Good news: everyone made the top 10! Here is a list ranking the Big 12 cities based on my arbitrary opinion and a brief explanation for the ranking. Here we go…
10. Waco, Texas: A truly awful city that only has two things going for it: 1. A home improvement television show is filmed there (#shiplap), and 2. It’s an hour and a half from both Austin and DFW. When the best thing about a city is how close it is to a better city, there are some serious problems (see below).
9. Stillwater, Oklahoma: It’s about an hour from Oklahoma City.
8. Norman, Oklahoma: It’s about 30 minutes from Oklahoma City.
7. Manhattan: Wow, what can you say about Manhattan?! The Empire State Building, "The City That Never Sleeps", the cultural center of the world, etc. Wait, that’s Manhattan in New York, not Kansas? Never mind.
6. Ames, Iowa: I’ve never been, but I enjoy rural places. It’s probably a decent college town and/or a cool place to go if you want to get away for a weekend. I bet it doesn’t suck too much, which is good enough for #6 on this list.
5. Morgantown, West Virginia: I’ve never been there, but former Texas Tech student John Denver wrote a song about West Virginia’s natural beauty, so that has to count for something.
4. Lawrence, Kansas: Situated along a river in between Topeka and Kansas City, I’ve heard this is a pretty sweet college town. I’ve never heard very many bad things about it.
3. Austin, Texas: I lived in Austin for 18 years, so this point of view comes with some credibility. It is a fun, cool city. BUT… The traffic is a nightmare. "But there’s so many cool things to do in Austin!" Okay, but it will take you forever to get there. And you have to pay $15 to park a mile away from said cool thing. "Nah, I’ll just call an Uber." The city banned Uber. There’s a lot to do in Austin, but you’re going to spend a lot of time getting there and waiting to do it.
As a political junkie I appreciate that it’s the state capitol of Texas. It has a lot of natural beauty. It makes for a great weekend. BUT… The city of Austin is filled with pretentious weirdos and mosquitos. Pesky things, those parasites. The mosquitos are bothersome, too. The whole "Keep Austin Weird" thing – it’s just not everyone’s cup of tea. I like it in small doses. Good city with a lot of "but"s.
2. Fort Worth, Texas: Not too many bad things to say about Cow Town. There’s plenty to do for fun there and I’m thankful for the livestock every time I eat a burger or steak. If one-time vegan Hunter Cooke were making this list, he might have Fort Worth a lot lower.
Day 1 of being Vegan for no apparent reason: it's fine, no noticeable change in anything— Hunter Cooke (@HunterCookeVTM) June 8, 2016
1. Lubbock, Texas: No seriously, I like it here. VTM's own Zachary Reed wrote a great piece about it a couple months ago. It’s the Goldilocks of the Big 12. Not too big, not too small, just right. We have an exceptional country music scene that has produced the likes of Josh Abbott, Wade Bowen, Pat Green, and many others. A trip to some great scenery such as Palo Duro Canyon or Buffalo Springs Lake is just a short drive away.
Lubbock is home to an awesome arts and entertainment district known as "The Depot District", where the legend of hometown hero Buddy Holly still resides. Lastly, the South Plains is the largest cotton producing region in the world. Fans of other schools can thank a West Texas cotton farmer for their game day t-shirts. Just like Austin, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But it’s mine, and I know many other Red Raiders who wouldn’t trade their time in Lubbock for the world.