Posts Tagged ‘SEC’

SEC Roadtrip Package: Ole Miss at Georgia

Thursday, May 17th, 2012



Have you always wanted to check out a classic SEC matchup, but don’t want to deal with searching for game finding a designated driver, paying for gas and parking, getting seated at a crowded restaurant or bar before the game, and all of the hassle that goes with traveling to sporting events. Well Sports Power Weekends can eliminate those hassles!

Take a look at the first of several of our SEC Sports Power Weekends packages for the fall — Ole Miss at Georgia on November 3 — and reserve your spot today!

The experience includes:

  • Roundtrip coach bus transportation from Atlanta to Athens
  • BYO tailgate spot
  • All taxes and fees

Cost: $30 per person

 

For additional information — or to book the bus only, with no tickets — contact Jared Cooper at (646) 397-5350 or Jared.Cooper@SPWtravel.com.

The purchase of these packages is subject to the following Terms and Conditions, which can be found here.

Top NFL-College Football Sports Power Weekends in 2012

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012


There are so many great NFL-college football weekends each fall that it is hard to pare down the list. Nonetheless, here are, in my opinion, the 50 best NFL-college football Sports Power Weekends of 2012. The main criteria for this list was that it must include an NFL and college game. There are plenty of great weekends in September that feature MLB games with a great NFL or college game, but I wanted to highlight weekends that included at least two different football games.

I’d love to hear your feedback if you think I am overlooking a great weekend, or ranked one too high.

For more information about planning or booking a Sports Power Weekend package, please contact Jared Cooper at Jared.Cooper@SPWtravel.com, (646) 397-5350, or via twitter at @SportsPowerWknd.

1. Chicago, September 21-23

Friday
  • St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs
Saturday
  • Michigan at Notre Dame
Sunday
  • Rams at Bears

Wrigley Field, Notre Dame Stadium and Soldier Field during one incredible weekend based out of the Windy City. Sign me up!

2. New York, September 5-9

Wednesday
  • Cowboys at Giants (NFL Kickoff Game)
  • US Open Tennis
Thursday
  • US Open Tennis
Friday
  • Atlanta Braves at NY Mets
  • US Open Tennis
Saturday
  • USC vs. Syracuse at MetLife Stadium
  • US Open Tennis (Women’s Final)
Sunday
  • Bills at Jets (Home Opener)
  • US Open Tennis (Men’s Final)


Three games at MetLife Stadium on this weekend, including the first game of the 2012 season featuring the defending Super Bowl champs against their bitter rival, the Jets home opener, and Heisman and top pick front-runner Matt Barkley from USC. Also see Citi Field on Friday as the Mets host the Braves.

3. New Orleans, November 3-5

Saturday
  • Alabama at LSU
Sunday
Monday
  • Eagles at Saints (Monday Night)

A rematch of last year’s National Championship Game with the winner in great position to win the SEC West takes places on Saturday in Baton Rouge. On Monday night at the Superdome, the Saints host the Eagles in an NFC showdown.

4. Los Angeles-San Diego, November 24-25

Saturday
  • Notre Dame at USC
  • Stanford at UCLA
Sunday
  • Ravens at Chargers

The historic rivalry between Notre Dame and USC leads us to the Coliseum. A day later and two hours south, two perennial AFC heavyweights face off in San Diego. A nice Thanksgiving weekend in southern California.

5. Dallas, November 22-24

Thursday
  • Redskins at Cowboys (Thanksgiving)
Friday
Saturday
  • TCU at Texas
  • Baylor vs. Texas Tech (Cowboys Stadium)

Another great Thanksgiving option, this time in the heart of Texas. The Cowboys continue their Thanksgiving tradition, this time hosting their division rivals. On Saturday in Austin, TCU and Texas clash in the newly-remodeled Big XII. Cowboys Stadium will also host Baylor and Texas Tech on Saturday. (more…)

Sports Power Weekend: Atlanta, Georgia, December 3-5

Friday, December 3rd, 2010


SportsPowerWeekends.com founder/editor Jared Cooper takes a closer look at Atlanta, Georgia, home of the 2010 SEC Championship Game. SEC East Division champion South Carolina will take on SEC West Division champion Auburn on Saturday at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia at 4:00 PM ET.

While Atlanta isn’t home to an SEC school, it is the host of the most important game on the SEC calendar. Each year all 12 SEC teams aspire to take part in the game that will determine the SEC champion and the conference’s automatic qualifier for a BCS bowl game. By winning the SEC East and West respectively, South Carolina and top-ranked Auburn have the pleasure of meeting at the Georgia Dome on Saturday.

