Jake Previews the College Football Playoff

AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX will be the host of the National Championship Game.

AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX will be the host of the National Championship Game.

We are getting close to college football bowl season, but things are going to be a little different this year. Yes you probably have heard by now that the college football playoff is beginning this bowl season, and with it some sweeping changes are changing how we crown the national champion. Goodbye to the former BCS National Championship and hello to the College Football Semi-Final Bowl games.

With four teams going into a win or go home playoff things are going to get very interesting. With all this said, it is time to breakdown my predicted top four for the season’s end!

My Top Four:

1. Alabama- Roll Tide! This Alabama team started out slow, but has quickly shaped into one of the best teams in college football this season. The Crimson Tide have soundly beaten some great teams such as the Mississippi State Bulldogs and LSU Tigers. They clearly can win out and easily take the SEC crown, but they have to be on upset alert when preparing to face Auburn. If the Crimson Tide can escape the Iron Bowl with a win, then they are a sure lock as the number one seed and SEC Champions.

2. Oregon- What can I say the Ducks are just too high powered of an offense to stop. Oh and don’t even get me started on Marcus Mariota’s dominance at quarterback. Mariota can torch you with his legs or his arm and teams really have not figured out how to stop the Ducks high octane attack. Sorry UCLA Bruins fans but this Oregon team is claiming the PAC-12 Title. I expect the Ducks to easily win the PAC-12 championship and be the number two seed.

3. Ohio State- Yes “The Ohio State” is my pick to end up in the three spot when the season is through! I do not believe Florida State can hold unto the three seed and will probably lose to the Gators by the season’s end, thus the Buckeyes come into play. This team passes the eye test and rookie quarterback JT Barrett has developed this season to become a solid starter under center while Braxton Miller was sidelined with injury. I expect this team to run the table, but that is more of a testament to how poorly the Big Ten is playing and less on the overall strength of the Buckeyes.

4. TCU- There has not been a TCU team this electrifying since Andy Dalton was playing at quarterback, but this team’s passing game under Trevone Boykin has been exceptional. The junior QB has been making all the right decisions and limiting his turnovers all season. I expect this team to easily get buy a rebuilding Longhorns team and to defeat a perennial Big 12 weakling in Iowa State. This team is too good not to finish in the top four, but the Big 12’s lack of a conference championship will hurt this team’s final seeding by season’s end.

Those are my projected final four standings by the season’s end! Sorry to the fans in Mississippi, but the Bulldogs and the Ole Miss Rebels just don’t seem capable of breaking the top four with these other quality teams ahead of them in the standings. Some of this may seem far-fetched just remember anything can happen with the new playoff selection committee.

Also be sure to book soon to see your favorite team play this Bowl Season whether you are thinking of seeing the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, or the National Championship at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. We have the best tickets and travel packages ready for you this college football bowl season!

My Journey Through Lake of the Ozarks

The rock formations within the cave were truly jaw dropping.

Before we get into the heart of this month’s travel blog I feel it would be best to introduce myself to you all. My name is Jake Alleruzzo, the newest addition to the Sports Traveler staff. I myself have a very deep passion for sports travel and thought writing our latest blog entry would be a great way to share my experiences with you fellow sports travelers.

About a month ago I took a trip to Missouri to a beautiful region called Lake of the Ozarks, located just a few miles south of Kansas City. Being in the far western edge of Missouri is quite a unique experience, considering the mixed fandom between Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals fans. While we were in the western tip of Missouri I could have sworn I was in the heart of Kansas City as I drove through town and saw Royals flags hanging about. This goes to show you that you never know what kind of fans you can find as you travel through any given town.

Now going through this town you would figure there is not much to do besides traveling a little further up north and catching a game at Kauffman Ballpark… dead wrong! My time at Lake of the Ozarks led me on many small adventures in my weekend long stay. My very favorite adventure being a trip through one of the states largest caves which housed many bats, old native american tools, and plenty of cave crystals.  It is really a sight to behold when you stare up to a ceiling and see about a dozen bats staring right back at you!

Outside of my little cave adventure I thought I would also check out the local cuisine, something I definitely am glad I did. Despite not being near a major city, the local dining was fantastic with eateries that specialized in authentic Italian and Asian cooking. I was actually able to locate a wonderful Chicago style deep dish, and Vietnamese pho in one weekend! Now how many places can have both those specialties in one area?

