Programming note: Hey folks, this is going to be an extremely rare recurring feature that I’ll write up whenever I (or Matt and Bob if they are so inclined) visit a college. Every post in this feature will give an overview of key areas of the school, things I did while visiting, and a series of ratings based on how I liked it. This will not go into the academics of the school because I didn’t attend any classes and there’s no point in me telling you that Florida State University isn’t a particularly great academic institution because you already knew that. Let’s go.
I’m writing this on a Monday, the day after returning to Miami from Tallahassee, and my back still hasn’t recovered from the two nine-hour bus rides required for the trip. Who knew Florida was such a long state? Anyway, I’m happy to report that the trip to FSU was more than worth the price—both financial and physical. Let’s break down what I discovered in my first visit to Florida State by category and rank each from 1 to 5 stars.
Tallahassee isn’t exactly a small town, but it’s certainly not a bustling hub either. Nestled in the northwest part of Florida, make no mistake, this is definitely part of the South. As we Miami fans love to say, Tallahassee is home to two national championships and eight Waffle Houses! (Side note on Waffle House: I ate there three times in 24 hours because it was right next to our hotel. The price for two eggs, hash browns and toast: $3.84. Maybe this Southern thing isn’t so bad after all.) The area itself is gorgeous and the weather is much more similar to Kentucky than Miami—hot summer, absolutely beautiful fall, cold winter. The downside of Tallahassee is that it’s pretty isolated from everything; you’d need to drive at least a couple hours even to get to Jacksonville. 3 stars
Wonderful. The buildings are mostly brick and there is ample green space and trees. As you would expect for a university with over 40,000 undergrads (!!!), the campus is big but students insisted that it feels quite small after living there awhile. Walking around before the game, there were a few different bar options that were jammed with people and great atmosphere. My friend and I chose Cantina, a Mexican bar, to eat and watch the day games. Overall, FSU has everything you can ask for in a college campus: picturesque buildings (see: top of this post), greenery, a fantastic football stadium (more on that in a minute), and great bars and restaurants. 5 stars
This is what I really can’t gush enough about. Wearing full Miami gear, I expected to be berated and possibly physically attacked. (I’d heard horror stories about Miami students going up there in the past.) Instead, the things I heard most throughout the day were “welcome to Tallahassee” and “we’re glad you’re here.” People were so kind it was almost unsettling. I kept waiting to be told to eat shit or go die and it just never happened. There were plenty of people walking around in “Sucks to be U” shirts, but whatever. The worst that really happened was an extremely inebriated frat boy waddling up to give me a piece of his mind, but he was hardly belligerent. I simply patted him on the back and said, “I’m sorry about your degree.” Literally the only other taunt I faced the entire day was when someone told me to “go back to Cuba,” which was hilarious. Also, not that I was looking since I’m in a committed relationship, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that single college males would like the options available to them in Tallahassee. 5 stars
Wow. Doak Campbell Stadium is huge and gorgeous. With a capacity of nearly 84,000, they certainly pack people in there and it was quite the spectacle. Every seat in the stadium was taken—WITH 30 MINUTES STILL ON THE KICKOFF COUNTDOWN CLOCK. Check out this photo I snapped from my seat (again, 30 minutes prior to kickoff):
The atmosphere once the game started was absolutely electric. The stadium was so loud that I could literally feel the vibrations in my ears and they were still ringing WHEN I WOKE UP THE NEXT MORNING. The Tomahawk Chop thing is totally racist…but extremely cool as well. The pregame with Chief Osceola gave me chills and the whole experience is definitely something I would recommend to anyone that loves college football. Here’s the video I took with my phone pregame of both teams taking the field (35 second mark) followed by Chief Osceola stabbing his flaming spear into the turf (3:30 mark). It does get a little shaky when Miami takes the field because everyone in our section was going nuts and my iPhone couldn’t stay steady. Aside from that, it’s pretty smooth. (I apologize for the loud Miami band right behind us and my complete geeking out over how awesome the whole thing was.)
That video gives you an idea of what it was like but really doesn’t even come close to doing the experience justice. Even though the game didn’t end well for Miami, I walked away with nothing but respect and admiration for the FSU football program and the pageantry surrounding it. 5 stars
This place was just unbelievable to visit. My friends and I came away in unanimous agreement that we would not even consider applying anywhere else in a world where the quality of your degree didn’t matter. In terms of visiting for a weekend, drop everything and go as soon as you can. I really can’t hype a football weekend at this place enough. Between the elite football experience and their Southern hospitality (without having to bring yourself into the heart of Klan territory like you would in Oxford, Mississippi or Tuscaloosa, Alabama), you won’t be disappointed. And oh yeah, Jameis Winston is pretty good too. When can I transfer? 5 stars