Is nothing sacred anymore?
It just ain't natural, and it's an absolute shame that the real Black Hole will be no more.
One of the great things about college sports is that a university can't just pack up and leave. Notre Dame isn't leaving South Bend, Alabama isn't leaving Tuscaloosa, and Ohio State isn't leaving Columbus.
However, last week's Raiders vote got us thinking about classic college football games that make their homes at neutral sites. We're talking rivalry games, classic bowl games and even the sport's most historic conference championship. Moving these games from their rightful homes would be downright disrespectful to the sport and its fans.
Here are seven games that would be blasphemous to move:
1. The Rose Bowl -- Pasadena, California: With the Cotton, Orange and Fiesta bowls all moving from their traditional stadiums in recent years, it seems like the "Granddaddy of Them All" is one of the last true sacred bowl sites. The game itself started off in Tournament Park in Pasadena in 1902 and was played there from 1916-22, but it was permanently moved down the street to the Rose Bowl in 1923. The Rose Bowl Game is one of the world's most iconic sporting events and the Rose Bowl itself is one of the world's most iconic arenas. This is hallowed ground.
2. The Sugar Bowl -- New Orleans: Like the Rose Bowl, the Sugar Bowl hasn't allowed all the change in the world of college football to push it out of its rightful home. The Sugar Bowl has been in New Orleans since 1935, and while it spent its first 39 years at Tulane Stadium, it has called the Superdome home since 1975. Extensive damage from Hurricane Katrina temporarily moved the game to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta in 2006.
3. The SEC Championship -- Atlanta: The sport's first two conference championships were at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1992 and 1993. But since 1994, Atlanta and the Georgia Dome have embraced the SEC title game. Atlanta is the center of the SEC universe, with the majority of universities being within seven hours of driving distance. It might be moving to a posh new home in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, but taking this game out of Atlanta would be criminal.
4. Texas-Oklahoma -- Dallas: The Red River Showdown -- as it's now called -- has been played since 1900, but these two didn't play in Dallas until 1912. Since 1929, the game has been played annually at the Cotton Bowl stadium in Dallas during the second weekend of the State Fair of Texas in October. Both campuses are about equidistant from Dallas, and having the State Fair in the background just adds to an already incredible atmosphere.
5. Florida-Georgia -- Jacksonville, Florida: One of the great rivalries in college football, Florida-Georgia (or Georgia-Florida) was first played in Jacksonville in 1915. But it wasn't the permanent home for the rivalry until 1933. It was played there uninterrupted until a home-and-home series was set in 1994-95 because of stadium renovations. From the view coming over the Hart Bridge toward the stadium to the nighttime mayhem at The Landing, this game is a must-see for any college football enthusiast.
6. Army-Navy -- Philadelphia: This game isn't always played here, but of the 117 times these two have played, 86 of them have come in the "City of Brotherly Love" -- starting in 1899. There's even a website devoted to how much Philadelphia loves the storied rivalry. New York City, Baltimore and Pasadena have hosted this game, but there's something special to the fans and the programs when this game is in Philly. It's hard to beat the atmosphere that city adds to this game.
7. The Bayou Classic -- New Orleans: The annual meeting between Grambling State and Southern has been going on for 43 years and is the biggest event of the year for historically black colleges and universities. It might not be an FBS staple, but it certainly is huge in the college football realm. The bands. The food. The dances. The tailgates. The food. The pageantry. The food. New Orleans and the Superdome aren't just locations ... they are part of the rivalry.