping up.
NOVEMBER 1-2(AGAIN, TWO PRIME PAIRINGS TO PICK
SOUTH BEND, INDIANA/CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
Saturday: Florida State vs. Notre Dame in South Bend. Any place
that combines the words "touchdown" and "Jesus" must be serious
about its college football. And, oh yeah, a leprechaun leads the
team onto the field.
Sunday: San Diego vs. Chicago at Soldier Field.
The Bears renovated their historic stadium and will attempt to
rejuvenate their winning tradition against the young and talented
Chargers. It's only two hours from South Bend, but rent a
comfortable car. OR
UNIVERSITY PARK, PENNSYLVANIA/EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW
Saturday: Ohio State vs. Penn State at University Park.
Two of the game's classiest coaches - Jim Tressel and Joe Paterno -
duel in Happy Valley.
Sunday: New York Giants vs. New York Jets at the
Meadowlands. The Big Apple - or more specifically, New Jersey - is
about 250 miles from the campus of Penn State, but seeing the
Giants and Jets duke it out for Empire State supremacy is well
worth the trip.
PASADENA/SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
Saturday: USC vs. UCLA at the Rose Bowl. The prettiest
setting in college sports during the time of year when much of the
country experiences its first snowfall
sign me up.
Sunday: Cincinnati vs. San Diego. OK, so the
Bengals stink. But by late November, No. 1 overall pick Carson
Palmer, Mr. Southern California himself, will probably be seeing
plenty of snaps. And the Chargers could very well be competing for
a playoff spot. It's worth the two-hour drive south - even in SoCal
DALLAS/COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS
Thursday: Miami vs. Dallas at Texas Stadium. Two of the
NFL's most successful franchises, these teams always put on a good
show. Last time they met on Thanksgiving Day, Leon Lett's blunder
helped Miami squeak out a victory and Dolphins tight end Keith
Byars made a snow angel. Classic.
Friday: University of Texas vs. Texas A&M at
College Station. The Longhorns have dominated the Aggies of late,
but nothing dulls the spirit of Aggies fans. Nothing.
Saturday: Florida State vs. University of Florida in
Gainesville. The third clash of Florida titans takes place at the
Swamp. And BCS bowl bids will be on the line.
Sunday: Tampa Bay vs. Jacksonville at Alltel
Stadium. Warren Sapp chasing around rookie QB Byron Leftwich makes
this contest entertaining, even though the defending Super Bowl
champs outclass the Jags.
Saturday: Army vs. Navy at Philly's Veterans Stadium. The
most storied game in football history never disappoints regardless
of the two teams' records. Just being part of this scene is a
memory of a lifetime.
Sunday: Dallas vs. Philadelphia at Lincoln
Financial Field. Missed these NFC East rivals battling it out in
October? You'll get another chance, this time in the City of
Brotherly Love. Will the likely Super Bowl contender Eagles kick
sand in the Cowboys' face on their road to regaining the title of
Blue Parrot Hotel and Beach Bar
Ceiba del Mar Hotel & Spa
Deseo Hotel + Lounge
Ikal del Mar
Maroma Resort & Spa
Occidental Grand Flamenco Xcaret
Oscar y Lalo
Paraiso de la Bonita & Thalasso
Riviera Maya Tourism
Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita
La Bodeguita del Medio
Premiere Hotel & Spa
Puerto Vallarta Convention & Visitors
Trio Restaurant Bar Cafe