Located just four miles off the University of Baylor Campus you will find the gem known as Floyd Casey Stadium, the home of the Baylor Bears football team. Built in 1950, Floyd Casey Stadium has the room to hold about 50,000 fans on a good day. The stadium has been renovated several times, the latest being in 2004 when the Bears installed SportGrass and extended the Grant Teaff Plaza.
The stadium is an elongated oval shape, and has grandstands on the sideline. The northeast endzone seats are usually tarp covered with the tarp of shame unless the opposing team has an impressive showing, making the maximum seating capacity 45,000.
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The Bears do offer a pretty good variety when it comes to food, but beverages not so much. Unfortunately Floyd Casey Stadium is an RC Cola Stadium. If RC Cola products are what floats your boat then you will be in hog heaven, but if you're like me and it's not, then bottled water is an option.
As for food, Floyd Casey does have some good variety and great prices on food. On offer is everything from 1/3 pound cheeseburgers to Chick-fil-A sandwiches. They also offer a lot of the normal stadium fare like nachos, popcorn, sno cones and Bear Dawgs (which to me are just overrated hot dogs).
One interesting item I saw was the pancake battered hot dogs on a stick which I found to be like a corn dog but quite delicious. All the items are reasonably priced and tasty, which for any hungry fan is all you can ask for.
The Baylor Bears over the years have been known as the whipping boys of the Big 12 in football. With an all time football record winning percentage of just under 50% the Bears aren't known for being at the top of the BCS standings at the end of the year. Lately though the Bears are definitely trying to make a resurgence with their first bowl appearance in 16 years coming in 2010.
Even though the Bears may not be known as a football powerhouse, you wouldn't be able to tell that by the noise of the stadium or the heart of its fans. The game I attended was probably one of Baylor's biggest wins in recent years as they upset a 14th ranked TCU team that had manhandled them last year. Even though Baylor went into the 4th quarter with a 24 point lead that they eventually lost, the atmosphere didn't die down any at all. The fans continued to cheer on the Bears and I think they were a big piece of the team coming back at the end to ultimately pull out the game.
Overall the Bears provide a great atmosphere for college football. They may not be the powerhouse of the Big 12 but if Texas or Texas A&M are in town when you're in Waco, make sure to be at Floyd Casey for you will not be disappointed.
I've said it once and I will say it again, if you are in Waco and you don't stop at Vitek's Bar-B-Q, then you may have just made the biggest mistake of your life. It is definitely not a place that your cardiologist or dietician would approve of, but Vitek's is the real deal. We will start off by talking about their extreme money maker, "The Gut Pack." It's every carnivore's dream. The Gut Pack is a massive frito pie, consisting of chopped beef, beans, sausage, and bread all topped with onions, pickles, jalapenos and cheese. My advice is to order something nice and cold, grab the Rolaids, and dig in to a slice of heaven. The Gut Pack is well worth my three hour trip from Houston to Waco. If that doesn't sound appetizing, Vitek's also offers a variety of meat sandwiches from sliced beef, chopped beef, pulled pork, grilled turkey, etc. Needless to say, if meat is your choice, then Vitek's should be your stop.
If for some ungodly reason you're not wanting Vitek's, then I recommend the Health Camp, which is definitely not healthy like its name implies. The Health Camp is known for having the best fried food in Waco. One of these two choices should leave you with a full belly and maybe even some heartburn.
If you're not hungry and just looking for a place to burn some time, I recommend the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in Waco, which consists of different sections dedicated to different Texas High school sports. I thoroughly enjoy walking through the Texas Sports Hall of Fame and recommend the high school football section the most.
Overall, you have plenty of things to do and eat in the area but I will say you are downright un-American if you don't stop by Vitek's and have a Gut Pack - it's an absolute must.
After my trip to Ferrell Center, I was looking forward to my trip to Floyd Casey this fall, as Baylor fans know how to get you on your feet. Needless to say this go around I wasn't disappointed at all, as Baylor football fans are just as good as the basketball ones. The Bears were playing TCU in what turned out to be a very topsy-turvy game, but throughout the game the fans did not die down at all and kept their cheers at full throttle.
