Best SEC game-weekend experience: Music overshadows football at No. 11


11-vandyI love music almost as much as I love sports. So, while I can’t tell you that Vanderbilt football is an amazing experience, I can tell you that Nashville – otherwise known as “Music City” – is a magnificent place. And the Music Row area of town as good as any stretch in any college football city, SEC or otherwise.

For that reason, Vanderbilt comes in at No. 11 on my list of the best SEC road-trip experiences. Here’s No. 12 on my list, and two schools tied for 13th.

I've been to Vanderbilt countless times. I've worked Saturday games there. I've worked Thursday games there – three Thursdays in all. I love the charm of Vanderbilt Stadium – or Dudley Field, as it once was known – and I love the pristine campus. I also love that I can look out of my room in the Marriott and into the stadium. I've never worked a game from my hotel room, but you could at Vandy.

I also appreciate the recent renovations. In 2012, Vanderbilt installed a new artificial turf field, and upgraded the berm near one of the end zones and the concession area and landscaping around it. It is the first time I thought the stadium had the look of a real college football venue.

I also had the national radio call on the first game played after that renovation, the Thursday night season-opener against eighth-ranked South Carolina. The Gamecocks won a nail-biter 17-13, but you could tell we were watching two good teams. James Franklin had it going at Vandy.

The Commodores lost the next week, too, at Northwestern, in another close one. After that, they went 9-2 the rest of the way, wound up 5-3 in the SEC and finished with a top-25 ranking for the first time since 1948.

What I liked best: The best thing about a trip to Nashville is a night on Music Row. It is spectacular. But the night of that South Carolina game, I remember Franklin coming out early and addressing the student section. It was real, emotional and well-received. I've never forgotten it.

Location: Nashville (population, about 660,000)
Stadium: Vanderbilt Stadium (40,350)
Enrollment: 6,882

(You can follow Frank Frangie on Twitter @Frank_Frangie)

© 2016, Frank Frangie. All rights reserved.

© 2016, gridironnow.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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