CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND: Can’t Miss Experiences

The five mandatory one-of-a-kind things to see and do during the College Football Playoff National Championship weekend in the Bay Area:

1. Watch and listen to the marching bands in person. It’s something every loyal American must do when he or she has a chance. So keep an eye out for the band’s schedules when they arrive in the Bay. They will be making several free appearances at various events.

2. Stroll through “The Quad,” which will be built at Plaza de Cesar Chavez in downtown San Jose.  It’s going to be the outdoor centerpiece of the weekend’s festivities, with ESPN programming emanating from the center of the park and various booths and attractions filling up the rest of the space. On Saturday and Sunday nights, it should be filled with fans from the two competing schools. The will feel like a real college campus – the best kind, because no one will have to attend any classes. As you exit the south end of “The Quad,” you can snag an autograph from a former Heisman Trophy winner or two at “Playoff Fan Central” in the San Jose McEnery Convention Center.

3. Visit the 49ers Museum at Levi’s® Stadium in Santa Clara.  Most of the exhibits naturally focus on the local NFL team, but this year, in tribute to the CFP National Championship visiting the venue, a special Bay Area college football exhibit has been mounted. It includes the Orange Bowl and Sugar Bowl trophies won by Santa Clara back in the day.

4. Sit in the seats at the SAP Center on Saturday, Jan. 5 for Media Day and watch and listen as media from around the country interview coaches and student-athletes from both participating teams.  If you don’t have a game ticket, this will be the best chance to get up close and personal with the participants in Monday night’s extravaganza. Plus, admission is free!

5. Take a slight detour from the Championship Campus and walk five blocks east from “The Quad” to the San Jose State campus, where the striking statue of 1968 Olympic protestors John Carlos and Tommie Smith dominates a grassy patch of the campus. It’s a monument to a historic sports moment and a perfect photo opportunity. While there, you can also contemplate the old buildings where former San Jose State students Bill Walsh and Dick Vermeil attended class on their path to becoming great college and pro head coaches.