Posts Tagged ‘USC’

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 Destination: Los Angeles

Monday, February 21st, 2011


February 25-27 Friday
  • Clippers at Lakers
  • Wild at Ducks
Saturday
  • Celtics at Clippers
  • Arizona at UCLA
  • Arizona State at USC
  • Avalanche at Kings
Sunday
  • Avalanche at Ducks


NBA, College Basketball, NHL and Disney in One Weekend? A Magical Weekend in the City of Angels

Being a fan in the second-largest media market in the country comes in handy during the winter. With the two-time defending champion Lakers headlining the show, Los Angeles also features the Clippers, LA Kings, Anaheim Ducks, and UCLA and USC basketball in supporting roles. All of those teams are playing at home this weekend, and when you throw in some time checking out Universal Studios, Disneyland and the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a Sports Power Weekend in Los Angeles is certainly in order.

Friday

  • Staples Center
  • LA Live

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

The Staples Center will get some serious play this weekend with the Lakers, Clippers and Kings all hosting games, but the atmosphere of the latter two simply does not match up to a Lakers home game. Throw in the fact that the Lakers are playing the Clippers, the “second” tenant in the building, and there will be some serious buzz in downtown Los Angeles on Friday night.

The Staples Center is a building of champions. The Lakers capped off each of their first three seasons at the Staples Center with NBA championships, and even the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks captured back-to-back championships during their first two seasons calling the arena home. The Kings and Clippers have made this place theirs as well, setting attendance and sellout records for their franchises since moving in.

The concessions at the Staples Center can certainly get the job done, but if you don’t want to fill up on arena food there are more than enough restaurant options surrounding the building in the L.A. Live sports and entertainment district. L.A. Live opened in 2007 featuring sports and music venues such as the Staples Center and Nokia Theatre, night clubs, restaurants, a bowling alley, museum and movie theaters.  The district has hosted the the GRAMMYs, EMMYs, American Music Awards, ESPYs, American Idol Finals and hundreds of other events, and is a great place to spend the evening.

If it is in your budget, they have a J.W. Marriott and a Ritz-Carlton right on the campus. The whole area really couldn’t be more convenient on a night such as this.

Saturday

  • Westwood
  • Pauley Pavilion
  • Hollywood Boulevard
  • Staples Center
  • Sunset Boulevard

Friday night may have seemed like a main course, but in reality it was just an appetizer for multiple basketball games on Saturday. With UCLA hosting Arizona at 1 PM, USC welcoming Arizona State at 4:30 PM and the Clippers facing the Boston Celtics at 7:30 PM, you can conceivably catch three high-quality games today.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Start off your day with a drive to the beautiful town of Westwood, home of the UCLA Bruins. Los Angeles’ usual perfect weather is a great complement to this walking town and picturesque green campus. Grab a bite to eat at Jerry’s Famous Deli, one of the many locations the restaurant has in southern California. Jerry’s is just down the block from the iconic Westwood Theater, where the red carpet is often rolled out for big movie premieres. Walk the streets and hop in and out of some apparel stores for some UCLA gear. Your best bet for some clothes for the game may be the UCLA bookstore right across from the John Wooden Center. Take a walk around campus before circling back near Bruin Plaza to Pauley Pavilion for the 1 PM game.

The Arizona Wildcats will visit the UCLA Bruins in a matchup of the two strongest teams in the Pac-10 historically. Pauley Pavilion opened in 1965 and has been called home to some of the greatest players in college basketball history, and undoubtedly its greatest coach, John Wooden. The court, named in his and his wife Nell’s honor, sits under 11 NCAA men’s championship banners and retired numbers from UCLA greats Kareem Abdul Jabbar (formerly Lew Alcindor), Bill Walton, Walt Hazzard, Sidney Wicks, Marques Johnson, Ed O’Bannon, Gail Goodrich, Ann Meyers and Denise Curry. A crowd of 12,829 fans will be on their game for what could be a pivotal Pac-10 showdown.

After the game you are faced with a “good problem.” You can either make your way to downtown Los Angeles to check out UCLA’s cross-town rival USC face off against Arizona State in the Galen Center at 4:30 PM, or you can go explore the city a bit and take in some of the famous sites. Think it over while getting an ice cream sandwich at Diddy Riese. You will not regret this. Unfortunately the timing is such that you probably won’t be able to go to the nearby Apple Pan for what is considered one of the best burgers in Los Angeles, if not California more generally.

If you are going to the 10,258-seat Galen Center for the USC-Arizona State game, make sure to pass through the Rose Garden and catch a glimpse of the nearby LA Coliseum. Since USC is situated in downtown Los Angeles, this game will serve as a good lead-in to the Clippers game at the Staples Center at 7:30 PM. If you would prefer a break to get more familiar with the city, the twenty-minute drive from Westwood to Hollywood Boulevard is a good way to do it.

