Hitting The Road for the Perfect College Football Road Trip in 2017


College football will be here sooner than you think. We’re literally two months away from its return. Is it possible to make a road trip out of its season? Absolutely! Here’s how you can do it.

Allow us to fill your itinerary! All you’ll need to worry about is packing your toothbrush and some extra underwear*, and keep your Rand McNally** maps on hand.

Sunday, Aug. 27: Richmond at Sam Houston State in Huntsville, Texas

Truth be told, the first official day of games for college football is the day before. It isn’t really a big slate of games, however. If you want to see Oregon State at Colorado State or Portland State at BYU, knock yourself out.

You can also rule out a road trip for Stanford/Rice because that game isn’t even being played in the United States, but across the Pacific in Australia. If you can find a boat that can take you all the way to Sydney, have at it.

For this instance, however, the best bet is to catch the game which takes place the very next day. Sure it’s FCS, but it features two Top 10 teams and national championship contenders of the subdivision.

Thursday, Aug. 31: Tulsa at Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Oklahoma

It’s not a difficult drive for you to get from Huntsville, Texas to Stillwater, Oklahoma. The drive is about six hours and 17 minutes and 440 miles.

Oklahoma State and Tulsa are separated by 70 miles, yet they haven’t played each other since 2011. The Cowboys have won the last five games against the Golden Hurricane, and Tulsa has won since 1998. It has been even longer (perhaps too long) since they did it in Stillwater.

Oklahoma State brings a lot back, including starting quarterback, Heisman hopeful and jet ski enthusiast Mason Rudolph, who threw for  4,091 yards last season.

Don’t sleep on Tulsa just yet though. The Golden Hurricane won 10 games last season and they bring back running back D’Angelo Brewer for his senior season.

Saturday, Sept. 2 & Monday, Sept. 4: Alabama vs. Florida State, Tennessee vs. Georgia Tech in Atlanta

To get to Atlanta from Stillwater, you have a 12-hour, 15-minute drive with 853 miles to travel. Luckily, the first game is Saturday and you can sleep all day Sunday before you go to Monday’s contest.

Alabama and Florida State is a potential College Football Playoff preview. Both teams have been in contention the last few years and have appeared in the Playoff at least once (Alabama’s been to all three thus far).

This game should feature two exciting and talented dual-threat quarterbacks: Jalen Hurts of Alabama and Deondre Francois of Florida State.

The other match-up isn’t quite as interesting as the first. However, Paul Johnson and Georgia Tech defeated THREE SEC East teams last season (Vanderbilt, Georgia and Kentucky).

The seat might be hot for the Champions of Life head coach, but an opening week loss to the Yellow Jackets might make it hotter.

Saturday, Sept. 9: Oklahoma at Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio

It’s an eight-hour drive to Columbus from Atlanta, spanning 567 miles.

Last year’s Ohio State win in Norman was a 21-point margin. However, it really didn’t feel even that close. And it became apparent that it was the difference in helping Ohio State make the playoff last season.

This season’s game could have a big impact on who gets into the playoff. If the Sooners want back in, they’ll need to beat Ohio State in Columbus.

Thursday, Sept. 14: New Mexico at Boise State in Boise, Idaho

You better make sure you get an oil change because you have about a 30-hour drive ahead of you, with 2,018 miles to go.

It’s a pretty big Mountain West divisional match-up that you’re going to see in this Thursday night affair. It could make a difference in who plays in the Mountain West title game later in the season. The Lobos stunned the Broncos on the Smurf Turf in their last visit there.

Saturday, Sept. 16: Stanford at San Diego State in San Diego, California

It’s 14 1/2 hours to San Diego from Boise, with 953 miles to drive.

This is a big game for San Diego State. This is the kind of game for the Aztecs that can help get them some consideration for a Group of Five berth in a New Year’s Six bowl game.

It won’t be easy. Stanford has aspirations of climbing back to the top of the Pac-12 again. They might not have Christian McCaffrey, but they do have Bryce Love to hand the ball off to this season.

Saturday, Sept. 23: Washington at Colorado in Boulder, Colorado

This is a long drive to Boulder from San Diego, nearly 16 hours and 1,089 miles. The good news is, you can spread out your drive, maybe catch up on some sleep.

