College Football's Ultimate 2012 Road Trip: 15 Weeks, 15 Games
It’s completely and utterly random, but by golly, you’ll absolutely take it.
On a calm August Saturday, your doorbell rings. You open it and are greeted by none other than Barry Switzer. The Barry Switzer comes with gifts that stretch beyond his presence alone, which is a rather substantial gift in itself.
“Congratulations," he says as he steps foot in your home. “You’ve won.” He also asks if you have any Bud Heavy, and you do, so you oblige.
After gushing over having Barry Switzer in your kitchen for an uncomfortable 11 minutes (uncomfortable for him, not you), you learn you’ve won the prize of a lifetime. The NCAA has awarded you and three incredibly lucky friends the ultimate college football road trip in 2012. Don't ask how, just scream like an 11-year-old girl. There you go.
Tickets, accommodations and upscale transpiration—a luxury RV equipped with a driver and a functional bathroom—are included for one game a week for the entire 2012 season.
A substantial budget for food and alcohol is also included, as well as a formal letter excusing you from all work between the end of August and early December. It’s signed by the president of the United States, which means your baseball-lovin' boss will just have to deal.
God bless America.
There are no strings attached, although you must tell Coach Switzer which game you plan to attend each week before he leaves your home, i.e. before that 12-pack of Bud Heavy is long gone.
You call your friends, take the verbal beating their now incredibly unhappy wives give you and discuss when and where you’ll be visiting this college football season.
Let's live out this hypothetical dream scenario in style.
Week 1, September 1: Michigan vs. Alabama (Dallas)
We’re gassing up the RV and headed to Jerry’s World for Week 1. I’m happy to report that this 5-star hotel on wheels has multiple kegerators and, oh my God, football, you guys.
With the solid out-of-conference scheduling that we see in the opening week, this decision was rather difficult…wait, no, never mind, the slate of games is actually rather pedestrian, so heading to Dallas to watch the defending champs play perhaps the most exciting player in the game was a layup.
We’ve also placed the over/under on the number of times we yell “Roll Tide” at awkward, uncomfortable moments throughout the weekend at 4,578.
Week 2, September 8: Florida at Texas A&M
A short-ish ride is on tap for the second act, but this doesn't bother us one bit. In fact, we've already mapped out a substantial road trip within the road trip that revolves around eating Texas cuisine.
Although we thought long and hard about traveling to Mizzou for Missouri-Georgia, we decided on College Station’s SEC debut instead. Florida and Texas A&M could go a variety of ways in 2012, and this early tester will tell us quite a bit about both teams going forward. This is a very underrated game in the early going.
Texas A&M’s SEC transition will be an interesting one to watch, and we’ll do our part in being as loud and obnoxious as humanly possible to make the campus feel SEC-ready.
Week 3, September 15: Alabama at Arkansas
Week 3 of the college football season, Week 3 in SEC land. We’re not complaining, although we are packing pairs of pants two sizes larger and up with weight gain likely in play. Our already troubled physiques are about to go to war. And they will lose.
Nick Saban and John L. Smith have about as much in common as you do with your computer screen, but that’s what makes this game glorious. Both teams just happen to be pretty damn good, too.
We’ll be bringing extra phone batteries to stay current with USC-Stanford and Notre Dame-Michigan State, although these phones will undoubtedly end up lost or in a bucket of barbeque sauce.
Week 4, September 22: Michigan at Notre Dame
The group almost came to blows over this decision, although in the end, the Notre Dame fan prevailed. Seriously, he was so incredibly obnoxious about it that we all just kind of gave in.
Kansas State-Oklahoma could very well put on a better show, but we’ll get to you soon enough, Big 12. With that being said, this could be a doozy.
If this one approaches last year’s thriller, then we will pat our Irish fan on the back and buy him a Guinness. Watching Denard Robinson under the lights in a marquee matchup needs no convincing, so we'll head into this with high hopes.
If it disappoints, however, we will make our buddy get a "I <3 Tommy Rees" tattoo on his lower back. Fair is fair.
Week 5, September 29: Wisconsin at Nebraska
A chance to take in a night game in Memorial Stadium, you say? Why, don’t mind if we do.
To be blunt, the Week 5 slate leaves a lot to be desired, although we’re awfully excited about seeing two of the Big Ten’s best tee it up in an atmosphere such as this. The RV will get a bit more work this week, which sounds like a really prime opportunity to test out some of the great corn scattered around the Midwest.
One member of the group suggested we see Duke take on Wake Forest instead. Oh, good one, buddy. Now, that is why I included you on this four-month journey.
Wait, he was being serious?
Week 6, October 4: Georgia at South Carolina
Here’s another very tough decision but a lovely spot to be in. We’re headed back to SEC country, which pretty much hogs all (or at least most) of the best games. Half the group wanted to check out LSU and Florida duke it out in the Swamp, while the other half wanted to take in Georgia and South Carolina.
The group flipped a visor on it (it landed open-head up), which means we’re headed to S.C. for the biggest SEC East game in 2012.
Our ultimate goal is to get Steve Spurrier to sign our poster of him in our luxury bathroom, although that would involve telling him we have a poster of him in our luxury bathroom.
Week 7, October 13: Texas vs. Oklahoma (Red River Shootout)
A no-brainer. Even the Notre Dame bro agreed.
