Take 5: College football road trip | Take5

Every few years, I like to come up with a schedule I call the ultimate college football road trip. The idea is simple. Pick one game each week to travel to for a road trip, but don’t see any team play more than once all season. I don’t try to actually attend any of these games. It would be too expensive. It’s a fun exercise though.

It gets tough too. The first four or five games are easy to pick. The last three or four are always hard, though, when you’ve already picked Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, USC, Georgia and Michigan.

Here is my try at a great road trip financed by a fictional billionaire, along with one round-trip flight.

Week Zero

Games: Nebraska vs. Northwestern

Date: Saturday, Aug. 27, at 11:30 am

Location: Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland

Reason: There aren’t many games to choose from in week zero. This is the only game featuring two Power Five teams, and they are division rivals too. Eight of the last 11 games between the two squads have been decided by eight points or less, so it’s likely the game will be close. Plus, it’s a chance to visit a foreign country. You can eat bangers and mash while watching two teams that will probably struggle to reach a bowl game.

Week One

Possibilities: Oregon vs. Georgia, Cincinnati at Arkansas, Notre Dame at Ohio State, Florida State vs. LSU.

Games: Oregon vs. Georgia

Date: Saturday, Sept. 3, at 2:30 pm

Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA

Reason: Both teams are ranked in the top 11 to start the year. There also aren’t many games involving Georgia, the defending national champions, that look very good on paper. This is one that could be good though.

Week Two

Possibilities: Alabama at Texas, Tennessee at Pittsburgh, Washington State at Wisconsin, Iowa State at Iowa, Kentucky at Florida, Arizona State at Oklahoma State, Baylor at BYU.

Games: Iowa at Iowa State

Date: Saturday, Sept. 10, at 3 pm

Location: Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City

Reason: Weird stuff happens a lot of the time when Iowa and Iowa State play. Plus, it’s a chance to watch a few former N’West Iowa athletes like Iowa State’s Hunter Dekkers and Iowa’s Monte Pottebaum play.

Week Three

Possibilities: Georgia at South Carolina, Purdue at Syracuse, Oklahoma at Nebraska, BYU at Oregon, Penn State at Auburn, Miami at Texas A&M.

Game: Miami at Texas A&M

Date: Saturday, Sept. 17, at 8 pm

Location: Kyle Field in College Station, TX

Reason: Both teams are ranked in the top 16 to open the season. Is The U back? Can Texas A&M live up to preseason expectations after opening ranked sixth? This game may provide some answers. Plus, it’s a chance to see a huge home crowd and find out of A&M is deserving of calling their fans the 12th man.

Week Four

Possibilities: West Virginia at Virginia Tech, Wisconsin at Ohio State, Clemson at Wake Forest, Arkansas at Texas A&M, Florida at Tennessee.

Games: Florida at Tennessee

Date: Saturday, Sept. 24, at TBD

Location: Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, TN

Reason: It’s a classic rivalry, even though neither team is ranked to open the season. There have been plenty of close games in recent seasons. It offers the opportunity to see the Vol Navy near the stadium along with 100,000 fans singing “Rocky Top.”

Week Five

Possibilities: Alabama at Arkansas, NC State at Clemson, Michigan at Iowa, Oklahoma State at Baylor, Michigan State at Maryland, Kentucky at Ole Miss, LSU at Auburn.

Games: Michigan State at Maryland

Date: Saturday, Oct. 1, at TBD

Location: Maryland Stadium in College Park, MD

Reason: Look. If you can’t see any team twice, that limits some of the options in a few weeks. But Michigan State is ranked coming off a big season last year. Since it’s a road trip, weird things can happen. Maryland is supposed to have a tough offense with Taulia Tagovailoa too.

Week Six

Possibilities: Texas A&M at Alabama, Ohio State at Michigan State, Auburn at Georgia, Utah at UCLA, Texas vs. Oklahoma, Tennessee at LSU, Kansas State at Iowa State, BYU at Notre Dame.

Games: Utah at UCLA

Date: Saturday, Oct. 8, at TBD

Location: Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA

Reason: Utah is the defending PAC 12 champions and ranked seventh to open the season. I wanted to find a way to get USC on this list, but couldn’t. Settling for a road game at the Rose Bowl isn’t a bad consolation prize though. UCLA is coming off an 8-4 season, so it’s not an easy game for the Utes.

