Posted February 15th, 2009 by Brian
Filed under: Football

Texas announced they were going away from natural grass earlier this month and this week we learned officially that next season Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium will be FieldTurf. The modern artificial turf is more durable and reportedly results in fewer injuries, combine that with the embarrassing state of the field last Thanksgiving and this is not a surprising decision.

AAS writer Kirk Bohls has a good article up on the history of FieldTurf and Texas’ decision to move to it.

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Posted February 5th, 2009 by Matt
Filed under: Football

Artificial Turf at Royal-Memorial

Artificial Turf at Royal-Memorial

In a recent meeting, UT’s Athletic Director Deloss Dodds revealed that part of the $27 million renovation project in the south end-zone with include replacing the current natural grass field with a synthetic turf. The field will be replaced after spring practice and available for use before the start of next season.

Luckily the technology used to create these synthetic has increased dramatically since the old astro-turf that everyone associates with causing knee injuries. The new fields contain small rubber pellets to soften the impact on the body. But with this new technology also means a significant increase in price. Fields are expected to run between $500,000 and $2 million.

Not sure how I feel about this change, but from everything I have read the previous grass field was pretty slick and you might remember seeing many players slipping in the last Texas / Texas A&M game. When I was on the field I remember it feeling like I was walking on a green at a golf course, so I can see how those can get slippery with any sort of moisture.

One interesting note, the last time Texas switched from grass to turf (1969), the Longhorns won a National Championship. See you at the Rose Bowl.

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Mike Sullivan's new mural at DKR

Mike Sullivan's new mural at DKR

Next time you catch a game at Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium, make sure to make your way to the newly renovated north end and check out the new 13′ x 12′ mural done by renowned sports artist Mike Sullivan.

I must say I am pretty impressed with Mike Sullivan’s work. I think I might have to pick up a print of this once it is available.

Update: Tentatively postponed until Sept. 26th due to Hurricane Ike.

Check out the details below:

UT Head Coach Mack Brown to Dedicate Permanent Fixture At Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on Friday, Sept. 12

AUSTIN, TX – Highly-regarded sports artist Mike Sullivan, known for his unique chiseled style featuring bright, contrasting colors on a black background, will dedicate a 13′ x 12′ mural honoring the history and achievements of The University of Texas football program on Friday, September 12, 2008 at 2 p.m. at the legendary Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. (Photo of mural on page 2)

A short presentation will begin at 2 p.m. Central. Hosted by Bill Little, the event will include a short speech by Sullivan before Texas head coach Mack Brown dedicates the mural in front of fans, alumni, university officials and former Longhorns players.

The painting pays tribute to the winning-tradition and success of The University of Texas football program, a program which, in its storied past has:

  • Won four National Championships
  • Been led by two Heisman Trophy winners
  • Had three players selected No. 1 overall in the NFL draft
  • Had 16 Longhorns players and coaches inducted into the Collegiate Football Hall of Fame

Featuring the national championship trophy, the Longhorns’ mascot Bevo, a hard-charging Texas running back, and members of the UT Spirit Squads running with flags, all against the backdrop of the orange-lit UT Tower, the mural captures these achievements and the passionate support Longhorns fans have given the program for more than a century.

“Texas football has such a rich history of on- and off-field success, outstanding student-athletes, legendary coaches and a winning strength that inspired me to pay tribute to the program,” said Sullivan. “It is truly an honor for me to have this mural at The University of Texas. I hope the mural will serve as a tribute to Longhorns past, present and future.”

This is the third in a large-scale series of permanent murals Sullivan is installing in professional stadiums and on college campuses across the country. His first, a tribute to Arizona State legend and American war hero Pat Tillman, is showcased at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, AZ. Earlier this year, Sullivan garnered attention for his mural “Tradition,” installed at the Los Angeles Coliseum, home of the University of Southern California Trojans.

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Posted September 4th, 2008 by Matt
Filed under: Football

Notre Dame Stadium and Touchdown Jesus

Notre Dame Stadium and Touchdown Jesus

1. Notre Dame Stadium

Of all of the college football stadiums in the country, none have the aura or mystique of Notre Dame Stadium. Maybe it’s because I have watched the movie Rudy so many times (greatest sports movie ever), but there is just something about this stadium that makes we want to watch a game there. And even though I usually feel Notre Dame is the most over-hyped team in the nation, they still have the best stadium in college football.

The following quote probably sums up everything best:

“This is not merely a football field,” says Notre Dame’s Official Campus Guide. “It is an experience, a uniquely Notre Dame synthesis of sport, tradition, pride, loyalty, and belief.

It is haunted by a thousand ghosts of glorious seasons past: the Four Horsemen riding into immortality on the words of Grantland Rice; the multi-talented George Gipp and “Jumpin’ Joe” Savoldi; Joe Montana, a field general in a green jersey; Raghib “The Rocket” Ismail flying toward the end zone; and, of course, Knute Rockne, pioneer of the forward pass, master of the locker room speech, brilliant motivator, relentless innovator, and though gone from the gridiron since 1930, still the most victorious coach (winning an amazing .881 of his games) in college football history.”

