Georgia Football: The Belk Bowl Familiarity Guide
I’ve been to the Belk (erstwhile Meineke Car Care) Bowl four times in my life, and that’s just sad. However, the 2014 Georgia Bulldogs managed to a) avoid a meaningless New Years Day bowl, saving you from starting 2015 in the state of Florida; b) avoid Nebraska, which seems impossible; and c) still manage to stay relatively close to home (Google maps says 3 hours 57 minutes, I say much less as an I-85 veteran).
For those of you making the trip, I salute your dedication. As such, a few things you should know about the prestigious bowl and Charlotte in general:
1) BBQ, Bojangles, and Cheerwine
There is no better locale in America for cheap, delicious food than the state of North Carolina.
While the cue in Charlotte is generally not authentic Eastern-style (vinegar based) or Western (ketchup-based), there are still a couple of decent spots to get a taste of that good NC pork. Your best bet is Bubba’s off Sunset Road near I-77, but…go while the sun’s out. If you’re not feeling adventure, Mac’s on South Boulevard is close to the stadium, and is thus a good gameday option.
Fast food- you have two stops. On the way in or out, you need to check out Cook-Out, a burger/hotdog/shake joint. Order a tray (sandwich, two sides, and a drink for around $5) and tweet me pictures. One just opened on Moreland Ave for you Dawgs not making the pilgrimage. The second stop is Bojangles’ on gameday. You can’t go wrong.
Cheerwine is indigenous to the Carolinas as well, and is the only soft drink I consume. One would describe it as cherry Dr. Pepper, but more delicious. A two-liter Cheerwine and a green-label Evan Williams will take you a LOOOOONNNNG way on the path to Belk Bowl bliss.
2) The Belk Bowl Has the Most Self-Aware Twitter Profile in Sports
They’re just…quirky. And when @FauxPelini gets involved, downright hilarious.
A few players asked us for advice on the ride. The only thing we could tell them is “If you ain’t first your last.”
— Belk Bowl (@belkbowl) December 27, 2014
— Belk Bowl (@belkbowl) December 7, 2014
3) Actually-Somewhat-Useful Gameday Knowledge
The area surrounding Bank of America Stadium is urban, but not menacing, and parking should cost you around $20 (after your trip to Bojangles). If you park more than about four tenths of a mile away from the stadium, you’re doing it wrong. Most of the parking is independent, private parking. If there’s a deck (you don’t need to go looking for one), I don’t know where it is.
This is my pal from the 2007 UNC/West Virginia game. West Virginia shares a border with Kentucky, so you may see esteemed folks such as this gentleman. This was taken moments before he lobbed the pictured Bud Light into the middle of our 20-person tailgate. West Virginia folks are the worst.
If you’re of the boozing persuasion, I’d suggest getting highly intoxicated before the game. Security was pretty tight inside the stadium last year, and aluminum pints of Bud Light cost me my January rent.
If at all possible, sit somewhere in the lower bowl. The upper deck is way, WAY up there (think Tech Deck) and allows pretty annoying winter breezes.
4) Our Esteemed EIC Worked at Belk
And he spent his formative years shattering glass ceilings with the department store behemoth.
Seriously though, if you have questions, I have answers. Tweet them to @Chad_Floyd and enjoy my home state!