Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium – Florida State Seminoles
Blow, Blow Seminole Wind
College football is steeped in tradition. Whether it be the ‘Dotting of the I’ at Ohio State, ‘Run Ralphie Run’ at Colorado, saying “Roll Tide” or “War Eagle” to everyone you meet on game day, traditions are what make college football so special to every fan, young or old, around this country.
Every school has their thing, but only a handful of them can compete with what the Florida State Seminoles bring to the table in terms of tradition. Sure, the three National Championships (1993, 1999, 2013) are amazing, as are the 15 ACC Championships, and the 79,560 seats inside a beautiful, state-of-the-art facility. There are also the household names like Deion Sanders, Warrick Dunn, Chris Weinke, Charlie Ward, and Jameis Winston which add to the experience. The exquisite campus, and of course the 295-94-4 all-time home record are all reasons why the Seminoles have been at the top of college football and at the top of the ‘traditions’ list.
However, all of these are nothing compared to Chief Osceola and his white and brown Appaloosa steed, Renegade. Whether you are an FSU fan or not it is hard not to have chills up your spine every time you see that flaming spear being slammed into the 419 Tifway Bermuda grass at midfield right before kickoff.
Florida State has done a fantastic job of keeping up with the times and not resting on their laurels when it comes to the game day experience. Many fans travel great distances to attend a game in the state capital of Florida, and Tallahassee does a wonderful job of catering to fans that make their way into the panhandle. Sure the traditions are a big part of what grabs your interest, but the rest of the experience around the stadium is what brings you back, time and again.
Food & Beverage 5
More and more college football stadiums are starting to get the hint that hot dogs and hamburgers are a little played out. This has led to a culinary explosion of sorts for college football fans that want something more than just your standard ballpark fare. Florida State definitely took the hint and ran with it. Whether you are craving something southern like a BBQ sandwich, Shrimp Po’Boys, or boiled peanuts, Doak Campbell Stadium will have something for everyone in your group. You’ll also find something with a little Hispanic flair like a Cuban sandwich.
If you just want to curb your sweet tooth, then try a churro, funnel cake, sno-cone, or ice cream. Every food item can be purchased between $4.50 (hot dog) and $11 (Po’Boys). The most unique thing about the F&B inside Doak Campbell is that all of your food dishes are served on souvenir plastic plates that have the Seminole logo on them. This is definitely unique item that is rarely seen in stadiums.
As for beverages, just remember that since the ACC does not allow alcohol to be served in on-campus stadiums that you will not find an ice cold adult beverage inside the stadium, so please do all of your adult drinking during your tailgate time. FSU, like most southern schools, is a Coca-Cola house and souvenir soda cups will run you $6. Since you are in the south, consider picking up a freshly squeezed lemonade or a sweet iced tea.
Any college campus on football game day has a special feel in the air but something about being at an FSU game just feels different from most. Whether it be the fantastic weather that is prevalent for the entire season, the 40,000+ students who all seem to passionately care about their team, or the smell of charcoal grills wafting up from the parking lots surrounding Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium, something is special about game day in Tallahassee.
Outside of the stadium sits one of the most iconic statues in sports. The famed ‘UNCONQUERED’ statue guards the South end zone entrance with Chief Osceola rearing up on Renegade with his spear, forever on fire, daring anyone to come and try to conquer his land. It is truly a piece of art and a must-see spot on game day.
On the other side of the stadium stands Coach Bobby Bowden. Not the actual Bobby Bowden of course, but his bronze statue, ready to take the team to victory. Both of these are great images to capture and only heighten the anticipation on game day.
Once inside the stadium, the atmosphere only increases with the brand new 9,908 square foot, 1080p HD Video Board. Standing at 63 feet tall, it is the tallest video board in all of college football. When you walk in and see that thing lit up with stats, live video and crowd prompts it’s hard not to get a little bit more excited about what the day is going to bring. The production crew does a great job of always keeping your attention even during long time outs and down times in the game.
While Tallahassee is the capital of Florida, there isn’t a ton of stuff to do in the area if you’re not in town for a Seminole game. The city has done a very good job of keeping downtown clean and inviting and there are quite a few local places to grab a bite to eat or get a drink either before or after the game.
However, campus is the main draw and for good reason. Most of the walkways around campus are shaded by the Spanish Moss covered Live Oak trees, which not only provide much needed shade from the Florida sun but give a tranquility to campus that is stunning in its own right. Tailgating is set up in certain parking lots and at the intramural fields outside the stadium, which keeps the campus itself very quiet and reserved on game days. Don’t mistake this for being boring though. If tailgating is what you are looking for then please check out the intramural fields before the game.
Tailgating here is what big time football is all about. By sunrise most of the area is already filled with cars and trucks filled with college students, alums, and families. They are all grilling, drinking, and playing bags (or as southerners call it, Corn Hole). It is a scene that 90% of the country would be envious of on game day. If you are a tailgater, be ready to pony up for a spot or hope you have friends that already have a spot for a party.
If you are not into the tailgate scene, do not fear. There are plenty of places literally right across the street in a newly developed area aptly named, “College Town.” This area is used as a divider between Florida State and neighboring Florida A&M University. There are plenty of local bars, shops, and craft breweries that open early and close late. The restaurants do fill up pretty quickly after a game, but the food and drinks at all of them are pretty good, even if they are pricey. The main spots are Madison Social and The Township, which both offer great beer selections and eclectic bar foods.
Tallahassee, like most towns it seems, has also gone through their craft brewery revolution and offer a couple of different options to choose from. Each of them offer something a little different and it just depends on what your tastebuds prefer. The main ones to hit in College Town are GrassLands Brewing Company and Proof Brewing Company.