Week Seven

Possibilities: Baylor at West Virginia, Alabama at Tennessee, USC at Utah, Penn State at Michigan, Wisconsin at Michigan State, Arkansas at BYU, LSU at Florida.

Game: Baylor at West Virginia

Date: Thursday, Oct. 13, at 6 pm

Location: Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, WV

Reason: The first game not on a Saturday. Baylor is ranked 10th to open the season, but can the Bears make the long trip to Morgantown and leave with a win? West Virginia has been tough to beat at home since joining the Big 12. Plus, you can watch around 60,000 people sing “Country Roads.”

Week Eight

Possibilities: Iowa at Ohio State, UCLA at Oregon, Texas at Oklahoma State, Ole Miss at LSU, Minnesota at Penn State, Purdue at Wisconsin.

Game: Purdue at Wisconsin

Date: Saturday, Oct. 22, at 2:30 pm

Location: Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, WI

Reason: Outside of Iowa, these are the other teams most likely to win the Big 10 West division. It’s a contrast in styles on offense, which is always fun. Plus, it’s an opportunity to see Camp Randall Stadium and the campus. Hopefully you have enough energy in the fourth quarter to take part in the “Jump Around” dance.

Week Nine

Possibilities: Utah at Washington State, Ohio State at Penn State, Ole Miss at Texas A&M, Michigan State at Michigan, Oklahoma at Iowa State, Oklahoma State at Kansas State, Arkansas at Auburn, Kentucky at Tennessee, Cincinnati at UCF, Florida vs. Georgian.

Games: Arkansas at Auburn

Date: Saturday, Oct. 29, at TBD

Location: Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, AL

Reason: This is the last of the so-so games before a great closing stretch. It’s a division rivalry game. Arkansas, ranked 19th to open the season, has to go on the road too. It offers the chance to see the War Eagle at Auburn too.

Week 10

Possibilities: Alabama at LSU, Tennessee at Georgia, Baylor at Oklahoma, Wake Forest at NC State, BYU at Boise State, Clemson at Notre Dame.

Game: Clemson at Notre Dame

Date: Saturday, Nov. 5, at 6:30 pm

Location: Notre Dame Stadium in Notre Dame, IN

Reason: Well, both teams opened the season in the top five. Both teams have made the playoffs multiple times in the last five years. They are each loaded with talent. Plus, it offers the chance to see Notre Dame’s stadium in person. Will the Irish wear the alternate green jerseys they usually lose in? We’ll see.

Week 11

Possibilities: Alabama at Ole Miss, Texas A&M at Auburn, Wisconsin at Iowa.

Game: Alabama at Ole Miss

Date: Saturday, Nov. 12, at TBD

Location: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, MS

Reason: A week after Alabama plays a slugfest at LSU, the Crimson Tide have to turn around and play at Ole Miss. There aren’t a ton of games on Alabama’s schedule that look like they could be close. But the Tide, ranked first to open the season, could have their hands full with Ole Miss and Lane Kiffin. Plus, it’s a chance to see The Grove and find out if it’s as great as people claim.

Week 12

Possibilities: Wisconsin at Nebraska, Georgia at Kentucky, Miami at Clemson, Utah at Oregon, Oklahoma State at Oklahoma, Ole Miss at Arkansas, Iowa at Minnesota.

Games: Oklahoma State at Oklahoma

Date: Saturday, Nov. 19, at TBD

Location: Memorial Stadium in Norman, OK

Reason: Bedlam is usually a great game. Oklahoma State doesn’t win very often, just three times since 2003, but the Cowboys did earn a 37-33 victory last season. Most of the games the past decade have been high-scoring affairs that aren’t decided until late. Since Oklahoma, along with Texas, is leaving for the SEC soon, this may be one of the last chances to watch the in-state rivals play.

Week 13

Possibilities: Nebraska at Iowa, Florida at Florida State, Auburn at Alabama, Notre Dame at USC, Michigan State at Penn State, Pittsburgh at Miami, Michigan at Ohio State.

Game: Michigan at Ohio State

Date: Saturday, Nov. 26, at 11 am

Location: Ohio Stadium in Columbus, OH

Reason: This is a little-known fact about Ohio State and Michigan, but these two teams do not care for each other. Last season, Michigan won for the first time since 2011. The Wolverines won the division and the conference too and earned a playoff berth. Ohio State probably wants to get that bad taste out of its mouth. Both teams are ranked in the top eight to open the season and could still be when they play in late November.


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