While the SEC Championship Game is no doubt the headliner of the weekend’s activities, it is by no means the only thing going on in Georgia’s capital. Ranked as the eighth-best sports city in the country in 2010 by The Sporting News, Atlanta is also a city full of culture, great food and a thriving nightlife.

FRIDAY

  • Fat Matt’s
  • Philips Arena
  • Buckhead
Photo Courtesy of PhilipsArena.com

Photo Courtesy of PhilipsArena.com

Atlanta is a pretty spread out city and is best navigated with a car, though by using the MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority), you can get by without one. Take whichever mode of transportation you find easiest to Fat Matt’s Rib Shack, up north in Atlanta near Emory University, for some of their top-of-the-line ribs, chicken and sides.

With some of Atlanta’s best in your stomach, you can head to Philips Arena to cheer on the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks as they take on the visiting Philadelphia 76ers. The Hawks are led by two former SEC stars, Florida’s two-time champion Al Horford and Arkansas’s Joe Johnson, and bring a ton of excitement (and a lot of wins) to this 18,729 seat arena that opened in 1999.

After the game you can head to Buckhead, an upscale uptown district in Atlanta that has some very worthwhile restaurants, shopping and bars. The bar East Andrews is broadcasting sports radio shows live on Friday night in preparation for tomorrow’s SEC Championship Game. The whole town has SEC fever!

SATURDAY

  • Flying Biscuit
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site
  • Centennial Olympic Park
  • Georgia World Congress Center
  • Georgia Dome
  • Virginia Highland

The game to crown the SEC champion will kick off at 4 PM local time, giving you plenty of time to explore the city a bit before filing in to the Georgia Dome to see the much-anticipated matchup between the Gamecocks and the Tigers.

Start your day at the Flying Biscuit, a homey spot known for their grits and of course, their biscuits. They come with a homemade cranberry apple butter that makes any wait to be seated well worth it.  After breakfast make your way to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, which operates a number of facilities that contain Martin Luther King, Jr. exhibits and artifacts, such as the King Center and the Visitor’s Center. Tours of Dr. King’s birth home start at 10 AM and last 30 minutes from start to finish.

Photo courtesy of SECSports.com

After checking out the birthplace of Dr. King, make your way to the park that honors the 100-year anniversary of the Olympics from their birthplace in Athens, Greece, Centennial Olympic Park. The 21-acre park was refurbished for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games and features the Fountain of Rings, and during the winter, a skating rink for public use. Centennial Olympic Park is operated by the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, which also oversees the Georgia World Congress Center and the Georgia Dome. Those three properties, as well as Philips Arena, the CNN Center, the World of Coca-Cola, and the Children’s Museum of Atlanta are all adjacent to one another in downtown Atlanta.

Make the quick walk from the park to the Georgia World Congress Center for the 2010 Dr. Pepper SEC Football FanFare, featuring games, autograph stages, food vendors and official SEC apparel stands. Spend some time mingling with fans and former SEC players, kick field goals or test your throwing accuracy, or watch action from around the country on any of the TV monitors in the building. It is a great way to get in the mindset for the game that follows. The FanFare runs until 4 PM, but by that time you should already be in your seat eagerly anticipating kickoff.

The Georgia Dome has been the host of the SEC Championship Game since 1994; in the first two years of SEC play – 1992 and 1993 – the game was played at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama. The Georgia Dome opened in 1992 and is the largest cable-supported domed stadium in the world. The 71,250 capacity stadium plays host to the Atlanta Falcons, and has hosted Super Bowls XXVIII and XXXIV, the gymnastics and basketball events for the 1996 Olympic Games and both a Men’s and Women’s NCAA Final Four. In addition, the Dome hosts the Bank of America Atlanta Football classic and the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game and Bowl game as well as the SEC title tilt.

The Auburn Tigers are looking to become the fifth consecutive SEC team to win the SEC Championship Game and go on to win the BCS National Championship Game. In the previous four years, the Florida Gators – who have won an SEC-record seven title games – have done this twice, and the LSU Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide have each won one. South Carolina hopes to add to the East Division’s 11-7 lead in title games over the West Division. Something has got to give, and seeing it live will sure be fun.

A good area to check out after the game is the Virginia Highland, a neighborhood popular for its shopping, dining and nightlife. Choosing from places like Atkins Park – the oldest restaurant/bar in Atlanta, Highland Tap and Figo will give you some options. You’ll be having a burger tomorrow for lunch, so unless you want to double up you may have to save George’s for your next visit. There are also a number of bars in the area. Check out Dark Horse for some live music.