If you are looking for something a little more family friendly and on the cheaper end, then most FSU fans would suggest a trip to Guthrie’s Golden Fried Chicken Fingers.
Even in rough years, which are few and very far between, Florida State fans are crazy (in a good way of course). One of the most recognizable team chants in the country is the War Chant/Tomahawk Chop. Every Seminole fan in the stadium stands as the Marching Chiefs play the classic theme as everyone moves their arms up and down chopping at the opponent. Many teams now do this but it truly is something to behold in a stadium of nearly 80,000 with a live marching band playing as loudly as they can in what seems like every 30 seconds of the game.
Beyond the “Chop,” the fans remain loud and rowdy throughout the game, especially on 3rd downs and after the ‘Noles get a first down on offense. While the architecture of the stadium doesn’t retain sound like some of the larger SEC stadiums (LSU and Texas A&M for example), it still maintains an impressive volume during the excitement of the game. Doak Campbell may not be the loudest stadium in the country, but it is still a very daunting place to play as a visiting team and should not be taken lightly.
Seminole fans are also very accommodating to new fans when it comes to letting you know about the history of FSU, and recommending good places to eat. Feel free to ask them a question if you are a first time visitor. The fans also very knowledgable about their current team. It seems like they not only love their team, but they also want you to enjoy your time in their house.
The city of Tallahassee has a population of almost 200,000 people and a campus that has an enrollment of over 40,000, and there is a pretty good game plan for game day traffic patterns. For the most part, most SEC and even some ACC schools are found in very small towns in the south which come with the nightmare of watching their towns grow 5x the amount of normal population on game days. Tallahassee and Florida State do not seem to have this issue and can accommodate game day crowds pretty easily. Traffic before and after games don’t seem like anything too difficult.
For parking, there are several pay lots about a mile from campus that charge anywhere from $10-$20 and some even offer a free shuttle ride. The parking lots around the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center and the parking garage behind the Augustus T. Turnbull Conference Center offer cheap parking and are a straight walk right into College Town and the Intramural Tailgate Fields next to Doak Campbell Stadium.
Return on Investment 3
During most seasons ticket prices are outrageous for Florida State games and at times are very hard to get. Be ready to spend $80+ for a nosebleed seat and $150-$200 for a seat in the lower areas. However, at the time of this review (October 2017) tickets on third party sites such as Ticket Monster were going for as little as $8 against ACC opponents, so it’s really all about timing and how good the ‘Noles are doing in a given season. The stadium is beautiful, the neighborhood is a neat experience, the crowd is loud, and the tailgate scene is fantastic. However, dropping a large sum of money as a normal college football fan with no attachment to FSU or the visiting team would dampen the return on investment a touch for a regular Joe Blow. If however you are an FSU fan or a visiting fan and don’t mind dropping that amount on a ticket, then the return on investment is solid.
Florida State has some of the coolest and most unique traditions in college football. The coolest part of Chief Osceola and Renegade is that he is made available to all fans that go inside the gates early and hardly anyone even knows about it. Behind Section 3 in the North End Zone of the stadium is the area Chief Osceola gets ready before games. You can stand there and watch as they paint his face in the traditional Seminole art, prepare his hair, and get his outfit set just right. After the Chief is ready anyone standing there may get their picture with him for free. When you combine this experience with the aforementioned planting of the spear at midfield it makes a once in a lifetime bucket list experience for any college football fan.
An extra point also goes to the “Sod Cemetery” outside of Doak Campbell Stadium. This tradition started on October 20, 1962 after Dean Coyle Moore, a long-time professor and member of FSU’s athletic board, issued a challenge to the team. “Bring back some sod from between the hedges at Georgia,” Moore said and with that a tradition was born. Now after every BIG road win the Seminoles will add a plaque to the Sod Cemetery immortalizing their victory for all future generations of Seminole fans.
This is an exceptional experience for any college football fan in America. You don’t need to root for FSU or the visiting team to understand just how awesome this stadium is. The War Chant, Sod Cemetery, Marching Chiefs and Chief Osceola all do their part in carrying on the traditions that have made Florida State a perennial powerhouse in college football.
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Latest Crowd Reviews
Florida State, along with Clemson and Virginia Tech, really are the ACC schools that just stand out as really zeroed in on their football programs. And the venues show it. Clemson and Virginia Tech have large venues as does Florida State&#039s Doak Campbell Stadium. And what you have is a nice-looking venue from the outside. POSITIVES: The venue from the outside looks like a palace or a fort (however you want to look at it) and it looks perfect on this campus. I love the stained glass windows on the side as well as the Unconquered statue as well. And because of the bowl seating, you really don&#039t have a bad seat in the house. Food variety is there with wraps, pizza, barbecue, etc. NEGATIVES: While the outside looks like a gem, the inside is just a plain-out bowl with a large scoreboard. Yes, they made renovations for expansion on one of the end zones so it helps, but it is just not a place that you go &quotyep, that&#039s Florida State!&quot The other complaint I have is the student section of the fans. Most left at halftime in a Seminoles win. The non-students were there, still supportive and into the game despite a blowout win. Just seemed like the place was opposite of what you expect with the fan base. And the other bit was the food was &quotmeh&quot when I went in terms of taste. Overall, Florida State is fine. I don&#039t know if it is overly high on any list for great stadiums though as it just seemed to be nondescript.
By Miles Markiewicz Tradition leaves an impression on a unique experience. It&#039s the nature of its energy. Tallahassee is a required city on any fan&#039s destination list. A game at Doak Campbell will bring chills down your spine and war chants in your ears. It will leave an impression on your vision of what a great college football program represents. Most importantly, Doak Campbell Stadium will provide an exceptional stadium experience.
Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium
Tallahassee, FL 32304
Year Opened: 1950