As my weekend getaway came to an end I began to realize how special a place, the Lake of the Ozarks are in Missouri. The region while divided by baseball allegiances, is still home to some of the most friendly people in the country. So next time you are making a trip to catch a Royals game, why not take a short drive south of Kansas City and experience a wonderful piece of Missouri hospitality.

Join Anbritt in London for Cowboys vs. Jaguars!

Join Anbritt in London in November!

I love London and I love the Dallas Cowboys so when the opportunity came to host this years NFL International Series in London when the Dallas Cowboys play the Jacksonville Jaguars in November I was in!

I’ve hosted tours all over the world during the past 14 years at Sports Traveler and this trip is one that I am really looking forward to.

From Westminster Abbey to Big Ben to St. Paul’s Cathedral, the city is filled with history and amazing architecture at every turn. I love the fish and chips and taking a walk on the River Thames. I love the cool air on my face. And then there is the game at the incredible Wembley Stadium. I can hardly wait to show you everything while we are in this amazing city!

On November 6th, we’ll start out at Heathrow Airport where our guides will meet and greet you after your arrival and transfer you to our host hotel. We will be staying at the Copthorne Tara Hotel, located right in the heart of everything you’ll want to see in the city center. After you check in and take a rest, join me at our welcome dinner. We’ll get to know each other and I’ll fill you in on all the details of the coming days.

The next morning, the 7th, we’ll head out for a guided tour of the city via motor coach. We’ll make several stops, so make sure to wear comfortable clothes and shoes. In the afternoon, you will be free to explore the city on your own.

On the 8th, enjoy the first part of the day at your leisure. That afternoon, I’ll escort the group from our hotel to Piccadilly Circus to enjoy the NFL Festival. Scheduled to appear are the players and cheerleaders from each team.

Game day is the 9th and we will be traveling via luxury motorcoach for a hassle free transfer through the streets of London from our hotel to Wembley Stadium.

On the 10th, we’ll transfer you back to the airport for your return flight home.

This is going to be one memorable trip. Sightseeing in London and great NFL football! I hope you can join me and maybe even think about extending your trip to see other parts of the UK.

See you in London in November!

Touring Derby Country: The Great Little Silver Charm

Little Silver Charm, the star of Old Friends Retirement Farm

I now follow a horse on Twitter and Facebook. But this isn’t just any horse, he is the great Little Silver Charm. I met him for the first time on the farm where he is spending his “retirement years”, Old Friends, an equine retirement center home located in Georgetown, Kentucky, just outside of Lexington.

Old Friends is home to many past Derby winners and race horses, but the real star is Little Silver Charm or ‘Charmie’ as he’s known to his thousands of followers and fans (follow him on Twitter or his Facebook page). He was a rescue show pony who today considers himself an entertainer.

He’s a blonde, loves kids, carrots, and plays soccer in YouTube videos.  He often talks about his crush, a horse named Zenyatta, and he seems to enjoy posing for quite a few pictures that are auctioned off to benefit Old Friends. He even has his own miniature replica toy available on Ebay.

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Sports Traveling with Anbritt – My Ireland Heritage

Filed under: Golf,Sports Traveler Blog,Travel
Tags: , , ,
@ 3/11/14 6:51 pm

View of the Irish Sea - Northern Ireland

I recently traveled to Ireland and Northern Ireland to see exactly where I come from. I ended up in the little coastal town in Northern Ireland called Annalong located an hour north of Dublin, right at the base of the Mourne Mountains. 

I walked the shores of the Irish Sea on a gravel-like sand, visited the church where my great-grandfather worshipped, and hiked The Kingdom of Mourne, a place my cousin described as the ‘Center of the Universe’. Here you can see the mountains, the sea, and the green earth all in one glance. Incredible.

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Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees: Class of 2014

Filed under: Baseball,In the News,Sports Traveler Blog

@ 3/10/14 1:59 pm

The National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will feature some of the best talent the game has seen from any era.  Cooperstown, NY will be the place to be on July 26th as the Class of 2014 is inducted.