I know this might not be everyone’s favorite, but it is definitely mine. Check back soon for more of our Top 5’s.

College football’s best stadiums
  1. Notre Dame Stadium
  2. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field
  3. Tiger Stadium
  4. Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium
  5. Michigan Stadium
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Ben Hill Griffin Stadium aka The Swamp

Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (aka The Swamp)

2. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field

First off I would like to say that I am definitely not a Gators fan. In fact, they are probably in my Top 5 least favorite college football teams. But the one thing they have going for them in my book is The Swamp. Bottomline is that opposing teams really just don’t have much of shot to win there. Steve Spurrier was 68-5 in 11 years and Urban Meyer is already 22-1.

And it was actually Spurrier who gave Florida Field its nickname, The Swamp. Following the 1991 season, Spurrier was quoted as saying “The swamp is where Gators live. We feel comfortable there, but we hope our opponents feel tentative. A swamp is hot and sticky and can be dangerous.” And so the name stuck.

An interesting fact: In EA Sports’ college football video game franchise, NCAA Football, The Swamp has been ranked as the #1 toughest place to play in every version in which home field advantage has been included.

Check back soon for our #1 favorite college football stadium.

College football’s best stadiums
  1. Notre Dame Stadium
  2. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field
  3. Tiger Stadium
  4. Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium
  5. Michigan Stadium
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Posted August 25th, 2008 by Matt
Filed under: Feature, Football

Top Stadiums: #3 LSU

3. Tiger Stadium

Death Valley on a Saturday night has probably the best gameday atmosphere of any college venue in the country. The fans are widely considered the loudest and most passionate, probably due to the fact that they have been drinking and partying all day. And if you ask most college football coaches, this is one of the last places that they would ever want to play a road game.

Built in 1924, the stadium has expanded to an impressive 92,400 seating capacity. In terms of population, that makes Tiger Stadium the sixth largest city in Louisiana on gamedays.

An interesting fact: In a game against Auburn in 1988, when quarterback Tommy Hodson completed a game winning touchdown pass, the subsequent crowd roar registered as an actual earth quake on the LSU seismographs.

Check back soon for our #2 favorite college football stadium.

College football’s best stadiums
  1. Notre Dame Stadium
  2. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field
  3. Tiger Stadium
  4. Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium
  5. Michigan Stadium
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Top Stadiums: #4 Texas

4. Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium

DKR – Texas Memorial Stadium has been going through major renovations since 2005, adding additional seating capacity and some new high-tech features. The north end-zone expansion is basically complete and will now push attendance to around 98,000, the 5th largest in college football. There are also plans to expand the south end-zone, pushing attendance to around 115,000.

If you haven’t seen the new scoreboard in the south end-zone, nicknamed Godzillatron, it’s something you just have to see to believe. Like its nickname suggests, Godzillatron is massive, coming in at 7,370 sq ft and is the largest high definition screen in the Western hemisphere.

DKR – Texas Memorial has some serious tradition (built in 1924), great atmosphere (sea of burnt orange), and state of the art technology. It’s something every college football fan should experience.

Check back soon for our #3 favorite college football stadium.

College football’s best stadiums
  1. Notre Dame Stadium
  2. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field
  3. Tiger Stadium
  4. Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium
  5. Michigan Stadium
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Posted August 1st, 2008 by Matt
Filed under: Football

Top Stadiums: #5 Michigan

5. Michigan Stadium

With seating capacity just north of 107,000, Michigan Stadium, nicknamed The Big House, is one of the top 5 largest stadiums in the world. Built in 1927, the House that Yost Built has some serious history and tradition.

This is probably one of the most classic (maybe boring) and widely recognizable stadiums in college sports. It’s amazing to think with all of that tradition and fans screaming, you could lose to Div I-AA Appalachian State on your home turf. Still, one game I have always wanted to go attend is Michigan/Ohio State in Ann Arbor (who they haven’t beat since 2003 at home).

A couple of interesting facts about this stadium. It hasn’t had an attendance lower than 100,000 since 1975. And most of the stadium is actually built below grade (into the ground), leaving only about 20 upper rows visible from the outside.

Check back Monday for our number 4 favorite college football stadium.

College football’s best stadiums
  1. Notre Dame Stadium
  2. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field
  3. Tiger Stadium
  4. Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium
  5. Michigan Stadium
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Darrell Royal statue at DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium

Thanks to the poster djbfootball over on the Inside Texas message boards we have new photos of the construction at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.

It looks like things are almost completed. From the inside it appears all seating is ready (the gap in the northwest corner is intentional) and that they’re working hard to get the exterior finished by the first game at the end of August. It really looks impressive and I’m excited that the Horns could have an improved home field advantage this season. I can’t wait to go to my first home game this year to see it for myself.

Check out the photos.

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DKR North end zone update: June 11. Updated photos of the north end zone stadium renovation.

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