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Leg Three of our Year Long Adventure took us through the Southeast.  One of the unplanned perks of this trip was exploring the campuses of the last five College Football National Champions.  Thanks to the power of the Southeast Conference, they were all pretty close together.

The first stop on our “Tour of Champions” was Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home of the University of Alabama Crimson Tide.  Alabama won the 2009 National Championship.  (Editorial Note:  Certain bloggers believe that this only happened due to a game-ending injury to Longhorn quarterback Colt McCoy.)  The stadium is right on the edge of the bustling campus.

In a Ring of Honor outside the stadium are statues of each of the head coaches who have won a National Championship at Alabama.  The tribute to Nick Saban is still under construction.

Our “Tour of Champions” continued a few days later in Gainesville, Florida, home of the University of Florida Gators.  Florida won National Championships in both 2006 & 2008 through the power of Gatorade and Tim Tebow.

Their stadium is nicknamed “The Swamp” and is also located right on campus.  Our kids liked the tall palm trees and the orange and blue Gator logo.

In Auburn, Alabama, we made our third stop at the home of the Auburn University Tigers.  Auburn is the reigning National Champion of college football having won the title in 2010 under Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton.

On the March day that we toured the campus, we were surprised to find the stadium lights on and multiple television satellite trucks at the stadium. It turned out to be Auburn’s “Pro Day” when all of the NFL hopefuls from Auburn were working out for NFL scouts.  Dad missed his chance to show the scouts his blazing speed and ability to “throw a football over them mountains”.  Too bad.  We also visited the hallowed Toomer’s Corner while in town.  Toomer’s Corner is a street corner where students come after Auburn victories and throw toilet paper in two huge oak trees to celebrate the win.

A disturbed Alabama fan confessed to poisoning these trees after the annual Alabama- Auburn rivalry game in 2010. (See story here.) The trees do not look healthy, but there is hope that they can be saved.

Our “Tour of Champions ended in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, home of the Louisiana State University Tigers.  LSU won the National Title in 2007 under Coach Les Miles.  This was the hardest of the four stadiums to get close to due to closed roads and construction.

All of these universities have a large student enrollment, huge stadiums, and vibrant campuses that are covered in majestic old trees.  Great coaches aside, the power of these winning teams just might be in these beautiful trees.  Luckily the University of Texas campus has its fair share of trees on the original Forty Acres, so there’s always next year!  Hook ’em Horns!

You can read more about our adventures at Year Long Adventure on Facebook.

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