The best and most entertaining MSU bowl game memories

As a generality, I tend to be an experiences-over-possessions kind of guy. If given the choice on The Price Is Right or some other hypothetical situation, I’d opt for the two-week vacation over the new car, assuming I already have a working vehicle of my own, even if it’s not as nice.

Things, no matter how expensive, are typically both replaceable and mass-produced. Memories and experiences are not. It’s one of the reasons places like Disney World are so successful. The most magical place on earth plays on the nostalgic and child-like parts of anyone who goes, making the experience fun and memorable.

The same idea of experiences is why people go to football games. To be a part of the action, to participate in hopeful victory and to get the full experience of camaraderie, both with team and with fans.

At the end of each season, if the fans are lucky, the journey is capped off by one more experience. Rather than a weekend drive to Starkville, those who choose to do so are rewarded with a nearly week-long trip to one of the country’s favorite cities, be it Pasadena, Jacksonville, Dallas or Charlotte.

As Mississippi State waits a few more days to find out where it’s bowl experience will be this year, I took to Twitter and asked for State fans favorite memories of bowl games past. If you didn’t get to share yours, feel free to fill up the comments section at the bottom.

Chris Relf with the Gator Bowl MVP Trophy

Mac Huddleston – My wife copied video footage to disc tonight and played some it on the television. Ironically or coincidentally, the first video was Christmas morning 2010. On that morning after all the gifts were opened, I brought packages for the three children who were still at home and one for my wife. I asked everyone to open the packages at the same time. Smiles came to those faces in unison as they opened the packages and saw the Gator Bowl sweatshirts.  Then came the question, “Daddy are we going to the Gator Bowl?” Then my wife opened her special gift: a Christmas tree plaque inscribed with “Going to Jacksonville with my cowbell”. Yes, we went to Jacksonville and enjoyed ourselves immensely. That was a great trip. I look forward to this year being even better.

I’m a sucker for a good Christmas story, and this isn’t the last one.

@mclelland_matt: 2007 liberty bowl with Swole and jay. Froze my butt off and didn’t wear a jacket. Stayed at the Peabody and had a blast.

It’s a miracle of nature you didn’t die at that game without a jacket.

@joeyharvey: Gator Bowl 2 years ago. Dawg Pound Party was the time of my life. Jacksonville Landing was MAROON all over.

@clcogdill: when on our way back from Jacksonville one of the cars broke down. Rode 9 hours with 6 ppl+luggage back to mem tn. Great time.

Isn’t it weird how sometimes the best memories come from when everything goes wrong? Though, if you’re a State fan, your car problems came after a big win. Not all bad.

@phawk05: there were 7 of us in one room at Gator Bowl. Had folks sleeping in the bathtub. Does that count?


This is just a tiny section of the INSIDE of the Gaylord Opryland. Seriously. Place is a jungle maze.

Sarah Parker – Bob, I was a member of the Famous Maroon Band for the 2010 and 2011 seasons. I am now the auxiliary instructor for the FMB. Last year, the Music City Bowl halftime show was my final color guard performance of my life. After 12 years in band, I was finally going to stop performing. When we were invited to the Music City Bowl, I saw the ticket giveaway and submitted my name and email address even though I knew that I would already be attending. I immediately forgot about entering the competition after clicking off of the page. A couple of weeks later I received an email and a Twitter notification that I had won. Although I personally couldn’t take advantage of the entire package that I won, my family was able to come to the game and attend many events for free. We were all given sideline tickets, which I took advantage of before sitting with the band for the game. The best part about this trip (even better than our free Gaylord Hotel rooms, Zac Brown Band concert tickets, and New Year’s Eve in Nashville) was the fact that my family was able to see and support my final performance with the Famous Maroon Band.

Only Disney Magic could convince me anything was better than free rooms at the Gaylord. That place is like a miniature Disney World itself. I, truthfully as can be, got lost three times in that place last year, and that is in no way a bad thing.

@murphyd15: been overseas each time the Bulldogs been to a bowl game. Although I was at the SEC Championship in 1998. #HailState

We all thank you for your service and allowing us the freedom to go to bowl games. You are appreciated.

@cheryl162: The last three, planning on the next one. It’s become a family tradition.

@pszim: Went to the SEC Championship w/ @johnrogerswood and @whartlein but unfortunately can’t share any stories. #epic

Got a lot of these. I can only imagine.

@Norbes: @Gator_Bowl, stopped by FSU, snuck into DoakCampbell, PUTTPUTT!, NYE fireworks at Jxnville river walk, then Dawgs own Mich.

What is it about the state of Florida that makes us all think, “I’m really feelin’ some putt putt golf today, y’all.” Sidebar: once ran into Hines Ward on a putt putt golf course just after he won a Super Bowl. Then I got beat by a girl. It happens.

@TheBp15: Music City Bowl last year, our waiter thought we were having homecoming in Nashville because of all the state fans there. Lol

@bulldog2001: running into Nick Bells mom at the hotel in Jacksonville in 2010 and all seven of us group hugging her. Very cool moment.

