What is the 2016 Aer Lingus College Football Classic?
All the details you need ahead of the clash between Georgia Tech and Boston College
Long snapper Leonard Skubal, left, and offensive lineman Anthony Palazzolo of Boston College tries his hand at hurling as his college undertake some last minute preparation ahead of the Aer Lingus College Football Classic where they will take on Georgia Tech this Saturday in the Aviva Stadium. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
What is it? Aer Lingus College Football Classic is the curtain raiser for the 2016 NCAA college football season featuring Georgia Tech and Boston College. Both teams are coming off disappointing campaigns in 2015 and will look to hit the ground running in Dublin.
Where is it? The Aviva Stadium, Dublin.
When is it? Festivities began on Thursday afternoon with the game kicking off at 12.30pm on Saturday, September 3rd.
Hang on, why does this sound familiar? That’s because this is the sixth college football match held in Ireland since the inaugural clash between Boston College and Army Black Knights (yes, the actual US Army) in 1988. The most recent clash was attended by 54,000 people in Croke Park two years ago in a game that saw Penn State defeat University of Central Florida 26-24.
So the two teams travel all this way just to play one match? Do you really think that would be the case? This is a showcase of the great sport of American football - of course there’s more to it than just the game! Much more, in fact. The two teams arrived in Dublin on Thursday morning and got to see the city that evening with a welcome parade. That was followed by both sides’ pep rallies in Trinity College on Friday evening.
What’s a pep rally? Basically it’s where the cheerleaders, dance teams and bands of each college put on a huge show filled with lots of colour, noise and American flags to get fans and players alike in the mood for the following day’s game. There’s a lot of “I don’t know but I’ve been told” sort of chanting.
So what happens on the day of the game? The match will kick-off at 12.30pm but that’s not before the pre-game tailgate party in the Trinity Welcome Village.
Hang on, what’s a tailgate party? Tailgating is a huge part of the American sporting culture. Fans of both sides get together near the stadium before the game and barbecue food on the tailgate of their cars as well as consuming some alcoholic beverages. It’s a bit different to a few pints in a pub and a punnett of greasy chips on the way to Croke Park. For the 2016 Aer Lingus College Football Classic the tailgate party will begin at 9.30am in Trinity College. Because who doesn’t want a beer and a burger for breakfast?
Is there a pre-game show? Of course there is. The marching bands and cheerleaders of both colleges will be on the pitch pre-game for what’s sure to be a spectacular show. Over 350 people will be on the pitch at the same time with the American and Irish national anthems set to be sung prior to kick-off. Seconds before the game gets underway the Irish Air Corps will conduct a fly-pass.
And a half-time show? It just wouldn’t be American Football without a half-time show. However, you’re not going to see the like of Beyonce, Katy Perry or Coldplay. You’ll have to go to the Super Bowl for that.
This sounds great, where can I get tickets? There are a limited number of game tickets still available, which can be purchased via www.ticketmaster.ie.