Mike Strange: Knoxvillian scores a touchdown with six games in five days

Mike Strange

You were so excited about the arrival of college football season you drove all the way to Atlanta to watch the Vols.

That's nice. Wait until you hear Richard Isaac's story.

Five days, six games, 38 touchdowns. Stadiums shared with 296,551 other football fans.

Isaac, a Tennessee alum who lives in Knoxville, is in the financial planning business. He has a passion for college football. But not just the college football that pops up on his flat-screen HDTV.

Back in 2008, he charged into the football season by witnessing three games in five days, including the Vols' trip to UCLA. It merely whetted his appetite.

"I've been looking at the schedule for the last two or three years to see what was available,'' he said this week.

This spring he saw that the ducks were going to line up in a nice row.

So Thursday, Aug. 30, Isaac drove to Nashville to see South Carolina beat Vanderbilt. Afterward pushed on as far as Manchester, Tenn.

"We got soaked at the beginning of the Vandy game,'' Isaac said. "But it was a good game.''

A friend, Kasey Meheula, tagged along to keep Isaac company. He used connections to land tickets and parking passes.

Friday morning it was on to Atlanta to catch the Vols' 35-21 win over N.C. State. His head didn't hit the pillow until he made it to Spartanburg, S.C.

Saturday morning he pulled into Chapel Hill to catch North Carolina flogging Elon. After the third quarter, he slipped out and scooted over to Durham in time for Duke's kickoff against Florida International.

Isaac has Duke season tickets. He became a Duke fan through his friendship with coach David Cutcliffe, who spent nearly two decades on the UT staff,

"Duke looked really good,'' Isaac said. "They've got some playmakers. They've got a little running game they hadn't had before.''

He bunked that night in Bluefield, W.Va., on his way to Louisville for a 3:30 kickoff Sunday against Kentucky.

"I tailgated with a couple of old Army friends and ended up sitting in a box since it was pouring.''

Once the Cards knocked out the Wildcats, it was back east on I-64.

Monday, Isaac arrived in Blacksburg, Va., enjoyed an afternoon strolling the campus and wrapped up the weekend with Virginia Tech's overtime win over Georgia Tech.

"I kind of like doing things I don't think have ever been done before,'' he said. "I don't think there's ever been a schedule you could do it.

"Maybe if somebody had a plane they could scramble around the country and see that many.''

He didn't have a plane. He put 2,004 miles on his odometer.

Other than Duke and UT, Isaac didn't have a dog in the hunt at the other four games. His favorite venue? Easy choice.

"Clearly the best was Blacksburg,'' he said. "The beauty of the campus, the fans were excited. There was a lot of tailgating but they were all under control. I didn't see any drunks or fights.''

He saw a lot of football, though. Only one rout, the one at Chapel Hill. The best games were the first, at Vandy, and the last, at Virginia Tech.

He was impressed with Tennessee and especially Cordarrelle Patterson.

You would be wrong to assume Isaac got his fill of either football or traveling.

He checked in with me Thursday from Reno. And last night he was in Palo Alto, Calif.

At a stadium. Duke vs. Stanford.

Mike Strange may be reached at strangem@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/strangemike44 and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/strange.

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Comments » 2

hubbabubba writes:

Way to go Richard! Richard is a class act. A real treasure to Knoxville. When not traveling he gives as much time to charitable organizations such as Habitat as anyone I have ever met.

johnlg00 writes:

Sounds like a guy who knows how to have a good time! Even better to hear that he is a good guy. Time was when that much driving would have been a breeze for me, but I surely can't see myself doing anything like that now. I've heard many great things about the atmosphere in Blacksburg. Too bad the Gobblers and the Vols can't work out a series of games, but I'm afraid the size of both conferences means it will never happen.

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