SUNDAY

  • Ria’s Bluebird
  • Grant Park
  • Little Five Points
  • Vortex Bar and Grill
  • Philips Arena

Start the final day of your Sports Power Weekend at Ria’s Bluebird, a hip breakfast spot in Atlanta serving some of the best pancakes and eggs in the Peach State. The restaurant is located across the street from the famous Oakland Cemetery, where golf legend Bobby Jones and Pulitzer Prize winning Gone With The Wind author Margaret Mitchell are buried.

Nearby is Grant Park, Atlanta’s oldest park established in 1882. The park houses Zoo Atlanta and the Atlanta Cyclorama, a museum housing a cylindrical panoramic painting of the American Civil War Battle of Atlanta. Grant Park is just a few blocks east of Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves, which opened in 1997 and has become a landmark of sorts in the city. Stop by and take a peek if you would like.

Next, you can make your way to the Little Five Points area to check out some of their eccentric novelty shops. Also in the area is Vortex Bar & Grill, home of one of the best burgers in town. They do require that all patrons be over the age of 18, so keep that in mind depending on your company.

As your Sports Power Weekend winds down, you can look back and be satisfied with all of the can’t miss spots you saw, great food you ate, and exciting times you had. Assuming you don’t push back your flight so you can see the Usher concert at Philips Arena tonight, you have now experienced everything SEC football has to offer. Don’t fret, however. Basketball season is now upon us.

Jared Cooper worked for the National Football League’s PR department for four years before creating SportsPowerWeekends.com. You can follow him on Twitter (@SportsPowerWknd) or contact him at Jared.Cooper@SPWtravel.com.

SEC Sports Power Weekend: Baton Rouge

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

SportsPowerWeekends.com founder/editor Jared Cooper takes a closer look at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, home of the LSU Tigers. LSU will host the Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday at Tiger Stadium at 2:30 PM CT.

Photo courtesy of LSUSports.net

In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, we’ll be venturing into an actual swamp, or at least the one at the Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center. The home of the LSU Tigers, Baton Rouge, situated alongside the Mississippi River, is a confluence of many cultures and flavors, and lives up to its motto, “authentic Louisiana at every turn.”

Baton Rouge is a versatile city: it is the capital of Louisiana, but houses universities like LSU and Southern. It is young, as it was named one of the 10 best places for young adults by Portfolio magazine, but it is professional, as illustrated by being named the No. 9 place to start a business by CNN Money.

Most notable about Baton Rouge, however, is how it comes together on Saturday nights in the fall to create one of the greatest home-game atmospheres in all of sports, let alone college football. The LSU Tigers will take on the Tennessee Volunteers in a rare day game at Tiger Stadium, but don’t fret; Death Valley is still plenty intimidating in the sunlight.

FRIDAY NIGHT

Let there be no doubt, when you are hungry in Louisiana you go Cajun and Creole or you go home. Go to The Chimes Restaurant and Tap Room and don’t be shy; with crawfish etouffee, catfish, New Orleans-style BBQ shrimp, and a variety of fried seafood platters among the many local favorites on the menu, you are in for a treat. Wash it down with an Abita or one of their dozens of other beers on tap and there is hardly a better way to start your weekend.

The night is still young as you go from one of Louisiana’s favorite pastimes (food) to another (partying). Boudreaux & Thibodeaux’s is a good spot to let your hair down and listen to some live music. As part of the “Live After 5” fall series, Blaine Roy & Second Wind will treat the crowd to some country/southern rock. At midnight the bar switches gears and turns into a dance party. There is something for everyone at B&T.

SATURDAY

With LSU playing its only day home game of the year, you will not have a ton of time to take in the city before starting to tailgate and preparing for the main event. That doesn’t mean you should just sleep in though.

Head into downtown Baton Rouge after grabbing a quick bite at Louie’s Café; that is if you didn’t stop in their last night after B&T’s. Check out the Old Louisiana State Capitol Building (also called the Castle of Baton Rouge), which is adjacent to Baton Rouge City Hall and the Old Governor’s Mansion. You will also pass the nearby USS Kidd, where you can walk the decks of the Fletcher-class destroyer, known as the “Pirate of the Pacific,” that serves as part of a memorial to honor America’s Armed Forces. Make your way up North River Road to the Louisiana State Capitol, which is the tallest state capitol building in the United States, and was once the tallest building in the south. The building is nestled between State Capitol Park and Arsenal Park, and makes for quite the spectacle.

