Ranking the Toughest Road Trips Remaining in the College Football Season
Playing on the road always seems to be tough, except in the case of Oregon at Arizona State. It was much uglier than the score.
While conventional wisdom would say that playing every game at home is ideal, it's just not reality.
Everybody has to go on the road.
It's as certain as death and taxes; some of your games are going to be in a hostile environment, surrounded by fans that have been tailgating too long.
The 10 games listed here are the toughest road tests remaining this season that don't include cupcakes.
And by cupcakes, we mean anyone in the Big East or Big Ten except for Ohio State. Just kidding.
The 10 games listed here will provide an opportunity for the visiting squad to test its mettle in an environment that will definitely be less than friendly.
10. Stanford at Oregon: November 17
The fact that Autzen Stadium is loud and unfriendly for visitors has been visited and revisited.
Stanford gets to find out how tough it is in person.
The Ducks have been spectacular this year, simply demolishing teams, even if those teams are not exactly elite squads.
Stepfan Taylor and the Cardinal meet up with a team of Ducks looking to make a statement, as they have been jumped by both Kansas State and Notre Dame in the BCS rankings.
Stanford, as a ranked opponent, gives Oregon the chance to try and make up some ground on the Irish and Wildcats in a game that could have a huge impact on the order of finish in the Pac-12 North.
When De'Anthony Thomas is pulling off ridiculous returns it's going to be very difficult to even come close to beating Chip Kelly's squad.
9. Boise State at Nevada: December 1
Don't look now, but Boise State is again ranked in the top 20 of the BCS standings.
The Broncos have only lost one game this season, their season-opening trip to East Lansing to face Michigan State.
Quarterback Kellen Moore has been missed, as have the large number of starters that left following the 2011 season.
The Broncos continue to win, but have not been blowing teams away in the manner to which we have become accustomed.
Nevada hosts BSU in the final game of the regular season, and last time the Broncos faced Nevada on the road, in 2010, their bid for a BCS game fell short with a missed field goal as time expired.
Nevada, while not a great team this season, has the nation's leading rusher in Stefphon Jefferson, and an offense that is capable of putting up huge numbers.
The Broncos will find themselves in a dogfight to close the season.
8. Kansas at West Virginia: December 1
To say Kansas has struggled this season might be an understatement.
The Jayhawks, led by Charlie Weis, have limped to a 1-7 record this season, and have yet to win a game in the Big 12 conference.
Their lone victory came over FCS South Dakota State.
Enter West Virginia in the last game of the season.
While the Mountaineers have been exposed as a sorry excuse for BCS title contenders, there is no denying that this offense is still one of the best in the nation.
This combination is not conducive for anything close to success for the Jayhawks.
7. Alabama at LSU: November 3
In spite of LSU's single loss, this is still the most important game of the weekend.
The winner has the inside track on winning the SEC West and heading to the conference title game.
The two defenses have been excellent this season, with the only difference being LSU's inability to field a reasonably effective offense.
However, fans that howled at Les Miles for not being able to make adjustments should be pleased with the way his team adjusted against Texas A&M to win the game, and with the fact that this game is in "Death Valley," at night.
Alabama's powerful rushing attack will have to square off against a Tiger defense that is allowing fewer than 95 yards per game on the ground.
A game anywhere between these two would be classic, but at night in Baton Rouge, this could be one of the classic match-ups of all time.
On top of all that, LSU has made this awesome hype video.
6. Michigan at Ohio State: November 24
Ohio State has rolled through the schedule with some dominant performances and ridiculous plays by quarterback Braxton Miller.
Barring an injury to Miller, Michigan is going to face a major challenge in this meeting of two fierce rivals.
The Buckeyes will be looking for revenge after losing last season, and this game will also be the culmination of their entire season, as they are banned from post-season play.
The Buckeyes have gone through a maturation process throughout the season, the defense has improved and Miller's heroics and play-making ability are superior even to those of his counterpart wearing the Maize and Blue.
It's very difficult to see the Wolverines leaving the 'Shoe with a win.
5. The Iron Bowl: November 24
Alabama and Auburn have played some very competitive games over the past half decade in this contest.
This season, it's going to get out of hand extremely early.
The Tigers have failed to win an SEC game yet this season, and there is a very realistic chance that Gene Chizik's struggling Tigers will not have one going into this contest.
Auburn can't find any consistency on offense and cannot get off the field on defense.
Other than that, they are excellent.
Not exactly a recipe for success against an Alabama squad that is playing as well as any team in the nation through the first three quarters of the season.
By halftime, Auburn fans will be more than happy to get some leftover turkey and start pining for Cam Newton.
4. Texas at Kansas State: December 1
If Kansas State and Collin Klein continue to roll, this will be their last roadblock en route to an undefeated season.
Texas has had some issues moving the ball at times, such as the Red River Rivalry, and last week's close victory over Kansas.
Those issues will just be exacerbated in Bill Snyder Family Stadium against a defense that has been consistent all season and has already shut down the likes of Geno Smith and Seth Doege.
David Ash is no Geno Smith, and Case McCoy is no Doege, so it's difficult to see the Longhorns finding any sort of success, barring some major injuries to K-State's defense.
3. Maryland at Clemson: November 10
Randy Edsall has quarterback issues like none you have ever seen.
Starting quarterback C.J. Brown suffered an ACL tear in August, Perry Hills followed him, suffered an ACL tear of his own and had to sit for the season.
Devin Burns broke his foot, and his replacement, Caleb Rowe, the last scholarship quarterback on the roster, tore his ACL in Maryland's game over the weekend.
That leaves true freshman linebacker Shawn Petty to take over, with a trip to Clemson looming on November 10.
Clemson is clearly the best team in the ACC, and any decent team would have a field day against an offense that will clearly be one-dimensional.
2. Pitt at Notre Dame: November 3
Pitt averages 29 points per game.
Not bad, right?
But their prospects against the Irish seem to dim when one considers they have only scored more than 17 points one time this season.
Meanwhile, Manti Te'o and the Irish are stifling opponents, and have only allowed 9.9 points per contest.
Pitt's offense has some playmakers, such as running back Ray Graham, but the Panthers are going to find some very tough sledding against Brian Kelly's stout defense.
1. Oregon at Oregon State: November 24
Yes, Oregon State lost to Washington, knocking them from the ranks of the unbeaten.
Even so, this team has a stout defense that may be the only unit that has a shot at slowing Oregon's explosive offense.
The Beavers have allowed only 20 points at home in three games against BCS conference foes.
Oregon is a whole different ball game, and has been absolutely crushing opponents.
The "Civil War" will have BCS implications, as well as providing bragging rights for one of the two teams.
While Oregon will win the contest, it won't be easy—at least not as easy as playing Colorado or Arizona State.