Walking out in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and the surrounding area will create a movie reel of sorts in your mind. Everywhere you turn, you will recognize a landmark from a certain movie or TV show. The Kodak Theatre, Hollywood Walk of Fame, Capitol Records Tower, corner of Hollywood and Vine, or the Hollywood and Highland Center (which offers great views of the Hollywood sign) are all in a small radius of one another and offer the glitzy feel that is portrayed in the movies.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

After fulfilling your tourist duties in Hollywood, it is time to fill up your stomach. Moving towards Chinatown southeast on the 101 you will pass Dodger Stadium and Elysian Park. Just south of the stadium is a small restaurant that actually serves as a big pre-Dodgers game food spot: Philippe the Original. Get a “French Dipped” sandwich (your choice of meat in a French roll dipped in their “jus”) with their hot mustard in one of the oldest and best-known restaurants in southern California.

Even though you saw a game at the Staples Center last night, it is a different vibe when the Lakers and Clippers play there. After seeing the two-time defending NBA champs last night, now you can see the Clippers take on the team that last won before the Lakers and faced them in the finals in 2010, the Boston Celtics. It is a rare opportunity to see the best of the west and east on back-to-back nights, all the while seeing one of the top young stars in the game in Clippers forward Blake Griffin. Don’t get up during the action; you may miss one of his highlight reel dunks.

After the game, if you would rather branch out instead of spending your second night at L.A. Live, go to Sunset Boulevard where there are a number of bars and restaurants, mostly on the strip between Doheny Drive and North Crescent Heights Boulevard.

Sunday

  • Coral Tree Café
  • Universal Studios
  • Disneyland
  • Honda Center (Ducks at 5 PM)

So, yesterday was a big day but if there was one drawback it was that you were sitting down a lot, whether at the basketball games or driving from place to place. Today will allow you to indulge your sense of adventure, at and the same time see some of the behind the scenes action that helps makes Hollywood what it is.

After grabbing some breakfast at Coral Tree Café, a great spot that offers healthy and tasty breakfast options in neaby Encino, head north a bit towards Burbank to check out Universal Studios. There are several options for you at Universal: you can take the studio tour and check out where Hollywood movies are made and see some of the sets for yourself, check out some of the rides and shows that put you inside some of the world’s biggest movies, or simply stroll the CityWalk to amble into the novelty and collectible shops and restaurants or even indoor skydive.

There are a number of restaurants for either a sit-down or quick bite before leaving Universal, but if you want to check out something more local, make your way south a bit towards Glendale to Mambo’s for a Cuban lunch. The restaurant was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on the Food Network, and is as good as it looks on TV.

I hope you didn’t reach your limit on theme parks this morning at Universal, because before tonight’s Anaheim Ducks game at the Honda Center is another special treat in Anaheim: Disneyland. Not every aspect of the park is for kids. If you aren’t interested in the younger targeted portions of the park, check out the Hollywood Pictures Backlot to see sets, props and facades.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

There is way more to do at both Universal and Disneyland than you will have time for, but this is a Sports Power Weekend, so we know what the priorities are.

By the time 5 PM rolls around the switch has flipped back to sports, as the Ducks take on the Colorado Avalanche at the Honda Center. The Honda Center opened in 1993 and has housed the Ducks ever since. It was also home to the Los Angeles Clippers from 1994-99 until the Clips moved to the Staples Center. The stadium, which holds more than 17,000 fans, was the site of the Stanley Cup-clinching Game 5 victory over the Ottawa Senators, giving the Ducks their first-ever championship. With the NHL season approaching the stretch run, this could be a pivotal Western Conference matchup.

There you have it. In one weekend you were able to witness a Lakers game, Clippers game, UCLA game, and a Ducks game, and maybe even a USC game as well. Not to mention getting to bask in the reflective glory of Hollywood by visiting the Walk of Fame, Universal Studios, and Disneyland.

Now that is a Power Weekend!

Top Sports Power Weekends: Los Angeles and San Diego

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010



Below are the Sports Power Weekend options in Los Angeles and the surrounding area in the coming months. Please visit the Los Angeles & San Diego City Guide page for information on activities and events in Los Angeles on days that do not have sporting events.

For more information on booking a travel package to Los Angeles, please contact us at info@SPWtravel.com.