As the old cliché goes, you can’t know where you are going until you know where you have been. Well, now that you know where Baton Rouge has been, you should be excited about where its people are going; Tiger Stadium. The accolades heaped on Tiger Stadium seem to go on and on. The Sporting News proclaimed Tiger tailgating and “Saturday Night in Death Valley” as the top gameday tradition in all of college football, ESPN.com named it the scariest place to play in 2007, and it was named the most spirited student section by ESPN the Magazine in 2008. For the time being, we will focus on another piece of lofty praise from ESPN the Magazine regarding Tiger Stadium: the country’s top tailgating location.

The Tigers have the eighth-largest on-campus stadium in the country (92,400 fans) with another additional 20,000+ who show up on gameday just to tailgate. LSU estimates that over two-thirds of Tiger fans tailgate for five or more hours before each game. All of the best Cajun food (jambalaya, seafood gumbo, duck, gator, rabbit, shrimp, etc.) that you can imagine is being cooked up all around you. Soak in the scene.

About two hours before kickoff you can witness the “March Down the Hill,” where LSU coaches and players walk down Victory Hill between Tiger Stadium and the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Shortly thereafter, the mascot, Mike the Tiger, will precede the greatest band in all the land, the Golden Band from Tigerland down the same hill. Make sure to be at your seat at least 15 minutes before kickoff to see one of the top pregame routines in college football as the band takes the field.

The Tigers have a 32-6 record at home under Les Miles, who instituted the tradition of having the players and coaches sing the Alma Mater after each home win. Before the 2009 season, Tiger Stadium added an 80-foot wide, 27-foot high high-definition video board to the north endzone of the facility. Renovations to the area surrounding Tiger Stadium on North Stadium Drive are also forthcoming.

After the game you’ll probably need some time to unwind, but this is a Sports Power Weekend, so you’ll need to keep your head in the game. If you head back into downtown Baton Rouge you can check out the Shaw Center and go up to Tsunami on the sixth floor. More than being known for having the best sushi in town, Tsunami has the best view of the sun setting over the Mississippi in Baton Rouge. Get a drink there if you aren’t looking for a full dinner in this upscale $55 million, five-year-old building.

For a more low-key dinner you can head out east to Dempsey’s for some potboys and authentic Louisiana cooking. If you want to stay local on campus, you can always go to the trusty chain Raising Canes for some chicken fingers and sandwiches. This happens to be former LSU All-American safety LaRon Landry’s favorite restaurant on campus.

Finish off your long day with a drink and some LSU highlights at Hound Dog’s or Roux House in downtown, or if you are still feeling energetic there is the gameday party at Varsity that seemingly goes on all night.

SUNDAY

From perhaps the best home game atmosphere in college to arguably the best in the NFL, the nearby Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints are hosting the division-rival Carolina Panthers. Before making the one hour and 20 minute drive southeast to New Orleans for the 12 PM CT kickoff, make a pit stop at Frank’s Restaurant in Baton Rouge for some breakfast biscuits.

After the game, familiarize yourself with New Orleans a bit. The Allstate Sugar Bowl is held annually at the Louisiana Superdome and will feature the champions of the SEC. Unless of course the SEC champs are playing in the BCS National Championship Game. Again.

Jared Cooper worked for the National Football League’s PR department for four years before creating SportsPowerWeekends.com. You can follow him on Twitter (@SportsPowerWknd) or contact him at Jared.Cooper@SPWtravel.com.

Sports Power Weekend: Athens, Georgia

Monday, November 15th, 2010


SEC Sports Power Weekend: Athens, Georgia, September 17-19

Courtesy of University of Georgia

SportsPowerWeekends.com founder/editor Jared Cooper takes a closer look at Athens, Georgia, home of the Georgia Bulldogs. Georgia will host the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday at Sanford Stadium at 12 PM ET.

The first stop on our tour of the SEC takes us to Athens, Georgia, home of the Georgia Bulldogs, which was named after the former world center for culture and higher education in Greece. Athens has come a long way since its inception in 1806, becoming a beacon of expression and the arts that would make its namesake proud.

Musical acts such as R.E.M. and the B-52’s got their start in the 40 Watt Club, and jam band Widespread Panic was formed when their two founding members met in the dorms at the University of Georgia in 1981. More recently, modern acts Bubba Sparxxx and Danger Mouse kick-started their careers in Athens before rising to national fame. Music is still inherently tied into the fabric of the town and University, as evidenced by “Fabulous Football Fridays,” a concert series held the night before Georgia home games.

While music and art may keep visitors entertained, it is the Georgia football program that brings the masses to Athens. As Georgia gets set to take on Arkansas and its high-powered aerial attack, we’ll break down the events surrounding the game for weekend visitors; the local food joints that you don’t want to miss, the cultural attractions in this southern beauty and of course the traditions surrounding the main event, Saturday’s game.

