The last time I was here, the parking lot was noisy and electric. There were so many people on the street, even the cab drivers looked frazzled.
The last time I was here, I ventured over the Bay Bridge onto Water Street and was greeted by a huge banner and an Army of Scarlet, leaving no question that the city of Mobile had been firmly seized.
Tonight as I drive through Mobile on the way to Florida, its midnight and finally quiet in the car. A light rain won't change my mind to make a quick detour, and quickly I find myself driving past the dimly lit panorama of Ladd-Peebles stadium.
I felt a sudden resurgence of pride for everything that we – both the players and fans – accomplished last year.
It's hard to say for sure exactly how many fans Arkansas State had in Mobile, but at least 3 representatives of the Godaddy Bowl and the City of Mobile have said that they were "totally unprepared" for the turnout.
In reality, in a sport known for assigning disproportionate acclaim to circumstantial things, I still don't think enough can be said about the way that Arkansas State fans embraced the GoDaddy.com bowl and what that might mean for the future.
Standing outside the Riverview Plaza waiting for the team to emerge, it really felt like we had turned a corner. For the first time in my decade plus of fan-ship, I felt like ASU had done something that fans of college football should care about.
By now, almost everyone has heard about the rumors of facility enhancements, and everywhere coach Guz Malzahn goes, he's selling a long term vision for the program that many of us thought might be impossible.
Even more, Dr. Chuck Welch has said that he feels that somewhere between 20-25 million will be committed to the facility enhancements by the end of the summer. Think about that for a second.
For a program that only 18 months ago was searching for a head coach to take over a program that had lost twice as many games as it had won the previous two years, this is phenomenal progress. Especially when you consider that the decision might have come sooner had the athletic department been able to come up with a few hundred thousand dollar buyout.
It's important to keep these things into perspective when evaluating progress. Sometimes it really is too easy to forget where you came from and what you had to do to get there.
But I think that finally, the fanbase is starting to understand, and this feels like one of those moments when you just know that things are coming together.
And I'll be coming back through Mobile in a few days. I plan on taking the family to Wintzell's and telling them about how a few months ago this city was overrun by Red Wolves.
I probably won't get to start an "Arkansas State…" chant this time, but our ASU gear will be out in plain view.
What do you want to bet somebody remembers when we took over their city for a few days?