@DCC1216: I was told our fan base was the best a wake forest fan had seen last year and asked to buy my cowbell but I couldn’t part ways

@ParrotheadDawg: Been 2 all bowl games since I was born (67): 2 Suns, HOF, 3 Peaches, 2 Liberties, Indy, Gator, Music City

@DawgatAuburn: Dollar says 75% of them are about the Snow Bowl and how it, you know, snowed.

Well, since you asked, here’s a good one from the Snow Bowl.

Chris Lineberger – This is one of the infamous “Snow Bowl”. This was my last football game as a student so I didn’t want to miss this one. I went many of places to watch my bulldogs play during my 6 years of college. So I had to make sure and make this one. I was dating a girl that was going to U of Alabama at the time. So I had the bright idea that she might enjoy going with and spending New Years together. So to tell her I was taking her with me to this one, I put a MSU sweatshirt, cowbell, and ticket in a box and wrapped and gave it to her for Christmas. Well lets just say she was excited I wanted to take her with me but could care less about the gear. I can be somewhat of a procrastinator, so as I was trying to book a hotel a week before the game, the closest one was about 45 mins south. We set off on our little adventure together and begin discussing things in preparation for the game, mainly weather. We get to the hotel and check in and get ready to head out to the game, cuz I’ve gotta get there early to watch warmups. As we are walking in I say “wouldn’t it be cool if it snowed??”  Wasn’t planning on a full blizzard. Well the game is going along not so great for the bulldogs and she is freezing. So I say if we don’t do anything on this drive we can go. Then boom we bust the long run for a touchdown. The look on her face was priceless. Now by this time the stands were not full by any means, and there are now snowmen in their places. I believe it is mid way through the 4th and over the PA system they announce that interstate 49 has been closed for the night. And wouldn’t you known it that’s where we were staying. So as I am trying to figure out where we were going to sleep for the night I run into a fraternity brother and his girlfriend. I ask if there is anyway we could stay there. Of course it’s New Year’s Eve so only 1 bed. I said fine we will sleep on the floor. Well the bulldogs win the game in OVERTIME which only adds to the situation. But we win and I’m happy. Now it’s time to find a place to grub. Of course by then the only thing we could find open is Waffle House so sure why not. While waiting for a table people start doing the countdown for the new year. Oh boy the excitement there was overwhelming.(complete sarcasm). Never the less we eat and make our way to the room and to sleep on the freezing cold concrete and slight draft coming under neath the door. Well the next morning we get some alternate directions back to our hotel because that’s where all our clothes were.  We get our things and head back to Starkville. We hit the road about 11 am. About 8 pm we check in to a hotel in RUSTON, LA!!!!!  That’s 75 miles!!!  I thought we were going to kill each other.   The traffic was so bad and the trucks couldn’t make it up the hills so we couldn’t go anywhere. Sat there for hours not moving, so I decided that would be a good spot to call it quits for the day plus New Year’s Day bowl games were on that night.   The next morning we finish the drive to Starkville. Not one word said the entire way home. We get to Starkville she grabs her bag gets in her car and leaves. We don’t speak for 2 months. Now the only reason I even tell this sad sad story is because today we have now been married for almost 8 years and have 2 wonderful boys and that story is one that we will both never forget.

This could easily be an Adam Sandler romantic comedy coming out in the summer of 2013.

@MShaneC: the last time I saw the clanger for my cowbell is when it flew out and barely missed the endzone camera at the peach bowl

@loggerhead81: well we were playing UNC in the Peach Bowl, we lost a family friend at fan fair. Then we could hear the band playing behind the big roll up door, then when the door opened here came said family friend leading the band out! Then when we got in the game a UNC fan spilled an adult beverage down my back, but he was very nice and apologized and bought me a coke. Then while walking back to the hotel the same family friend had had a few to many adult beverages and fell in a trash can. It was a great trip! I always love Atlanta!

I’m going to start ending all my stories with, “And then he fell in a trash can.”

To preface these next few stories, they were sent by friend of the blog and former MSU offensive lineman Mark Melichar. I’ve been around some of these, but to hear the player perspective and stories on bowl games is pretty fun, these coming from the Gator Bowl.

Mark Melichar –

-Several people got really sick Friday morning before the game on Saturday, including 3 linemen who were starters. Friday night before we all went to bed it was like “well who is going to wake up sick as a dog and throwing up tomorrow? Half of them had to get fluid IV’s to help rehydrate, I remember holding the fluid bags while they rigged them up until I got the idea to use a hotel luggage cart to hold them. Linemen always have each others back!

-DJ Looney swimming the Atlantic. Everyone dared him to do it, so he ran right into it with his khaki shorts on in December. Classic DJ Looney. I have photo evidence!

-Speaking of DJ, he swore he could bench 415 and would prove it at the bowl game. Let’s just say that the day before the game, the weight won that battle! Coach Hevesy got a kick out of it.