FRIDAY NIGHT

When you are on an SEC Sports Power Weekend, you don’t want to miss a meal. Make sure you arrive early on Friday night so you can fit in a nice hearty dinner.  After checking into your hotel (there are 20+ hotels in the local Athens area of varying price and status), Weaver D’s (an R.E.M. favorite) should be the first restaurant you hit in Athens; the hot fried chicken plate and sweet potatoes will get your weekend started off right.

If live music is your scene, you can then head over to The Rialto Room in the Hotel Indigo for the Swinging Medallions, playing as part of the aforementioned “Fabulous Football Fridays” series. If you prefer the college town beer bar scene, you can head over to Copper Creek Brewing Co for their on-site brewed beer sampler.

SATURDAY

A noon game means that you need to get up early if you want to get some grub before the game and its festivities. The Last Resort Grill, which opened as a music club in 1966, opens at 10 AM and is a great way to start your gameday. Not much can go wrong after taking down the drifter or the duck hash.

After getting your fill, head south on Hull St. through the heart of campus towards Sanford Stadium. Georgia will have Arkansas “between the hedges” – a phrase coined by famed Atlanta sportswriter Grantland Rice in reference to the famous Chinese privet hedges along the perimeter of the playing field – in this cross-divisional SEC matchup.  Sanford Stadium’s home crowd, amid their screams of “how bout them dogs,” brings one of the best home-field advantages in all of college football. At a capacity of 92,746, Sanford is the third-largest stadium in the SEC behind Neyland Stadium in Knoxville and the newly-renovated Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, and the seventh-largest on-campus stadium in the country.

After hearing the sweet sounds of the Georgia fight song “Glory, Glory,” throughout the game, the home fans hope to hear the equally beautiful ringing of the chapel bell after the game concludes; a tradition that signifies a Georgia win. And home wins are a common occurrence in Athens these days. Mark Richt has a 47-11 (.810) home record as Georgia head coach (through 9/11/10), the best mark in program history.

Georgia’s greatest football tradition is not its mascot, Uga, or the silver britches; it is their historical success. Names such as Harry Mehre, Wally Butts and Vince Dooley have to be mentioned when discussing the greatest coaches in SEC history. Butts coached Heisman Trophy winner Frank Sinkwich, Maxwell winner Charley Trippi and Pro Football Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton, among many other greats, and Dooley won over 200 games with the Bulldogs as well as a National Championship in 1980 led by eventual Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker. Georgia is the only school to have three different Super Bowl MVPs: Jake Scott of the Miami Dolphins, Terrell Davis of the Denver Broncos and Hines Ward of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and recently groomed Matthew Stafford, the number one pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.

After the game there is still plenty of time left in the day to see the town.  Tours range from the Terrapin Brewery Tour for beer lovers, the Classic City Tour for culture-seekers, and the Music City Walking Tour for music fans. You can also check out some of the historical or cultural landmarks around Athens such as the Double-Barreled Cannon, a Civil War relic, and the Tree That Owns Itself, a great oak that was granted its own ownership deed in the late 1800s by Professor William H. Jackson. The Georgia Museum of Natural History and Georgia Museum of Art on the University campus are worth a visit as well, although the art museum is currently under construction and slated to reopen in 2011.

All of these activities packed in such a productive day are sure to build up your appetite. Dinner at Five and Ten, where Chef Hugh Acheson has been nominated for James Beard “Best Chef Southeast” Award for four consecutive years, is sure to hit the spot.

You can finish up your great day at The Globe, Georgia’s second-best bar according to Esquire. You can also mix it up a bit by walking into any of the multitude of bars within a two-block radius of N. Lumpkin (no, not named after former UGA running back Kregg Lumpkin) and Clayton.

SUNDAY

Sunday is generally the day of the weekend trip where you tie up some loose ends, eat some good food and relax before heading back home. On a Sports Power Weekend however, there is no time to waste. Get some brunch at Farm 255 for some local and sustainable food. Even if you aren’t interested in food politics per se, you will still enjoy the taste and freshness of your rustic eggs or farm breakfast.

There is no time to waste after brunch. There is an Atlanta Falcons home game at the Georgia Dome (site of the SEC Championship Game on December 4), only a one hour and 20 minute drive from Athens. The Falcons host the Arizona Cardinals in an important early-season NFC matchup that could go a long way towards playoff positioning.

When the clock hits double zero at the Georgia Dome, your SEC Sports Power Weekend has concluded and you’ve just experienced the best Athens has to offer. Now rest up. You have big plans in Gainesville next weekend.