Best Party In College Football?
Would you rather go to the Red River Shootout or the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party?
By: Braden Gall | 7/1/11, 8:45 AM EDT
Debate: Would you rather go to the Red River Shootout* or the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party*?
Athlon editors Braden Gall and Patrick Snow debate which game they would rather attend.
* - We know the names have changed but we like the old ones better.
Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden):
If you have never been to Texas then you probably don't fully understand the phrase "Everything is bigger in Texas." Big trucks, big hair, big cattle, big parties and especially big football. Yes, it's a cliché. But yes, it definitely applies to the best party in college football: The Red River Shootout. (Coming from someone who has lived in both Austin and Dallas, I simply cannot call it the Rivalry.)
I was 12 years old when my father took me to my first Shootout in 1994, and neither Texas nor Oklahoma was elite. In fact, the two teams combined for 10 losses that season. But the win-loss records had little effect on the liquid-induced debauchery that ensued.
The Texas-Oklahoma rivalry game has been played since 1900 and has taken place in the Cotton Bowl since 1932 during the Texas State Fair. And this isn't your ordinary fair. The Texas State Fair is the largest in the nation; a reported three million patrons visited in 2010. Fans of both teams have been welcomed to the grounds since 1952 by a 52-foot tall cowboy mascot named Big Tex — who wears size 70 boots. The 212-foot Ferris wheel has stood since October of 1985 and is still the largest in North America. The fair generates around $300 million in revenue for the city of Dallas, and the Red River Shootout alone creates nearly $20 million in local revenue. When they say everything is bigger, they mean it. Going to a Texas-OU game is more than just a football game.
The Red River Shootout was the first time I had ever been to a football game in which the crowd was literally split perfectly down the middle. At the 50-yard line, the convergence of burnt orange with crimson and cream can create some tension. But those unlucky souls sitting on the border have the help of 40,000 of their closest buddies as the stadium-wide, not-so-cordial chants begin before kickoff and carry long into the night. To an impressionable teenager (who was most definitely NOT allowed to use bad language), listening to tens of thousands of people cuss at each other in unison with my dad was an experience I will never forget.
Texas claims the upper hand in the all-time series (59-41-5) — just like it did in '94. Despite both teams playing below acceptable program standards, the game was electric. The 17-10 Longhorn win was capped by the famous "Stone Cold Stop" when Texas defensive lineman Stoney Clark, with help from Tony Brackens, stopped Oklahoma running back James Allen at the goal-line on fourth down to end the game. It was one of the best football games I have ever witnessed.
Not only was the tension between the bitter, hated rivals palpable, but the game itself completely lived up to the hype. I can only imagine what the vibe would be like inside the Cotton Bowl if the Big 12 title were on the line — like it has been for the last decade.
Florida-Georgia is a special attraction that is a must-see for any college football fan, but I will take my deep-fried Twinkies and Oreos to go with Fletcher's Corny Dogs any day of the week.
Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman):
Both of these rivalries represent wonderful traditions, and any college football fan should put either one on their bucket list of games to attend. While the State Fair of Texas and "Corny Dogs" sound like a great warm up before another Texas-Oklahoma clash, my choice for the best party in college football would have to be Georgia and Florida’s "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party" – even though that name is not technically used anymore.
There’s nothing quite like the atmosphere at a big-time SEC game, and the Georgia-Florida setting is as good as it gets. Whether it’s a beach condo near Jacksonville or one in St. Simon's Island, fans of these two schools have been booking the same room in late October for generations. There is plenty of golf and fun in the sun all week that leads up to this intense battle for SEC East supremacy.
As the story goes, Florida Times-Union columnist Bill Kastelz was the scribe who first named the game, "The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party." He reportedly came up with the term when a "partying" fan offered a drink to a policeman. The game has been an annual tradition in Jacksonville since 1933, and the raucous surroundings around this contest are truly something to behold.
Besides all of the fun around the game, the football on the field has been stellar throughout the years. From Jack Youngblood's "Rip, Strip, and Grip" in 1970 to Larry Munson's famous "Run, Lindsay, Run" call in 1980, there always seems to be a new memory made in this rivalry. Florida's Steve Spurrier made beating Georgia his top priority when he took over in Gainesville. Georgia's Mark Richt fired up his troops in 2007 when he had the Bulldogs dance in the Florida end zone after a touchdown.
If you ever have a chance to attend this annual party in Jacksonville, make sure to do it. The football game between Georgia and Florida is reason enough for this road trip, and the all-week party will be an experience that you will never forget.
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