This summer the baseball community will gladly welcome in three legends of baseball.  Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas will all have their places cemented in MLB history.  All three new member of the Hall of Fame managed to do so in their first year of eligibility.  This is the first time since 1999 that we have three first ballot HOF’ers in the same year.  Any clue who those three players were? (more…)

Sports Traveling with Anbritt – Staples Center in Los Angeles

Filed under: NBA Basketball,NHL,Sports Traveler Blog,Travel

@ 2/25/14 4:52 pm

I haven’t been to the Staples Center for a few years, so when I had a trade show to attend at the Los Angeles Convention Center I was in! The convention center is part of an area called “LA Live” that features an impressive array of hotels, restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues including the Staples Center. The Staples Center is home to the LA Lakers and LA Clippers NBA teams as well as the LA Kings NHL team.

If you are heading to the area, I highly recommend staying at the JW Marriott LA Live. The hotel has large modern rooms, oversized bathrooms, and a lovely pool area with a hot tub. The views from the rooms are also fantastic. My room faced the famous Hollywood sign in the hills. Try to upgrade your room to the Executive Club level and get your breakfast, wine-time, evening appetizers and desserts served in the club’s 4th floor. It’s well worth the upgrade cost.

It seems most everything is within walking distance to the LA Live area. The shopping district is 6 blocks away and there is also affordable shopping nearby including a Target. Dining options are plentiful with over 22 options to choose from. Affordable options included Rock n Fish. Higher end options include Wolf Gang Pucks Bar and Grill. I loved LA Market, located in the lobby of the JW. It’s not your typical hotel restaurant and had a great seasonal menu. I had a delicious grilled Halibut sandwich.

If you are staying on a non-game day, take in a movie or head over to the Grammy Museum. If you get the desire to head to the beach, take the #10 bus (The Big Blue Bus, $2 one-way) over to Santa Monica or rent a car for the day from Hertz, located in the lower level of the JW Marriott.

The Staples Center is a great venue but try to sit on the first level, if at all possible. The distance between the first levels and the upper deck is huge. If this is your one and only trip to a game, sit low.

LAX airport transfer was a $47.50 cab fare one-way or take the Super Shuttle for $16 one-way, shared ride.

I’d love to help you plan your sports trip to LA. Give our office a call at 1-888-654-7755!

Damian Lillard Attempts NBA All-Star Game Greatness

Filed under: In the News,NBA Basketball,Sports Traveler Blog

@ 2/14/14 3:56 pm

This weekend Damian Lillard will have the opportunity to expedite his path to becoming great.  In just his second year Lillard has the chance to become the king of NBA All-Star weekend.

Damian Lillard is not your average NBA sophomore and this weekend he will be out to prove it.  Baring any last minute changes the Portland guard will be competing in almost every possible event during the NBA All-Star weekend.   The only event he will not compete in is the Sears Shooting Star competition.  A competition that is more like the celebrity game than a true challenge.  So for the purpose of this accomplishment we can just say he is competing in every All-Star event.

1, 2, 3 Go!

It will all begin with the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge.  Last year Lillard played in this game and managed 18 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals.  A nice line but not worthy of MVP.  So this year he will have another shot to make his mark against the players of his generation and possibly take home an MVP. (more…)

Super Bowl Hangover

The biggest sports day in the country has come and passed.  The Super Bowl is now over and the Seattle Seahawks are the champions of the NFL.  Hard to think that this journey has come to an end but we are finally here.

Like any NFL season, there were highs and lows for all teams but only one could come away with the Lombardi trophy.  Yesterday we all got together to watch this spectacle and today we say good bye to the 2013-14 football season.

The fans in Seattle will ride this wave for the next couple of weeks as the city and team celebrate the first Super Bowl win in franchise history.  The rest of us have to settle with draft analysis and off-season expectations.

What a Finish!

It was quite a season this year that ended on a very surprising note. (more…)

Top 3 Final Four Locations: The Best Host Cities

Twenty six cities have had the pleasure of hosting the Final Four.  But what are the three best locations?  It might seem like a hard task to try to label the top 3.  But after a little research I think that you will see that it is relatively easy to come up with the best 3.

First let us take a look at the cities who have hosted the most amount of times.

Kansas City – 10
New York City – 7
Indianapolis – 6
Louisville – 6
New Orleans – 5 (more…)

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