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The Cush Cam Blog: Friday Morning Update

1:54 AM, Jan 3, 2014   |    comments
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Hey everyone.  Thanks for taking the time to read this blog.  I hope to have one each day while Chris and I are in California covering this year's BCS National Championship Game in Pasadena.  We have a lot of work ahead of us when it comes to gathering content for our sportscasts, so that's why I can't guarantee that I'll have a blog each day, but it is my goal.  It doesn't help that we're 3 hours behind.  That means First Coast News at 5 really begins at 2:00 for us which means that our deadlines come 3 hours earlier.

Thursday was primarily a travel day for us.  As you might've seen on Twitter (follow me @CushCam) or on TV, one of our layovers was in Austin, TX.  I've been to this airport once before and I can remember walking past a sports bar that appears to be owned by Texas legend, Earl Campbell.  This time around, that's where Chris and I chose to eat lunch.  The food was just average, but I liked all of the sports memorabilia in honor of "The Tyler Rose."

We had another stop in Phoenix.  It was cool to see aerial views of all 3 major sports venues in this area from the airplane.  I could see University of Phoenix Stadium (home of the Cardinals) in the distance from where our play flew overhead, but we were really close the arena where the Suns play and the baseball stadium where the D-Backs play.  I also saw a few players from the Michigan State football team in the Phoenix airport.  They were trying to get home from Pasadena while we were trying to get there.

We finally arrived at the John Wayne Airport in Orange County around 9:00 Eastern.  Some of our luggage didn't arrive with us, and as I type this blog at 1:45 a.m. Eastern, I still don't have any fresh clothes to wear on Friday nor do I have the bag of snacks my wife packed for me.  The airline gave me a replacement toiletry kit since I don't have the ones I packed.  I've been told that I should have the missing luggage by the morning.

Well, now that we're here, I'm really looking forward to this trip for a lot of reasons.  First and foremost is the great opportunity to cover a big-time sporting event at a historic venue.  While I've covered my share of big games, this will be the first time that I will have a lot of time in front of the camera instead of being behind it as I've done so many times in the past.  It was a different experience packing for this trip because I've never had to bring blazers and ties on the road before since I've never had as much on-camera responsibility as I do now.  In previous years, I've been able to get away with a collared shirt, a pair of shorts, and even a ball cap, but not anymore.  I'm known considered as "talent.'

Being able to attend a game at The Rose Bowl will allow me to check another item off my bucket list (for more, see the bottom of this blog).  I know this is the final year of the BCS, but this is the only one of the BCS bowl venues that I've never attended or covered a game in.  I've been to BCS National Championship Games hosted by the Orange Bowl twice (FSU vs. Oklahoma in 2000 and UF vs. Oklahoma in 2008).  I've been to one Sugar Bowl game (FSU vs. Georgia in 2002) and I've been to one BCS National Championship Game hosted by the Fiesta Bowl (UF vs. Ohio State in 2006).

While it was fun to cover two of the Gators football program's three victories in national championship games, I've never been able to see Florida State (my alma mater and favorite team as a child) win a national championship in person.  I was at the old Orange Bowl stadium on New Year's Day in 1994 when FSU beat Nebraska to win the first national championship in program history, but my dad and I were not able to find tickets to the game outside the stadium, so we listened to the game on the radio while sitting in a parked car while my uncle and cousin were inside the stadium.

When Florida State lost in the 1996 and 1998 championship games to Florida and Tennessee respectively, I was in high school at that time, so I watched both games on TV.  The Seminoles' national championship in 1999 against Virginia Tech came during my freshman year in college.  I thought about going to the game, but I wasn't sure if I could get a ticket, and I didn't realize that New Orleans was only a 5 hour drive from Tallahassee.  I regretted not going after seeing what a great game the Seminoles and Hokies played.  I did however get to partake in some impromptu victory celebrations on Tennessee Street in Tallahassee that night after watching the game in my dorm room.

When FSU played Oklahoma the next year for the national championship in Miami, I had learned my lesson from the year before, so I was lucky enough to buy a ticket for a seat in the upper deck for $100.  It turned out to be an awful game.  FSU's offense couldn't get anything going.  Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke had an off night.  His star wide receiver Snoop Minnis was ineligible to play in the game because of academics.  Most of the other receivers including the great Anquan Boldin had trouble catching the ball in this game.  The only dependable receiver on that night if I remember correctly was Jacksonville's own Atrews Bell.  Rumor has it that Mark Richt, in his final game as FSU's offensive coordinator, spent too much time preparing for his next job as the new head coach at Georgia instead of preparing a quality game plan for current job at the time with the Noles.

Anyway, it's been a long 13 years since FSU last played for a chance to win a national championship.  This will be an opportunity of a lifetime to be in California covering the events leading up to the game and then the game itself.  Like I said, it was a fun experience covering the Gators teams with Chris Leak, Percy Harvin, and Tim Tebow, but I think my expertise that comes from following FSU football closely since I was 6 years old will come in handy during this trip.  It just so happens that the first Seminoles season that I can remember is 1987, the first of the so called "dynasty years" in which FSU finished in the top 5 for 14 consecutive seasons.  Who knows, maybe this year will be the beginning of a new dynasty?

Cush's Bucket List

- Pro Football Hall of Fame:  My wife took me there for my 30th birthday. Great present, huh?

- Wrigley Field:  I planned a trip to Chicago for my wife's birthday one year.  She my girlfriend at the time, but I managed sneak a Cubs game into the itinerary. The actual purpose of the trip was to propose to her, but my plan wasn't coming together, so I ended up doing it at a Jaguars game before we went to Chicago.  It turns out that proposing at the Jaguars game was better than anything I could've dreamed of doing for a proposal in Chicago.

- Fenway Park:  I went to a game there with my mom when I was in 6th grade. That was more than 20 years ago, so I need to make another trip to Beantown.

- Yankee Stadium:  I went to a couple games at the old stadium and have been to one at the new stadium.

- AT&T Park in San Franciso:  My parents were nice enough to take me there about 10 years ago when we visited California for my great uncle's 75th birthday.  Somehow, my brother and I scored front row seats in left field which happened to be where Barry Bonds was playing all night.  We saw him hit career home run number 685, and I think it splashed into McCovey Cove.

- AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX:  I've only seen the new home of the Cowboys from the outside, so does this count?

- Olympics:  My uncle always treated me like I was one of his kids, so he took me on a road trip to Atlanta in '96 with his family.  We attended the gold medal game for womens basketball in which USA defeated Brazil.

- Rose Bowl:  I'll be able to check this off the list in the next few days.

- Notre Dame:  Maybe I'll get there some day?

- Lambeau Field:  See the description for Notre Dame.

- Clemson's version of Death Valley:  Looks like a fun place to watch a game, but I've never been.

- Kyle Field at Texas A&M:  See description of Clemson.  Would've been fun to see Johnny Football play in person for the Aggies, but maybe we'll have the chance to see him play for the Jaguars?

- Cameron Indoor Stadium:  I would love to see the Cameron Crazies in person.

- Sports Authority Field at Mile High:  I would imagine it's cool to see a game at that elevation.

- Century Link Field (I think that's what the Seahawks stadium is called):  It's supposed to be the loudest stadium in the NFL, so why not check it out in person to hear the noise for myself?

- Augusta National:  The place is immaculate from what I hear.

- Kentucky Derby:  I'm not really into horse racing.  I'll watch the race in most years, but it seems like quite the event to go to.

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