You could make a solid case that South Carolina at LSU might provide the best atmosphere all week. Also, USC and Washington might score 200 points or so, which sounds oh so tempting. Forget the point spread; that will be entertaining.
The opportunity to enjoy the Red River Shootout, however, is one we’re not passing on. This, regardless of whether or not Texas has solved its QB issues by this point (and that’s a big ol’ maybe), is a rivalry we will not pass on.
When we asked Barry Switzer if he would join us at this tailgate, he went off on a 45-minute tangent that centered on proper guard play. It was awesome.
Week 8, October 20: Virginia Tech at Clemson
The ACC finally gets some love, and we’re hitting up the Clemson campus for this monstrous conference showdown.
Kansas State traveling to West Virginia was certainly considered for a while, but we’re saving our Morgantown trip for a later date. Really, we could go to Morgantown every home game and be pigs in slop, but we’re incredibly intrigued by the potential ramifications surrounding this game.
In true Clemson fashion, however, we're a bit concerned that the RV will drive smoothly through the first half or so of the trip and then suddenly break down on the back stretch. I'm sure it's nothing to worry about, but we're bringing a few extra spares.
Week 9, October 27: Florida vs. Georgia (Jacksonville)
The World’s Largest Outdoor [NAME REDACTED BY OUR LEGAL TEAM] needs no introduction, justification or backing. At this point in the season, Florida could very well be out of the Top 25, and the “Mark Richt on the hot seat?” talks could be in motion for the 143rd consecutive year.
None of it matters.
Our RV will get down to Jacksonville midweek, and we will spend the next five days eating and drinking as much as humanly possible. There will also be a football game on Saturday that we will happily attend, if we make it that far.
Although this group has plenty of discipline, this week concerns me in the best possible way.
Week 10, November 3: Oregon at USC
Well, we’re screwed. We have so many places to be and only one place to which we can actually travel. This is a loaded slate of games from morning to late night, although two massive showdowns separate themselves from all the others.
Alabama-LSU or USC-Oregon? That's like asking if you want lobster or the fillet. Because we can't do surf and turf, the Rematch of the Century of the Week of the Year will have to go on without us. In the end, we chose...points, lots and lots of points.
This will be one long trip across the country, but we all agreed this would be a perfect time to...forget it, we'll just eat the whole time and get loaded playing NCAA 13.
Week 11, November 10: Kansas State at TCU
College football’s finest batch of games is followed by a pedestrian lineup with just a few solid traveling options. It doesn't bother us one bit.
We thought about heading to South Carolina to watch it take on Arkansas (and for more Ol’ Ball Coach, assuming he signed our bathroom poster), but we’re instead checking out TCU in its building, in its inaugural Big 12 season.
We want to witness Bill Snyder’s incredible magic up close and in person, and we already started a pool centering on a "who could beat that purple steroid frog in a pushup" contest. I like my chances.
Week 12, November 17: Oklahoma at West Virginia
I’d by lying if I said I didn’t mandate this game to the group. They didn’t fight me on it, not for one second, but instead immediately headed over to Google and searched for “best moonshine recipes.” Don’t act like you’ve never done that before.
Oklahoma could very well be lined up for a national-championship appearance, with the Mountaineers standing in their way. You could say the same about WVU at this point if the offense is as potent as we expect it to be.
Forget records and conferences, however. Some games and atmospheres need no excuse to warrant your attendance, and this is one of them. This decision will undoubtedly end up in flames, perhaps literally and figuratively.
Week 13, November 24: Michigan at Ohio State
Hello, rivalry week.
This debate got ugly yet again. It didn't help having Coach Switzer yelling "BOOOOOOOMER" in the background either, but his request was taken into consideration. Although our group of friends may not actually be friends by the time this week rolls around, we reached a decision regardless.
The Iron Bowl, Bedlam, Florida-Florida State and Notre Dame-USC were all mentioned as possible destinations and would all be fantastic choices any other week. We’ll gladly sprinkle in some Columbus game-day atmosphere, however, especially when it's Brady Hoke vs. Urban Meyer: Round 1.
Week 14, December 1: The SEC Championship
After some very intense negotiating with Barry Switzer (cough, cough, more Bud Heavies, cough, cough), we were able to secure tickets for the SEC championship. “Technically” our deal was for the regular season only. He mumbled a bit, made a call and presto.
We don’t know who will be playing in this game just yet, but we’ll gladly secure our spot to be there ahead of time. And if we don’t weigh more than 600 pounds by this point of road trip, we'll have let everyone down.
I'm not letting my family down.
Week 15, December 8: Army vs. Navy
The road trip is over, you say? Not so fast, my friend. We still have one more magnificent setting to visit before they pull this magic-carpet ride right out from under us.
Our final voyage takes us to Philly for Army-Navy, one of the game's finer rivalries and a celebration of America, men, football and competition all in one place. What a wonderful nightcap.
We’ll gas up the RV one last time, light off fireworks, toss them out the window and listen to “The Star Spangled Banner” on repeat for the entire drive. We will then brainstorm ways we could possibly convince Barry Switzer to get us this setup for the bowl games. We won't ask him yet, but only when the time is right.
We're not ungrateful; we just don't want it to ever end.