April 1-3 Friday
  • Giants at Dodgers
Saturday
  • Giants at Dodgers
  • Thunder at Clippers
  • Stars at Kings
  • Union at Galaxy
Sunday
  • Giants at Dodgers
  • Nuggets at Lakers
  • Stars at Ducks
April 8-10 Friday
  • Blue Jays at Angels
  • Dodgers at Padres
  • Kings at Ducks
Saturday
  • Blue Jays at Angels
  • Dodgers at Padres
  • Ducks at Kings
  • Crew at Chivas USA
Sunday
  • Blue Jays at Angels
  • Dodgers at Padres
  • Thunder at Lakers
April 15-17 Friday
  • Cardinals at Dodgers
Saturday
  • Cardinals at Dodgers
Sunday
  • Cardinals at Dodgers
April 22-24 Friday
  • Red Sox at Angels
  • 76ers at Padres
Saturday
  • Red Sox at Angels
  • 76ers at Padres
  • Timbers at Galaxy
Sunday
  • Red Sox at Angels
  • 76ers at Padres
April 29-May 1 Friday
  • Padres at Dodgers
Saturday
  • Padres at Dodgers
  • Revolution at Chivas USA
Sunday
  • Padres at Dodgers

SPW Review: Los Angeles and San Diego, October 2-3

Monday, October 4th, 2010


There’s a lot to love about a southern California Sports Power Weekend. Leaving New York during a rainstorm to come out to beautiful sunny Los Angeles is certainly not the worst thing in the world, and knowing that you have a great weekend ahead of you with your friends (two who live in LA) and family (my brother who lives in San Diego) makes things a little more special; of course, going to USC-Washington and then driving down to San Diego for Chargers-Cardinals adds some excitement as well.

Getting in on Thursday night and settling in is usually best for a long weekend in LA. You can wake up on Friday and get the day started instead of taking an early morning flight from NY, landing around noon and already being exhausted. Either way you have to miss work on Friday, so you might as well take a flight after work Thursday and maximize your time.

Friday was a relaxing day; having been in LA many times before I didn’t hit the touristy spots. Of course I made some time for In-N-Out though (double-double, as per usual). The Dodgers were in town this weekend and hosted the Diamondbacks Friday night, although we weren’t able to go. Dodger Stadium is one of the historic, must-visit stadiums in baseball, and the setting in Chavez Ravine with the surrounding San Gabriel Mountains is spectacular. When you go you should stop in to nearby sandwich shop Phillipe’s for a french dipped sandwich before the game.

Staying in West Hollywood meant that we were going to Quality Food and Beverage for breakfast on Saturday. They have some really tasty omelettes and frittatas, and serve moist, mouth-watering biscuits as an alternative to toast. We then watched some college football before heading towards downtown LA for the USC tailgate and eventually making our way to the LA Coliseum for the USC-Washington game. The tailgate is really is a sight to behold. Going to the University of Michigan I had grown accustomed to tailgates at houses or outside of the stadium, but at USC they set up their tents and grills right in the middle of the campus. The courtyards and quads outside of their library and classrooms are just flooded with Trojans fans having a party before the game. The smells of the grills, the sun shining and all of the beautiful people mix to make an incredible and memorable pregame experience. We made our way through the picturesque Rose Garden on the way to the historic Coliseum; site of two Olympics (1932 and 1984) and the first-ever Super Bowl.

The Coliseum is now pretty dilapidated and lacks the amenities and technology of more modern stadiums. The video board is small and doesn’t service the entire stadium, and the concourses are tight and lack top-notch food options. Outside of the seating area there are stands and tents set up with a wide variety of food options (including a Chick-Fil-A), but they are not close to the seats and require you to miss much of the action if you want to check them out. The game was an exciting one with Washington Huskies quarterback Jake Locker putting on a performance worthy of his first-round NFL Draft projections. Washington took down USC on a last-second game-winning field goal for the second year in a row. USC fans were pretty beaten up about it, but as non-partisan fan it was a fun time and a great ending.

On Sunday morning we drove down to San Diego (about a two-hour drive) and checked out Seau’s a few miles from Qualcomm for the early slate of NFL games. The Chargers game was at 1:15 local time so we headed towards the stadium for kickoff. Parking was definitely an issue and resulted in us missing a portion of the first quarter. The trolley to Qualcomm Stadium is actually a very suitable alternative. I always advise public transportation to games when it is possible. It saves money on parking and it is very often a big time-saver.

The drawbacks to the LA Coliseum are similar to those at Qualcomm; it is an antiquated stadium that has a hard time holding up to the new age NFL stadiums. Compared to some of the other NFL stadiums I have attended this year (Cowboys Stadium, New Meadowlands Stadium, Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium and M&T Bank Stadium), Qualcomm doesn’t even compare. The fans in the stadium were loud and supportive and the weather was a huge plus, so the gameday experience was positive overall. The Chargers handily took care of the Cardinals which contributed to the fans’ positive moods.

After the game we headed back to my brother’s apartment to unwind before heading out to dinner in Pacific Beach. The Shore Club was a full-out party so we went across the street to Firehouse to watch Sunday Night Football and get some grub. If only the Padres had beaten the Giants on Sunday and hosted a one-game playoff at Petco on Monday; we could have extended the Sports Power Weekend for another night.