It’s the Pac-12 Championship rematch. It might look a little different for Colorado without Sefo Liufao, though. He appeared off-and-on in last season’s matchup, hindered by an injury that nagged him much of the season. But hey, on the plus side you’ll get to see Ralphie. And that’s what it is all about, right?

Friday, Sept. 29: Miami at Duke in Durham, North Carolina

This is about a 24-hour drive with 1,667 miles that you need to travel.

I think we all remember what happened the last time these two teams faced off. Most Friday night ACC games aren’t very interesting. However, these two have had some close ones in recent years.

Saturday, Sept. 30: Clemson at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia

This is one of the shorter drives you’ll have on this trip at 166 miles from Durham to Blacksburg,  a little over three hours.

This is indeed a rematch of last year’s ACC Title Game and the fact is, it could be a preview of the next one.

Justin Fuente had the Hokies up and running a year ahead of schedule. And obviously on the other side are the defending national champions. Looking at schedules, both teams could be undefeated heading into this match-up.

Saturday, Oct. 7- Alabama at Texas A&M in College Station, Texas

For this drive to College Station, you’ll be traveling 17 1/2 hours and 1,171 miles.

This has always been one of the more interesting SEC games since Texas A&M joined the conference.

The Aggies have defeated Alabama just once since joining the SEC family. They could very well be undefeated heading into this match-up once again versus Alabama.

Friday, Oct. 13- Washington State at California in Berkeley, California

You have a 27-hour drive to Berkeley from College Station and you’ll be going 1,856 miles.

It’s a Friday night Pac-12 game, which means things could get weird; passing yards should get accumulated between two air-raid offense; refs might blow some calls; we might even see Washington State head coach Mike Leach do something weird.

Saturday, Oct. 14: Utah at USC in Los Angeles/Boise State at San Diego State in San Diego

It’s worth pointing out that the kickoff times haven’t been announced for the USC/Utah game. Meanwhile, the San Diego State/Boise State game is set for 7:30 p.m. local time.

We’re operating under the premise that the USC/Utah game will be early. It’s a bit of a drive to get from Berkeley to Los Angeles. You have to drive nearly six hours, 376 miles. So if it is early, like say 1 or 1:30 p.m. local start, you’ll need to move quickly.

From there, it’s a two hour drive to San Diego from Los Angeles, you’re going 120 miles. Even with the afternoon game, you’re talking about a short window to getting there to see the beginning of San Diego State/Boise State. Traffic obviously makes all of this tougher. You might be getting there with the game in progress.

If it’s a night game, the obvious choice would be USC/Utah. How often do you get a chance to see a game in the Coliseum? Plus, the Trojans and Utes are two of the likely contenders for the Pac-12 South championship.

Saturday, Oct. 21: Louisville at Florida State in Tallahassee, Florida

We’re going to assume you’re traveling from San Diego. It’s still going to be a 31-32 hour drive, either way. Maybe you wanted to stop in San Diego for…some reason. It’s 2,177 miles to Tallahassee from San Diego.

Last season, Louisville dropped 63 on Florida State, yet it felt like so much more.

The Cardinals obviously have quarterback Lamar Jackson back in hopes of winning another Heisman.

It’s possible Louisville scores 63 again. However, it’s probably going to be a lot closer than the previous year, especially with the game in Tallahassee.

Saturday, Oct. 28: Oklahoma State at West Virginia in Morgantown, West Virginia

It’s an 844-mile drive to Morgantown from Tallahassee, lasting 13 1/2 hours.

This could be one of the more interesting Big 12 games on the schedule this season. With the conference championship game back, both of these teams will likely be lobbying for a spot. It could even be the preview for the Big 12 championship game.

Saturday Nov. 4- Ohio State at Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa

How long is the drive? You have 11 hours ahead of you and 735 miles to drive to get to Iowa City? That’s a lot of road time on Interstate 80.

It was tough trying to pick a game for this week. You have Alabama/LSU and Bedlam on the same day. However, Ohio State doesn’t play Iowa very often, last facing off in 2013. The Buckeyes haven’t even played in Iowa City since 2010.

Last season, Iowa assisted in torpedoing Michigan’s chances at making the College Football Playoff by defeating them in Kinnick Stadium. Could history repeat itself with Iowa costing Ohio State a chance at a playoff berth?

Saturday, Nov. 11: Florida State at Clemson in Clemson, South Carolina

This will be a 13-plus hour drive for 910 miles. You’ll have a little bit of time to get there.

