Originally posted on Next Impulse Sports  |  Last updated 8/19/14
College football season will be bestowing its charitable graces upon us within days, with the excitement, unpredictability, tears and nauseating tension just waiting to be squeezed from dozens of college towns across the country. Some fans will attend a game or two of their favorite school while others will plan a cute family road trip to Ann Arbor, Auburn or Los Angeles. Some may travel with their school to all four, five or six away games and some might grab a handful of random games across the country. But no one will attempt to hit 33 games over 101 days during the 2014 season. The Ultimate College Football Road Trip does just that: Week 1 No.  Date Away Team Home Team Location Miles 1 8/28 Texas A&M South Carolina Columbia, SC  - 2 8/30 Clemson Georgia Athens, GA 165 3 8/31 SMU Baylor Waco, TX 890 4 9/1 Miami (FL) Louisville Louisville, KY 930 Our epic road trip begins in one of the most underrated college football stadiums in the country: South Carolina’s Williams-Brice Stadium. The 80,000-plus seat venue will host one of two massive Week 1 games, with No. 21 (Preseason AP) Texas A&M visiting the No. 9 Gamecocks. Feel free to arrive in Columbia a couple days early in order to enjoy an electric week-long gameday atmosphere, but get on the road immediately on Friday for Athens, Georgia. It is here you can witness the second big-time matchup of the week, with No. 12 Georgia seeking revenge for the 2013 loss against No. 16 Clemson. The week concludes with a long drive from Athens to Waco, Texas where Baylor opens brand new McLane Stadium against SMU, followed by another long 1-day drive to Louisville for Bobby Petrino’s homecoming debut against the Hurricanes.   Week 2 No.  Date Away Team Home Team Location Miles 5 9/5 Washington State Nevada Reno, NV 2,094 6 9/6 Michigan State Oregon Eugene, OR 427 Why are we going to Reno to watch Mike Leach’s Cougars face Nevada on a Friday night? Because it’s relatively on the way to Eugene, which will host a massive top 10 matchup  between Michigan State and Oregon on Saturday. Following the uneventful stop in Reno, arrive early to soak in a Eugene gameday and see which squad will begin their quest to the playoff.   Week 3 No.  Date Away Team Home Team Location Miles 7 9/11 Houston BYU Provo, UT 823 8 9/13 Tennessee Oklahoma Norman, OK 824 As was the case last week, a stop in Provo for Houston-BYU only occurs because it’s on the way to our next destination and it also gives you time for a 2-day mountain vacation in Park City beforehand. The all-Cougars game could actually be worth your time if it resembles a dramatic 1-point game last season. From Provo, scurry down to Norman to see national title contender Oklahoma host a team with unclear expectations for 2014: Tennessee. QB Trevor Knight and OU will be a double-digit favorite but a decent matchup against an adequate SEC team is attractive enough to make the trip.   Week 4 No.  Date Away Team Home Team Location Miles 9 9/18 Auburn Kansas State Manhattan, KS 305 10 9/20 Clemson Florida State Tallahassee, FL 1,103 Following a couple weeks of heavy travel, you have five days to wiggle up to Kansas for an intriguing Week 4 matchup between national title runner-up and preseason No. 6 Auburn versus preseason No. 20 Kansas State. Unfortunately Manhattan is not a worthwhile college town and you’ll want to arrive on gameday and depart immediately the following morning before you get rabies. A potential upset special on September 18th is followed by a 1,100 mile haul to Tallahassee for our first look at Jameis and the defending champs as they face Clemson. While this will be the Tigers second brutal road game in three weeks, it remains one of the only legitimate opponents on the Seminoles 2014 schedule, thus one of their limited chances to impress the CFP committee.   Week 5 No.  Date Away Team Home Team Location Miles 11 9/25 UCLA Arizona State Tempe, AZ 1,877 12 9/26 Fresno State New Mexico Albuquerque, NM 411 13 9/27 Stanford Washington Seattle, WA 1,434 Hopefully the long drive to FSU produced a dandy because you’re embarking on a cross-country journey of 1,877 miles from Tallahassee to Tempe, where we get UCLA at Arizona State. Expectations are growing for both programs and both believe a Rose Bowl berth, if not more, is within reach for 2014, making for a delicate game of expectations. Fresno State-Albuquerque doesn’t scream road trip, especially now that Derek Carr and Davante Adams have left the Bulldogs for the NFL, but it’s only 400 miles away and you can take a self-guided Breaking Bad tour on Friday morning: The west coast swing continues with a massive 1,434 mile trek from Albuquerque to Seattle for Stanford-Washington and you have less than 20 hours to do it. This will be our first live look at Chris Petersen’s new gig with the Huskies and his first big boy test as David Shaw rolls into the Pacific Northwest with another Pac-12 title contender.   Week 6 No.  