The Stuben Travel Agency at a winery. Let's hope he didn't rent a car that weekend.
Many of you might already know Mike Stuben, as he's been a USF Athletics ticket sales representative for the last 15 years. Mike left USF just last month, which is bad news for the Bulls as his passion and talents will be missed. But it's great news for us and our readers, because we're going to put him to work around here where we can.
Mike has been traveling to Bulls games wherever they are played since before we even had a football program (and we both just got back from the Women's College World Series last week). The overwhelming majority of the time, he's done it on his own nickel. But the travel bargains he's found over the years have become legendary amongst his friends. There was the time Spirit Air made a pricing mistake, and he booked flights for about two dozen of us to the FIU game in Miami for $1 per person. Or the trip he took to South Africa about six weeks ago... he went for all of four days, because it cost him under $100 to do so. This is not hyperbole, these things actually happened.
And then there was the Wendy's-Airtran promotion where 32 large sodas equaled a free one-way flight; I can't discuss even what may or may not have been done to secure empty cups as I'm not sure the statute of limitations has passed. But things like this are the reason he's also got over a million frequent flyer miles in the bank, is heading to the Dominican tomorrow for four nights at an all-inclusive resort for under $100, and has been seemingly everywhere on earth at least twice. We'll let Mike take it from here, but we'll keep his genius coming all summer. And if a bargain or great deal to a Bulls destination pops up this summer, we'll let you know about it... as soon as we book it for ourselves first.
For college football fans, we are now in the dog days of summer. Spring football is over, recruits are signed, and the start of fall camp seems like it will never get here. I propose that now is the time to begin making plans for the fall. And since it's too soon to buy the ribs for the first home tailgate, let's take a look at joining the Bulls on the road this fall.
I have been very fortunate to have only missed eight USF Football games in the program's history. While the experiences have numerous and incredible, here are a couple of Top 10 lists to give you just an idea of the awesome things I've gotten to see and do first hand.
Top 10 USF on-field moments I saw on the road:
9. USF's first shutout at Cumberland. The field didn't have a fence or green grass. Fans could cut across the field to visit friends sitting on the other side.
8. USF losing at Rutgers on Thursday night. We arrived in New Jersey #2 in the country and in complete control of our destiny... you know what happened.
7. Watching Andre Hall explode for 275 rushing yards in a monsoon vs. UAB at Legion Field.
6. USF announcing their presence to the world by beating Pittsburgh in 2001. I flew home September 9, 2001, just two days before the world would change.
5. Going into the heart of SEC country and beating Auburn. The freshman for Auburn who lost to USF would be National Champions as seniors. (Ed: I was Mike's co-chaperone for the Student Bulls Club this game... This is far and away #1 on my list, and I was at 4, 3, and 1 too).
4. Watching walk-on freshman QB Bobby Eveld force overtime and then lead USF to the win at Miami.
3. Seeing USF win a bowl game for the first ever time in Birmingham against Skip Holtz's East Carolina Pirates.
2. Freshman QB B.J. Daniels leading USF to victory in his hometown against Florida State.
1. Touchdown Jesus keeping a watchful eye on his favorite team beating Notre Dame in South Bend.
More from Stuben, and a great guide to the Nevada game, after the jump:
9. Cheese steaks in Philly.
8. The Boardwalk in Atlantic City.
7. Visiting Dealey Plaza in Dallas and walking up the grassy knoll and looking behind the picket fence.
6. Times Square in NYC.
5. Sitting in the front row of the bleachers at Wrigley behind right fielder Sammy Sosa.
4. Thought-provoking moments in Oklahoma City at the site of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
3. Walking around the campus at West Point.
2. Joining a Vietnam veteran at the wall in Washington as he searched for names of friends who didn't make it home.
1. Having Oklahoma fans warmly welcome USF fans. They all wanted to offer us food, drink and share a story about the great Lee Roy Selmon.
So to me, the trips are much more than just going to a football game. It's a chance to experience and explore. And I think our first one this year is a great way to kick it off.
Closest Airport: RNO - Reno, Nevada
Alternative Airport: SMF - Sacramento, CA
Things To Do
Did I mention that Reno is the bowling capital of the world? I noticed a marking on my tourist map that said "bowling stadium." I was slightly curious, but never curious enough to actually go and take a look.
Here's a very cool day trip: head south out of Reno towards Carson City and Lake Tahoe, but take the long way, Route 341 through Virginia City.
Eat Like A Local
Bite the bullet on this rare trip west for our Bulls. It's a great destination. Think Thursday to Sunday at a minimum, but I would suggest leaving Wednesday or staying until Monday. I would want a rental car to explore, but if your plans are just to bounce from casino to casino as long as your stay downtown, everything is close enough to walk.