This game has ACC implications, perhaps even CFP implications. The Tigers have won the last two meetings. Depending on Louisville, the winner of this game could be the Atlantic representative in the ACC title game.

Tuesday, Nov. 14: Ohio at Akron in Akron, Ohio

It’s not a super long trip to Akron from Clemson. It’s 605 miles and over 9 hours to get there.

This is the battle of the part of Ohio that isn’t owned by Ohio State, or something. I don’t even know if that’s an actual rivalry name. It should be! If you’re just tuning in, Terry Bowden is still the head coach of Akron. I don’t have anything to add to that, just wanted to point it out.

This game is being selected because it’s a Tuesday night MAC game and I thought we’d mix it up here. What’s an ultimate college football road trip without some MACtion?

Wednesday, Nov. 15: Eastern Michigan at Miami (OH) in Oxford, Ohio

Yes, you have another game the next day. Stop complaining, it’s a three-hour drive (243 miles).

Yes, we have a Wednesday night MAC game. We’re all in on MACtion in November. Eastern Michigan and Miami were two of the biggest surprises in college football last season, coming from the bottom of their respective divisions in the MAC to reach bowl games.

Friday, Nov. 17: Middle Tennessee State at Western Kentucky in Bowling Green, Kentucky

This will be another short drive, four hours and 260 miles.

Honestly, I think this could be one of the more interesting Conference USA games during the season. If Western Kentucky is playing very well at that point, they could be in consideration for a Group of Five berth in a NY6 bowl game. This should be high-scoring, with MTSU bringing in a potent passing attack to match WKU’s.

Saturday, Nov. 18: LSU at Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee

You’ll wrap up the week in Knoxville, which is a 3 1/2 hour drive from Bowling Green, 215 miles.

There aren’t a lot of good games for this week. This will probably be the big SEC game of the week. It’s a weak schedule everywhere else, with the majority of the conference playing exhibitions against FCS and Sun Belt opponents. Plus, I’m not cruel enough to send you to Madison, Wisconsin from Bowling Green on a short turnaround.

It’s hard to say where these two teams will be at this point in the season. Both of these teams will likely have losses on their schedule. LSU will likely be bowl eligible, but what about Tennessee? Time will tell!

Tuesday, Nov. 21: Bowling Green at Eastern Michigan in Ypsilanti, Michigan

To get to Ypsilanti, it’s a 7 hour, 20 minute drive from Knoxville, and you’re going almost 500 miles.

You never know, this could be a game a preview of the MAC Championship Game. Even if not, I just want you to go to another Tuesday night MAC game.

Friday, Nov. 24: Western Michigan at Toledo in Toledo, OH

It’s less than an hour to get to Toledo. You’re going just 50 miles to get there, which means plenty of time to let your Thanksgiving meal digest. It’s the shortest stop on your trip, but there is one more trip that will be just as short.

Toledo and Western Michigan battled it out for the MAC West title a season ago. The Broncos romped, 55-35.

Saturday, Nov. 25: Ohio State at Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Ahh yes, this trip is also just under an hour. You’ll be going 53 miles to get there.

Last year’s game had a lot at stake. It’s very possible these two teams face that scenario again this season, with the winner booking a trip to either Indianapolis and the Big Ten Championship Game; or the College Football Playoff — perhaps both.

Saturday, Dec. 9 Army vs. Navy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

You have a couple of weeks to get to Philly. We don’t know how the conference championships will look, so we’ll consider this an off-week for you. This will be a 9-hour drive from Ann Arbor. It’s 584 miles to be exact.

Last year’s game was great for Army, which won over Navy for the first time since 2002. Hopefully this revitalizes the rivalry.

This is a nice endpoint for the road trip, though. This is one of the most historic rivalries in the sport, but about more than the final outcome itself, making it the perfect date on which to end your college football road trip.

You’ve got a lot of games to go see this season. Hopefully you have enough money to make it all work. You have more than 18,000 miles ahead of you. Are you up for it?

(Note: The mileage and times were all compiled using Google Maps. Please make sure to check for traffic and stuff and always consult your Rand McNally** maps if needed)

*We here at the Open Man are not allowed to tell you how you should pack your bags. Please make sure you pack regularly like you always would. However, it never hurts to pack extra underwear

**Do people even use Rand McNally anymore?