But yes, we're heading to the Queen City once again. I was there in 2005 and had a great time, and am looking forward to going back. Let's hope we can actually score a point this time!
The last time we made this trip, our team, fan base, and staff were the living definition of "happy to be here." Mario Williams could have pillaged our hotel rooms (instead of just our quarterback), and we would have given him a multiple formation hand shake/hug and offered him a beer. For those of us there in the early days, it was amazing just to be a part of a bowl game experience. The Little Engine That Could finally cleared another big hurdle. Sharing it with everyone I've basically ever known made it even more special.
The pep rally the night before the game was a goose bump moment. The N.C. State fans were clearly going through the motions, but you could have powered the CATS Light Rail system with the energy from the mass of green and gold that made the trip. Andre Hall, Jim Leavitt, and a few other USF people got on stage for just a few minutes, and the roar was deafening. Our drum line had a bit of an extra pep in their step. It was chilly but not oppressively cold, and I think everyone that went would agree they'd go back again. You always remember your first time, and despite the scoreline, ours was pretty special.
To be honest, I'm as jaded as everyone else is now. If it was Birmingham again, I'd probably stay home. But Charlotte is a great city, and the journey isn't that far. And this time I won't be a chaperone for a busload of Student Bulls Club members. I'll recount that trip later, but it involves alcohol and one of our students in the back of a cop car. Weeeeeeeeeeeeee!!
And since we can't just write about the upcoming bowl game, we're going to honor one of the Carolinas' great musicians right up until December 31st. We'll be liberally mixing in Ben Folds references all month long.
"And if it's all the same, we've people to entertain..."
If you're on the fence about going, make the trip, and buy your tickets through USF (a major help to the athletic department now and in the future). We'll see you there.