Where to Watch Out-of-State College Football
Maple Leaf owner Olivia Blair, who just wanted somewhere to watch hockey 9 years ago, and Ray the bartender, Buffalo fan.
Photo by Susan Du
College football fans just can't hold a candle to their NFL counterparts. It's hardly anyone's fault but the alumni associations that charge bars an arm and a leg to host their watch parties, but with Houston's transplant culture the way it is, it's probably harder to get five Northwestern fans in a bar on a Saturday afternoon than it is to find a good tailgate during hockey season. The odds aren't that much better at the actual games, but just short of heaping on the blame on the team itself (just start winning), here are some places that die-hard (read: recently graduated) fans can go to catch that game they suspect no one else cares to watch.
Transplant fans are Maple Leaf's main clientele. Founded by a Canadian-American couple, the bar was an oasis of NHL fanaticism from the start. When there's no hockey to watch, the same regulars who learned to love slap shots and fist fights on ice hang around for their home football teams, the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers -- and on occasion Wildcats of either Northwestern or Kentucky. Maple Leaf has all the major conference channels except PAC 10.
Saint Dane's manager Will Baker.
Photo by Susan Du
Saint Dane's attracts Saturday football fans with about two dozen TVs, specials on shots and domestic beers, friendly bartenders who are happy to take some money off clients on small bets and a giant inflatable linebacker on the roof. Texas A&M fans are abundant, but so are rivals LSU and Alabama.
3. Lucky's Pub
A long-established chain of sports bars in Houston and Cypress, Lucky's franchises have the cash to host major alumni watch parties packed with fans who who march out every weekend in full college regalia. Lucky's officially sponsors UConn, Notre Dame, LSU, Mizzou and Ohio State in addition to Texas A&M and UTEP crowds.
With six locations throughout the city, Little Woodrow's attracts a good smattering of college football fans that -- on Longhorn game nights -- pose a serious threat to those looking to watch anything else on the new HD projector. With the Longhorn Network doing its best to monopolize broadcast, you can't really blame fans for being protective of their nights out in burnt orange though. Subtler fan bases that have made Little Woodrows' their home away from college are Ohio State and Kansas University.
If all else fails, there's always the wing king Buffalo Wild Wings. Without a calculator on hand, it's probably safe to say 13 locations through Houston comes out to mean about a million TVs with satellite setups. There's no excuse not to be a fan, unless you're a vegetarian, possibly.