College Football Road Trips: The Ones I Must Make

Barking CarnivalAnalyst IMay 3, 2010

ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 1: Head coach Joe Paterno of the Penn State Nittany Lions looks on during the 2010 Capital One Bowl against the LSU Tigers at the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium on January 1, 2010 in Orlando, Florida. Penn State won 19-17. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

As I’ve written many times on this blog, my M.O. these days is to make a road game every year.

Believe it or not, I haven’t been to a game in Norman since ’04. It’s not that I can’t or won’t make the opp to do so, it’s just that I get two hall passes a year.

One is in my beloved Cotton Bowl in October and the other is the road game that I make with a couple buddies every year. (Before you besmirch my hall pass ability, remember I married an Orangeblood.)

However, now that Male Heir No. 1 and Male Heir No. 2 will be 10 and 8 this fall, respectively, they’re ready to move up from the odd SMU game 10 minutes from the house and a dad willing to leave at halftime to the real deal at the corner of Lindsay and Jenkins. But I digress.

Additionally, before I go any further, it is to be noted that between now and 2020, our athletic executives have scheduled home-and-home series to the localities of Tallahassee, Fla.; South Bend, Ind.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Columbus, Ohio; and, though less challenging but most interesting, West Point, N.Y. (please, God, don’t let them move that game to The Bronx.)

We have really good schedules coming down the pike, so it is with a respectful nod to the job the boys have done so far that I submit the following wish/bucket list….not in preference order, but rather in east to west, north to south order…

Happy Valley— There are WAY sexier programs of the last 40 years in CFB, but are there any that have displayed more consistent excellence than JoePa’s troops and Oklahoma’s?

We’ve both had our odd down periods, but as an old school guy, this would be an old school home and home from which we could all teach our children. After all, for God’s sake, squeaky clean High Waters wrote the foreword of The King’s book!!! And, who can forget this…….

Piscataway, N.J.— not The Meadowlands, not new Yankee Stadium, but Rutgers campus. Why? First and foremost, college football games should ALWAYS be played on campus.

The reason my “boys” and my road trip this year will be to Columbia, MO and not Cincinnati, is that the Sooners and Bearcats are playing in the unhallowed ground of Bengals (Paul Brown) Stadium. Yeah, yeah, recruits want to play in NFL confines, but, if they’re good enough, they’ll get plenty of opportunities later.

Back to The State University of New Jersey. The football reasons…East Coast exposure….NYC television market (though less than ND)…Inter-sectional, which has always been a great ambassador of CFB…and, from the Road Warrior perspective, a weekend in New York.

Annapolis— Maybe I’m 42 going on 70, but I still think the service academies are super-cool and I’d love to visit them. The Middies are no pushover, and Annapolis would be a ball. Baltimore and Philadelphia need not apply.

The Big House You shouldn’t have to ask why, especially after the maize and blue dumps RichRod in eight months.

Bobby Dodd— I was in ATL a couple weeks ago, on the way to the greatness of Augusta (some of you will have read). I had business associates meeting me, so we agreed to meet in HotLanta on Thursday and drive over to Shangri-La on Friday.

So, I get up to my $139 room at the Renaissance downtown ATL and walk out on the patio to be damn near looking right down on Bobby Dodd Stadium at Georgia Tech.

Small, confined, probably damned loud, and right in the middle of town. Exactly everything SMU hopes GJ Ford will be someday. Urban football, CFB style.

Tuscaloosa— We’ve been there, done that, in 2003. I just didn’t get to go. For the sake of me and me alone, re-schedule. Besides, my nephew is a frosh there and thinks their shit don’t stink. Maybe a whoopin’ from another Crimson will learn him that prosperity is not to be taken for granted, as if he were there three years ago…..

Vandy— Nashville sounds like fun and I’m a country music boy. Remember, the road trip is just as much about, or more, the trip than the game. And Oklahoma/Vandy, with apologies to the great George Strait, would truly be “Murder on Music Row.”

The Hilltop— it’s 10 minutes from my house and the tailgating on the Boulevard is better than the game presentation. Enough said.