Date Away Team Home Team Location Miles 14 10/2 Arizona Oregon Eugene, OR 283 15 10/4 LSU Auburn Auburn, AL 2,605 Take a couple days following the Stanford-Washington game to enjoy the sights before popping down to Eugene, our second visit in less than a month. Only 283 miles away, it would be irresponsible to miss a Rich Rodriguez visit to Oregon for a game that could put the Ducks on an unexpected upset alert. Following a fireworks show on Thursday night, a 2,600 mile trip awaits but it is worth every mile, as you’re rolling to Auburn for a huge all-Tigers vicious fight that will destroy one team’s SEC West hopes with a loss.   Week 7 No.  Date Away Team Home Team Location Miles 16 10/11 Oregon UCLA Los Angeles, CA 2,138 17 10/12 Wyoming Hawaii Honolulu, HI - Yes, we’re seeing both Oregon and UCLA again but this time it’s in sunny Los Angeles after another 2,000-plus mile excursion from Alabama. In arguably the biggest Pac-12 game of the season, there is a chance UCLA will be favored and a win could vault them into playoff contention, assuming they’re undefeated by Week 7. It’s time for a vacation, albeit brief and Hawaii looks beautiful. A late flight on October 11th allows us to spend three nights in paradise while catching a game that no one cares about: Wyoming at Hawaii. You’re welcome:   Week 8 No.  Date Away Team Home Team Location Miles 18 10/16 Virginia Tech Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA 2,427 19 10/18 Texas A&M Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL 805 After the 3-night Hawaiian break, we arrive back in Los Angeles and begin another cross-country trip, this time to the northeast where Virginia Tech meets Pittsburgh. The Hokies have landed on a few sleeper lists and no one has any clue what to expect from the Panthers but it’s a game worth checking on, plus it keeps us within reasonable distance of Tuscaloosa. We are treated to college football’s fastest growing rivalry in Tuscaloosa on October 18th with Texas A&M at Alabama in another big-time SEC West showdown. Arrive in the college town as early as possible to partake in the feisty Friday and Saturday festivities.   Week 9 No.  Date Away Team Home Team Location Miles 20 10/23 Miami (FL) Virginia Tech Blacksburg, VA 548 21 10/25 Michigan Michigan State East Lansing, MI 551 Tired yet? Unfortunately another beach vacation is not on the horizon as we shoot up from Alabama to watch a second-straight Hokies game, this time in Blacksburg, before heading northwest for the increasingly heated Michigan-Michigan State rivalry. Yes, going to East Lansing for the in-state matchup instead of Ohio State-Penn State can be debated but you cannot ignore what Mark Dantonio has done with the defending Rose Bowl champs. Braxton Miller’s absence also does not help the case.   Week 10 No.  Date Away Team Home Team Location Miles 22 10/30 Florida State Louisville Louisville, KY 369 23 11/1 Auburn Ole Miss Oxford, MS 404 After a light week of travel, things continue to slow down with a short sub-400 mile jaunt for our second visit to Louisville, where the Cardinals might be hosting No. 1 Florida State. The weekend road trip continues bright and early on Saturday morning with another short drive, this time to Oxford for Auburn-Ole Miss. The Rebels, a preseason top 25 team, have been picked as a sleeper by many “experts” and this Week 10 game against the Tigers is their chance to prove it, assuming they enter with less than three losses.   Week 11 No.  Date Away Team Home Team Location Miles 24 11/4 Bowling Green Akron Akron, OH 732 25 11/5 Buffalo Ohio Athens, OH 161 26 11/8 Alabama LSU Baton Rouge, LA 983 Week 11 is the Return of the MAC(k), with games in Akron (vs. Bowling Green) and Athens (Ohio vs. Buffalo), both of which should help determine the conference champion. While the excitement of MAC football will always be debated, these are two games worth checking out mid-week before heading back to SEC country for Bama-LSU. Our first and only visit to Baton Rouge graciously allows us to see another elite SEC game, with both teams expecting to be jockeying for one of the top four playoff slots. Bama and LSU do not play football to win meaningless bowl games. They play football to win national titles and this game will be a huge determinant for the CFP committee.   Week 12 No.  Date Away Team Home Team Location Miles 27 11/13 Eastern Carolina Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH 858 28 11/15 Nebraska Wisconsin Madison, WI 444 Entering into crunch time, Week 12 may not hold many sexy games, but a 858 mile trip to Cincinnati from Baton Rouge is worth it to check on Tommy Tumberville and the Bearcats, especially since it’s on the way to Madison, Wisconsin. If Melvin Gordon’s Badgers can get past LSU in Houston to open 2014, they have a phenomenal shot at the playoff. While an upset by Nebraska in Madison on November 15th is possible, we don’t see it happening but it still remains an incredible college town atmosphere.   Week 13 No.  