Being a football fan can be hard work. In addition to all the devotion and energy that fans pour into their respective teams, fandom can also require planning and a financial investment. For many hardcore fans, traveling to follow and support their teams is part of the job description.
So, as the season begins to loom larger on the horizon, Nebraska fans need to sit down with their calendars and their checkbooks and decide which road trips make the most sense to make.
We here at Bleacher Report, always aiming to be helpful to the fan, provide this power ranking of Nebraska’s 2012 road trips to help you make your travel plans.
Rick Steves, you’ve got nothing on me.
In other years, a trip to Spartan Stadium would be a nice, middle-of-the-road excursion for Nebraska fans.
Michigan State supports its team well, and the Spartans have a number of cool traditions for Nebraska fans to experience, including the Spartan Walk of the team through the campus to the stadium, the "Spinning S" band move and the playing of the clip from the movie "300" when King Leonidas asks the assembled Michigan State fans, "Spartans! What is your profession?"
Still, Spartan Stadium is (no disrespect intended) not "The Horseshoe," and East Lansing isn’t Los Angeles (or even Columbus). So for 2012, the Michigan State trip is the runt of the litter for Nebraska fans.
In and of itself, Columbus isn’t a bad place to visit. It’s got a nice zoo, a picturesque German Village and some great places to eat.
But let’s face it: The allure of a trip to Columbus is the game and the stadium.
Ohio Stadium (better known as "The Horseshoe") seats over 100,000 people, and the atmosphere in Urban Meyer’s first season when Nebraska comes to town should be nothing short of electric.
Add in the pregame festivities, including Script Ohio and the dotting of the I, and Nebraska fans will be treated to one of the great college football spectacles in the country.
Full disclosure here: I am the only member of my family who does not have a degree from the University of Iowa. When my younger brother went to school in Iowa City, I frequently made the four-hour trip down Interstate-80 from Omaha to the IC and back in a day. While the road-trip conference games of the Big 12 might be a thing of the past, Iowa City is still a make-able drive.
And Iowa City has an underrated game day atmosphere.
On game day, there is an ongoing party for blocks surrounding Kinnick Stadium, and the tailgating and atmosphere prior to a Hawkeyes game is second to none. Add into that the budding rivalry between Iowa and Nebraska and, make no mistake, Iowa fans raised the bar with their support of the Hawkeyes at last year’s Heroes Game.
And Iowa City has a number of attractions—from the Ped Mall to Prairie Lights to the Hamburg Inn No. 2—that make it a desirable destination.
An 11:00 a.m. CT kickoff means you can rouse yourself from a turkey-induced coma and leave Omaha early enough to arrive in Iowa City, tailgate a bit, take in the game and then drive home that evening. You also have the option of stopping for the night in Des Moines or Cedar Rapids if you can’t score a hotel room within Iowa City and can’t quite stomach the idea of a there-and-back day trip.
The move to the B1G meant that Nebraska would lose conference road games that were drivable distances for fans—like Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State. But the addition of Northwestern as a conference foe makes for an underrated weekend travel opportunity.
Flights from Omaha to Chicago are awfully reasonable. The Northwestern campus is located in Evanston, an accessible Chicago suburb adjoining Lake Michigan.
Chicago boasts plenty of attractions that will keep non-football family members entertained while the Children of the Corn prepare for the game. And a late October schedule means the Chicago weather should still be enjoyable for a weekend getaway.
There’s so much going for Nebraska fans heading to see NU take on the new-look Bruins.
First of all, you get to see a game in the most iconic football stadium in the country. The Rose Bowl, nestled comfortably in sunny Pasadena, would most likely get the call if the United States ever wanted to establish a national stadium like Wembley Stadium in England.
Secondly, the game being set as a prime-time game means that Nebraska fans will get to see a southern California sunset while watching the game.
Nebraska fans are certainly hoping for a return trip to Pasadena in January—but for a September non-conference game, you can’t ask for a much better destination.
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