-I would say one of my favorite team events were the battles that took place on the go carts at the adventure park, needless to say it quickly turned into demolition derby with the whole team. Spin outs, wrecks and 5 wide on the track was the norm.

-Charles Mitchell was always playing the piano for us in the lobby while we would wait to go anywhere- that dude has some talent. Really cool to get to listen to him play.

-One neat part of the Gator Bowl was being able to tour the TPC Sawgrass golf course since I am a golfer myself. Top notch facility with lots of history, seeing the winners clubs on the wall was special. Leave it to DJ Looney to give us a tour of the clubhouse including the “Winners Locker Room”

-Having a couple nightly events with Michigan was a neat experience- getting to interact with the opponent during the week being polite and cordial, knowing on Saturday it was going to be a battle where you try to physically dominate the opponent makes for an odd feeling while bowling with them.

-The Gator Bowl staff treated us well and fed us well- an important aspect as an offensive lineman. Bowl games are special to the players for all the hard work they put into the season. Getting to visit an area like Jacksonville in the winter was great.

-Suiting up for my last game was an odd feeling and one I will never forget. We had a special group of seniors that year and the Michigan victory capped off a great season. I appreciate everything Coach Mullen and his staff did for us. Made the bowl trip a memorable one!

-I’ll never forget the thousands of fans that were at the Dawg Walk before the game when the buses were rolling up. Unbelievable to see (and hear) the support of all our great fans. Truly makes you appreciate representing such a great state and university. I may not have grown up a Mississippi State fan, but my experiences as a football player capped off by the bowl game in Jacksonville made me forever Maroon and White.

Thanks for passing those along, Mark.

@babzyyb: you would honestly question how we are still alive.

I presume this is a good thing, and at the very least, I’m happy you’re alive.

Patrick Wiggins – Last year’s Music City Bowl was the first Mississippi State Bowl game for me to attend, and I was able to go in a way most people only dream of. If you did not already know, I work for the MSU Spirit Groups (cheerleaders, pom squad and Bully) by shooting and editing video for their nationals competition. Last year, I found out last minute I would be going to the game with them and I was beyond excited. We got to Nashville a few days before the game and had a lot of free time before having to be at the pep rally and battle of the bands. But at both of these events, I was right in the middle of the action, standing between the two bands and mascots and cheerleaders at the battle. And then at the game, I was part of the dawg walk, got to see parts of the stadium not many people get to see, and was on the sidelines for the entire game. And on top of all this, it was my job to be there. I was getting PAID to have this experience. It was a heck of a trip and I think every bowl game I go to from now on will always be chasing after this one.

Thanks to everyone who sent in their memories, apologies to anyone I left out and I’m looking forward to making some memories this holiday season, wherever MSU finds itself bowling.

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3 Responses to The best and most entertaining MSU bowl game memories

  1. lmccain2012 says:

    REALLY good stuff here… Only people in the SEC can truly understand or appreciate it!

  2. jim arrington says:

    Gator bowl 2yrs ago. Made the trip with my brother in law, Carlisle Campbell. We had a blast. New years eve we tried to find a place to eat but everything was packed. We went to Ruth’s Chris hoping to squeeze in somewhere. We were told maybe after 10. We struck up a conversation with a young couple celebrating their anniversary. After about 10 minutes the guy asked us to join them and we did. We had a great time but I’m not so sure his bride was thrilled. I did buy their dinner though and I’m guessing he didn’t get any credit for that date night! The game was a dream come true for a lifelong Bulldog fan. Lets do it again this year!

  3. Bob Jackson says:

    My daughter, who was a student at Texas A & M at the time, bought tickets for us to go the the Independence “Snow Bowl” Bowl. The day arrived for the game and we traveled from my home just west of Fort Worth, Texas that afternoon. We knew that the weather forecast was for the possibility of snow with little accumulation. Just as we entered the stadium the snow began to fall. We were in the Aggie section and I was the only Bulldog (Class of ’67) fan around. The game began and we were soon behind by two touchdowns. We were high in the stadium on the north end. The wind was howling and I was wrapped in everything I had to keep warm, but was still shivering uncontrollably. We closed the gap some near halftime and the snow continued to fall so much that small plows had to remove the snow so the sidelines and 5 yard lines were visible. The final few minutes were awesome. We scored to pull within a TD, then the Aggies were backed up to their end zone when their quarterback threw a pass which we intercepted for a tying touchdown. The game went to overtime. I still can’t believe the incredible ending to the game. The Aggies started first on offense and their big back (a human bowling ball) scored on the first play. Then the real excitement was about to unfold as we blocked the extra point and one of our players grabbed the ball and ran it back for a two point conversion. State scored and we won. Then we had to drive 300 miles to get home. I drove 6 hours at about 30-40 mph to get home in the snow. Six inches fell during the game. I have never seen as many cars in the median as that night. We got home safely just as there was daylight. I will never forget that experience that my daughter and I got to share.

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