College football trailblazer Andrew Bauhs ranks the Ball State gameday experience

PHOTO PROVIDED
PHOTO PROVIDED

Schools Andrew has visited by conference: 

American: Tulane, UCF, Memphis, Cincinnati, Navy, Houston

Atlantic Coast: Wake Forest, Duke, Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, NC State, North Carolina, Louisville 

Big 10: Illinois, Rutgers, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Iowa, Purdue, Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State, Nebraska 

Big 12: Texas, Iowa State, West Virginia, Kansas State

Conference USA: Marshall, Western Kentucky, Rice, Middle Tennessee

Independent: Notre Dame, New Mexico State 

MAC: Ball State, Miami (Ohio), Toledo, Northern Illinois, Western Michigan, Akron, Bowling Green, Kent State, Ohio, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan

Mountain West: San Diego State, Utah State, Fresno State, Wyoming, Colorado State, Air Force

PAC 12: USC, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, California, Colorado

SEC: LSU, Florida, Ole Miss, Arkansas, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri 

Sun Belt: Arkansas State, Georgia State, Troy, Appalachian State, 

From the Rose Bowl to the Glass Bowl, elementary school teacher and self-proclaimed “College Football Superhero” Andrew Bauhs has hit a little over half of the 130 college football stadiums in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision. 

The quest for 130 started when Bauhs was a student at the University of Wisconsin. After following the team around the Big 10 and picking up some extra cash post-college, Bauhs found himself in an interesting situation. 

“After college, I moved out to Colorado for a year, and when I moved out there I saw games at Colorado, Colorado State, Air Force and Wyoming,” Bauhs said. “Then it hit me. How many stadiums have I been to? It was nearing 20, and I wondered if anyone had gone to all of the FBS stadiums before, and no one had.” 

Growing up watching his Badgers play at home and away, Bauhs was interested in the idea of what kind of culture each institution had in store. Whether it was bitter rival Minnesota or neighbor to the south Northwestern, there was something from each school that caught his attention.  

“What’s so neat is how it’s more about what’s happening on the field and more about how each stadium created its traditions and cultures to cultivate a Saturday afternoon,” Bauhs said. 

First visiting Scheumann Stadium in 2006, Bauhs made his return to Muncie on Sept. 22 as Ball State took on Western Kentucky. Having a less than exciting trip to Ball State 12 years ago, his return offered a different experience from last. 

Two weeks after the Cardinals challenged at the time No. 8 Notre Dame, the team returned home for the first time since the matchup, taking on an evenly matched Hilltoppers team. With 15,873 fans filling the stands, Bauhs said the environment proved to be an exciting one.

“I was really happy the stadium was full-ish,” Bauhs said. “They had just finished playing well against Notre Dame, and I think that was very exciting for the Ball State faithful.” 

Since his last visit in 2006, Scheumann Stadium received a $4 million facelift by the Scheumann family, giving the attraction a much needed update. This renovation included a new football training center and an updated press box. 

“The new stadium is beautiful,” Bauhs said. “I love the new columns that were put up at one end of the end zone. I spent some time up in the press box, and that was very nice. All of that was not there when I first went. The stadium is very, very nice.” 

These upgrades have given an edge to the stadium compared to other FBS schools. Bauhs said the nice upgrades make the stadium a comfortable place to watch a game.

Outside of the stadium, Ball State students and alumni have held their tailgates to a high standard. Visiting some of the top tailgates in the nation in LSU and Tennessee, Bauhs said the Cardinals’ tailgate gives off some big school vibes. 

“I was very surprised by the intensity of the tailgating,” Bauhs said. “I went over to the Cardinal Walk, and that was fun to see the band and the cheerleaders. I strolled away from the parking lot into the grassfields and beyond and I rolled my camera through that. I was blown away by how condensed all the tailgating was and how much of it was.” 

With Bauhs traveling to 11 of the 12 MAC schools, he ranks the the Cardinals in the top third of MAC schools’ game day experiences next to Toledo, Central Michigan and Ohio.

“I think it deserves to be there,” Bauhs said. “It’s one of those places you’re excited to go to but didn’t expect to have as good of a time as you did. Some MAC schools are really run of the mill, but it’s not by any means lacking at all. “   

However, the big question remains: Where does Ball State rank with some of the top football schools in the country? Making the trek from Chicago to Muncie, Bauhs gives his experience at Ball State a B. 

“I’m putting that a little bit in the context of the power five versus lower five, but I’d rather go to Ball State than some power five schools,” Bauhs said. 

Contact Jack Williams with any comments at jgwilliams@bsu.edu or on Twitter @jackgwilliams 

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