One neat thing I noticed was the "Baylor Line" at the beginning of the game. All the freshman students are wearing yellow jerseys with their graduation year on the back as well as their name or a nickname. Before the game the Baylor Line stands at the end of the northeast endzone and then are released to run across the field and form a line that the football players then run out of the tunnel through. Once the football team has run through the Baylor Line, the students then take their places along the front row behind the visiting team's bench and assume their role of making life horrible for the opposing team. Overall I think this is a great idea by the university and the football team to get newly incoming students excited about the program, and it really helps them develop school spirit.
Overall I have no complaints about these fans. There may be only 40,000 of them compared to 90,000-100,000 you may see at Kyle Field or DKR Memorial Stadium but these fans try every bit to be just as loud and they do a dang good job of it.
Access is where the trouble lies at Floyd Casey Stadium. First, I'll start with parking. It's a narrow way into Floyd Casey so even getting there more than an hour before kickoff means you are going to be waiting through quite a bit of bumper to bumper traffic. I will however say that traffic getting away from Floyd Casey runs a lot smoother due to the use of crossing guards, cops, etc. Parking will run you anywhere from $10-$25 in some areas. I recommend the $10 parking as it is not that bad of a walk.
Now on to my other access issues. Besides a couple of maps located outside, I found it very difficult to find the ticket stands and the will call area. Another access issue I found was that I was wondering why you could only access the stadium through certain gates. I found out why once I walked in and started making my way through the narrow concourses. The stadium is actually blocked off so if you are sitting on the visiting side there is no way to make it to the home side and vice versa. I'm not exactly sure why it was set up this way, but I found it quite annoying.
Now for the narrow concourses of Floyd Casey Stadium, I will give them a little leeway since the stadium was built in 1950, but this is definitely something that needs to be looked at. It was downright uncomfortable to be this scrunched up in the heat of September. I saw kids and elderly people almost getting pushed aside due to the narrow concourses and I really do hope this is something Baylor will look into fixing.
My final complaint is that no credit cards are accepted at Floyd Casey Stadium, so unless you want to be one of the poor unfortunates missing the game due to having to stand in the horrible ATM line, I suggest bringing some cash.
Even though I had plenty to groan and moan about as far as access to Floyd Casey Stadium, it is hard to beat the fans and atmosphere that Baylor football provides. With tickets ranging anywhere from $25-$65, depending on the significance of the game, I think you will find it very difficult to find another great college football experience at that price. I will, however, suggest if you plan on attending multiple Baylor games to go ahead and buy the $99 season tickets, you can't go wrong with that.
I will start the extra points off with one point going to the Bears for being in the vicinity of Vitek's Bar-B-Q, I'm telling you people don't know what you are missing out on.
My second and third extra points go to Baylor for their incredible fans and the Baylor Band. These two truly connect up during the game and make Floyd Casey Stadium a great college football atmosphere.
My last point goes out to the Baylor Line. These freshmen are full of school spirit and make sure the rest of the university and the opposing team know it. It is an absolute great idea by the university and the football team.
Baylor University may not be a Big 12 powerhouse and may not have numerous championships like its fellow Big 12 family members, but these alumni and fans can produce a great atmosphere and know how to treat a traveling tourist well. I do hope Baylor can fix what access issues they have because Floyd Casey definitely has the potential to be a great college football stadium.
Great atmosphere. The Baylor Line was pretty impressive: http://www.baylorbears.com/trads/bay-bayline.html. I wasn't expecting such a rowdy and involved student section, but I was certainly wrong. Didn't run into any unpleasant fans, even though I was wearing opponent gear. Parking was pretty easy. Neighborhood certainly isn't a thrill, but any town that has a Rudy's BBQ joint is good enough for me though.
Stadium is old, run down, and in a bad location. Baylor is a small, religious school so don't expect a large, rowdy crowd.
Facility is old and dilapidated. Fans are a golf clap type crowd. Horrible access to unpaved parking lots.
I have to think with the new stadium is erected, much of this will change. But hard to believe that Baylor fans can become much of a threat as far as crowd noise however.
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