Q&A with Seth Vander Tuig: College Football’s Superfan
By Sam Draut
Seth Vander Tuig loves college football. He grew up an Iowa State Cyclones fan, but his
appreciation for the game did not stop with his team. His love for the game grew so much that he
has made it his goal to see every Division I college football team play in person. His journey took
him to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium to mark off two more teams, Louisville and Rutgers.
Q: Right off the bat, are you the most committed college football fan you know?
A: That I personally know, yes. That said, two others to point out includes one guy from New
Jersey who has done this same thing, and actually finished it, and two guys from New York who
want to see a game in every stadium.
Q: Your goal is to see every college football team in America play…where did the idea all start?
A: I’ve grown up as an Iowa State fan and attended many games through the years. I have always
loved college football and my wife, knowing my passion for the sport, surprised me with tickets to
a Notre Dame game as a wedding gift in 2010. Shortly after we got back home I started thinking,
how many games have I been to and how many teams have I seen? From there, I realized I had
already seen 30 or so teams and the idea took off from there. My wife Emily helped get it going,
my dad helped me on the first big road trip to get it really going last year with a 14 hour drive to
Knoxville, Tennessee to see Florida at Tennessee. My dad has been with me to most of the 131
college football games I’ve seen in my life. Those two obviously got this off the ground and are
the biggest one’s to thank; however, it’s my best friend Mike, we went to high school and college
together, that has really helped with the vision of this dream. I remember the day I sat down and
figured out the number of teams I had seen, it was Jan. 2, 2012. I sent Mike a text and asked if he
would be interested in doing this with me. His one word answer “yes” told me everything I needed
to know. He has always told me this is my thing and he’s just along for the ride.
Q: Since the journey began, how many teams have you seen play?
A: After last weekend’s Alabama at Kentucky game, I’ve seen 46 teams play in person.
Q: What method of transportation do you use to get to the games?
A: With the exception of a few bowl games in the past, I’ve driven to every game I’ve attended. As
of today, I’ve traveled roughly 32,000 miles.
Q: Do any games, teams, or stadiums stick out to you in particular?
A: A few highlights: Iowa State knocking off number two Oklahoma State and ending their
national title hopes in November on a Friday night in 2011. It will always be special simply because
Iowa State is my team. Mike and I were at the Penn State at Iowa game in 2008 when Iowa upset
number three Penn State and ended their title hopes late in November. Several other games, but
those are two that provided the excitement of an upset with national title hopes dashed. Stadiums:
Notre Dame will always be in a category by itself for many different reasons, perhaps because it
lit the fuse for this college football quest idea, but probably more for the history and traditions
involved with an Irish football game in South Bend. In another category, it would have to be
Knoxville, Tennessee last fall with the excitement of College Gameday being there. I was one of
the crazy folks with a sign and have some great memories from that day with my dad. From College
Gameday, to the tailgates and singing, “Rocky Top” with 102,000 Tennessee fans dressed in orange.
Q: Who are your top five college football players you have seen live?
A: Far too many to name over several years. In terms of coaches, I’ve seen roughly half of the
college football hall of fame inductees who have coached in the last 20 years. Including the likes
of Bobby Bowden, Joe Paterno, Tom Osborne, Barry Alvarez, Hayden Fry, Bill Snyder and a few
others I can’t think of at the moment, not including future hall of fame shoe-in Nick Saban.
Q: Growing up in Iowa, had you heard anything about Louisville football?
A: When I was a student at Iowa State in the mid 2000’s I remember watching a handful of
Louisville games, most notably against Rutgers. That was probably why I had a Rutgers vs.
Louisville game on the wish list of games to see in the near future.
Q: What was the reason to come to Louisville?
A: The above mentioned desire to see Rutgers vs. Louisville was one of the top games I had wanted
to see, and my friend Mike agreed that should be a priority within the next few years. With
Rutgers heading to the Big 10 and Louisville to the ACC we knew this had to be the year and
thought these two teams would be likely the top two teams competing to be Conference Champions
before the move to other conferences. When the schedule came out and this game was on a
Thursday, we immediately began thinking about who else we could see the same weekend. As it
turned out, Cincinnati had a home game Friday and Kentucky hosted Alabama Saturday. I had
already seen Alabama, but with the proximity of the three games, we knew there was no better
choice for a road trip this season than this weekend, and a trip to Louisville.
Q: You’ve been to other stadiums, what was your opinion of Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium?
A: Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium has been a place I’ve wanted to see for a few years and it did not
disappoint. Pros: the stadium is very nice and can be very loud for the amount of fans it holds. The
concessions were the nicest we’ve ever been around, the chair back seats were impressive, and the
overall atmosphere was great for a college football game. The main con of the stadium is the lack of
history simply because it’s a newer stadium.
Along the same lines, I must give credit to the Louisville Athletic department. They were great
in not only helping us purchase tickets to the game, but also to secure us a parking spot near
the stadium. The hospitality shown is second to none and showed the true hospitality that the
University of Louisville has. We will be lucky in the future if any school shows the same level of
kindness and assistance that Louisville showed to us this weekend.
Q: U of L fans are notoriously known for arrive to games late…were you in your seat at kickoff?
A: Yes, we arrived roughly 45 minutes prior to kick-off and after walking around a bit, we were in
our seats 20 or so minutes prior to kick-off. We won’t lie, it was disappointing to see the fans come
late, but more disappointing to see how many fans leave early.
Q: You’ve been to 15 college stadiums, thus far, which has been your favorite?
A: I’ve only been to 15 stadiums thus far. Favorites include Norte Dame Stadium, University of
Nebraska’s Memorial stadium, University of Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium, and surprisingly, we
really enjoyed our time at University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium. All that said each stadium is
great because they are all unique and different which makes this college football journey what it is.