MadTown— some of you know I work in the Midwest. For those BC’er/Orangebloods of you, I inform that, if you take Austin and halve the population AND the air temperature, you have Madison. Seriously cool town. Serious about football.

Here’s how the five day weekend works….Wednesday, golf at Grand Geneva or Geneva National…..Thursday morning, golf at Whistling Straits in the morning, Blackwolf Run in the afternoon. Hired driver (we are seasoned adults and don’t drink and drive) from Kohler to Madison, about 75 minutes…Two liters of Belvedere for the trip. Friday shoot around town, Saturday game day.

Evanston, Ill. —Again, not Soldier Field, not Wrigley (see announcement this week about NU/UI matchup at 1060 W. Addison, which is actually really cool), but Ryan Field in Evanston. Same locale reasons as the Hilltop. Same TV/Recruiting reasons as Piscataway.

Rice, Rice, Rice— Okay, my vintage Aggie brothers-in-law my enlighten you on the precursor chant to “Rice, Rice, Rice,” but, as this is a family blog, and one not disposed to ethnic comedy, I’ll just say that Rice and its Stadium is one of only two (dedicated, Orange Bowl don’t count. Nobody knew UM played there until 1983) college football stadiums to host a Super Bowl (old Stanford Stadium, SB 1994 the other).

Houston, though as a Dallas boy I hold my nose, is soon to be in 2010 census, I’m told, the third largest city in this here Union, is a very desirable place to play for TV and recruiting purposes.

Laramie, Wy.— NDS, you hypocrite SOB!!! Aren’t you the one who lambasted UT for going there last year? Guilty. But, you know, Texas, all 25 million of it, and Oklahoma, are two different things.

There’s a kindred cowboy connection between OK and WY, and it would be a fun trip (don’t forget, this wish list is about great trips, not great matchups, per se).

Sailor Ripley, et al, can spare me the Brokeback jokes here…Besides, what Sooner fan can pass up the opportunity to beat two Pistol Pete’s in the same year??

ASU— Phil Mickelson (who completes me… http://boomerandsooner.fantake.com/2010/04/12/phil-mickelson-completes-me-or-the-event-every-sports-fan-must-get-to-once/)

I have to say, having attended the incredible OhSt-Miami BCS NC game in 2003, that this just might be the best venue in College Football. It’s too bad that its resident is inconsistent, but I’m telling you, boys, this venue is awesome.

The four-day weekend??? Stay at The Phoenician or Westin Kierland. Thursday golf at Phoenician or Greyhawk (Frick?). Friday golf at Boulders or TPC. Saturday, Jilly’s, then bus to what must be a September night game. Shitty weekend, huh???

UNLV— C’mon. This network has UT, Aggie, Tortilla Tech., Sic ‘Em, Okie Lite, Cornhusker, Blue and Gold and even Cal Golden Bear sites, so why aren’t we all demanding our AD’s schedule the not so Runnin’ Reb’s?

Look, I spent three years spending 30 days a year in Sodom and Gomorrah, but its still a top destination…I’m advocating this for the readers more than me. LV is a potential great four-day weekend.

And the golf I reco’d from Wisconsin and Scottsdale. KICK IT UP a notch for Sin City. My recommendations are Southern Highlands, if you can, Cascata and Red Rocks.

UCLA— it’s always a good idea to play in SoCal. And I’ve never been to the Rose Bowl.

Berkeley— I went to the ’97 game. Neither team was worth a shit, and it showed. But, I remember sitting in the visitors section toward the top of the east side of the stadium and being able to see the entire City skyline from a college football venue. Seriously good stuff. Rinse. Repeat.

Besides, two days of Napa winery visits are a damn good boot. (Anybody I’m close to gets hosted at Domaine Chandon!! www.chandon.com

So, there it is. My 10-15 year road trip list. Have I forgotten anything I should consider? Are there any places that may also be important to the Fantake Rank and File?

Discuss….

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This column originally appeared on Boomer And Sooner

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