Penn State vs Alabama

Penn State vs Alabama, Sept 10, 2010

Sept 10, my son Patrick (PSU ’01) and I flew to Atlanta from Philadelphia and rented a car for the trip to Tuscaloosa. The drive to Tuscaloosa from Atlanta is about 4 hours, so this is a long trip, but much longer (19 hrs) if you drive straight through. On the plane, we met a huge man sitting in first class that let us take a picture with him (see image above). You can probably tell in the picture who the father is and who the son is. Once we arrived in Tuscaloosa, we found the Motel 6 that we had booked a year ago. I won’t comment on the motel other than to say that Tom Bodett was not there to “leave the light on for you.”

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Penn State vs Alabama

Once we arrived on campus, a magnificent compound that houses, dorms, academic buildings, Bryant-Denny Stadium (football), Sewell-Thomas Stadium (baseball) and basketball’s Coleman Coliseum. The downtown area, which blends with the University was absolutely packed with Alabama and a sprinkling of Penn State fans. When Alabama supporters noticed you were Penn Staters, they openly praised Penn State and Coach Paterno, which was a nice feeling. Patrick and myself had pizza and beer in a great brewery surrounded by Alabama fans.

Saturday morning a must stop for us was the Bryant Museum, which showcases not only “Bear” Bryant, but the history of Alabama Football with beautiful large paintings of key Alabama victories, including a magnificent piece of from the 1979 Sugar Bowl when Mike Guman was stopped short with only 4th and less than a yard.

The game itself was an Alabama “redout,” similar to the Penn State “whiteout,” with a capacity crowd of over 100,000 fans in newly enlarged Bryant-Denny stadium with a magnificent twilight. The final outcome was disappointing, but the trip was rewarding and lots of fun.

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Tom Mairs, 215-884-5250, lionphoto@verizon.net