Date Away Team Home Team Location Miles 29 11/22 UCLA USC Los Angeles, CA 1,974 After a month of sub-1,000 mile drives, Los Angeles comes calling again. The nearly 2,000 mile trip from Madison to L.A is heavy duty but we’re not missing a UCLA-USC matchup, one that new Trojans coach Steve Sarkisian is very familiar with. Try to make the drive in less than three days in order to enjoy a couple much-needed sun days in Manhattan Beach before the potential top 25 late-season rivalry game at the Coliseum.   Week 14 No.  Date Away Team Home Team Location Miles 30 11/27 LSU Texas A&M College Station, TX 1,482 31 11/29 Auburn Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL 628 Week 14 brings another cross-country gallop as LSU-Texas A&M is calling from College Station. Our first chance to see the $400 million in renovations to Kyle Field and the electric atmosphere is just icing on the cake. Both teams fully expect to be in both SEC and playoff contention in late November, but only one will likely be teetering on the top four edge. As if LSU-A&M isn’t enough, strap on the fanny pack and head east for the Iron Bowl, a visit chosen over a host of other rivalry games because, well, it’s the Iron Bowl. We sure hope everyone pinched their road trip pennies this week because one ticket to Auburn-Alabama in Tuscaloosa is gonna cost upwards of $400. It’s our fourth Auburn game and third Alabama game of the season, but no one cares. It’s the Iron Bowl.   Week 15 No.  Date Away Team Home Team Location Miles 32 12/6 Kansas State Baylor Waco, TX 624 33 12/6 Oklahoma State Oklahoma Norman, OK 271 Depending upon conference title game schedules and matchups, Week 15 is a tentative trip but the drive to Big 12 country is worth it. It will also be our first and only aggressive attempt at two games in one day, a feat that will surely put a little hair on your chest. Assuming Kansas State-Baylor in Waco is an early game, there is time to make the quick 271 mile poke to Norman for Oklahoma State-Oklahoma. There is almost a guarantee that one, if not both, will determine who wins the Big 12 title.   Week 16 No.  Date Away Team Home Team Location Miles 34 12/13 Army Navy Baltimore, MD 1,352 No way are we missing Army-Navy, even if it does mean a meaty 1,352 mile car ride from Norman to Baltimore. Yes, last year’s game between the service academies was dull but this event remains imperative to college football and is a perfect end to a 16 week road trip.   Recap: The Ultimate College Football Road Trip for 2014 includes 34 games over 108 days and covers an astronomical 30,922 miles (plus 2,558 air miles to Honolulu to conclude Week 8). You will hit Eugene, Los Angeles (USC & UCLA), Tuscaloosa, Louisville, Waco and Norman twice along with 21 other cities. The ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC all get turns, as does the Mountain West, MAC and two Independents in Army and Navy. Notre Dame, Florida, Ohio State Texas fans will surely be pissed that none of their away games were included, let alone an actual visit to South Bend, Gainesville, Columbus or Austin, but sacrifices must be made. Missouri and North Carolina remain the other two lone preseason top 25 teams not on the itinerary. Depending upon your team affiliation, you may want to adjust the Week 15-16 travel plans in order to snag the respective conference title games, but if you’re an Iowa State, Kentucky or Wake Forest fan you’ll have plenty of late-season time. No.  Date Away Team Home Team Location Miles 1 8/28 Texas A&M South Carolina Columbia, SC 2 8/30 Clemson Georgia Athens, GA 165 3 8/31 SMU Baylor Waco, TX 890 4 9/1 Miami (FL) Louisville Louisville, KY 930 5 9/5 Washington State Nevada Reno, NV 2,094 6 9/6 Michigan State Oregon Eugene, OR 427 7 9/11 Houston BYU Provo, UT 823 8 9/13 Tennessee Oklahoma Norman, OK 824 9 9/18 Auburn Kansas State Manhattan, KS 305 10 9/20 Clemson Florida State Tallahassee, FL 1,103 11 9/25 UCLA Arizona State Tempe, AZ 1,877 12 9/26 Fresno State New Mexico Albuquerque, NM 411 13 9/27 Stanford Washington Seattle, WA 1,434 14 10/2 Arizona Oregon Eugene, OR 283 15 10/4 LSU Auburn Auburn, AL 2,605 16 10/11 Oregon UCLA Los Angeles, CA 2,138 17 10/12 Wyoming Hawaii Honolulu, HI - 18 10/16 Virginia Tech Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA 2,427 19 10/18 Texas A&M Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL 805 20 10/23 Miami (FL) Virginia Tech Blacksburg, VA 548 21 10/25 Michigan Michigan State East Lansing, MI 551 22 10/30 Florida State Louisville Louisville, KY 369 23 11/1 Auburn Ole Miss Oxford, MS 404 24 11/4 Bowling Green Akron Akron, OH 732 25 11/5 Buffalo Ohio Athens, OH 161 26 11/8 Alabama LSU Baton Rouge, LA 983 27 11/13 Eastern Carolina Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH 858 28 11/15 Nebraska Wisconsin Madison, WI 444 29 11/22 UCLA USC Los Angeles, CA 1,974 30 11/27 LSU Texas A&M College Station, TX 1,482 31 11/29 Auburn Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL 628 32 12/6 Kansas State Baylor Waco, TX 624 33 12/6 Oklahoma State Oklahoma Norman, OK 271 34 12/13 Army Navy Baltimore, MD 1,352 Article found on: Next Impulse Sports
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