How many college football fans have attended 49 games in their lifetime? How many college football fans have attended 49 games in one season? This is the 2019 Ultimate College Football Road Trip.
This year's Ultimate College Football Road Trip (click here for the FCS version) includes 48 regular-season games and one conference championship. It covers 37,201 miles over 115 days, an average of 323 miles per day, or, very roughly, more than five hours of driving time. Per day. Every single day. For 115 consecutive days.
Three rules: You must drive to each game. You must be realistic (1,000 miles in eight hours is not realistic). And you must pick the games before the season starts. No audibles.
Total cities: 44.
Multiple stops in five different cities: Auburn, Atlanta, Athens (Ohio), Houston and Toledo. Yes, more stops in Athens, Ohio, than Athens, Georgia.
Longest drive: 2,319 miles from Orlando to Provo.
Longest one-day drive (i.e. 24 hours: 1,243 miles from Boulder to Ann Arbor.
Shortest drive: 86 miles from Troy to Auburn.
Average drive: 775 miles.
Most games in one week: Five games in three different weeks (1, 11, and 12).
Total teams: 66.
Most appearances: Houston and Auburn (four games apiece). Six teams have three appearances: App State, Florida, Georgia, Notre Dame, Ohio, and Toledo. And 12 teams have two appearances: Alabama, Colorado, LSU, Navy, NC State, Northern Illinois, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Temple, Texas, and UCF.
Sacramento State is the only FCS team on the schedule.
Neutral-site games: Eight, three of which are among the first four games of the road trip.
First, the Ultimate College Football Road Trip episode of the High Motor podcast with Seth Vander Tuig of "Mission: College Football" (click here for Seth's 49-game road trip):
Second, an interactive map of all 49 games in 44 different cities:
And third, the full 17-week itinerary:
The best Week 0 game ever, Miami and Florida's first matchup since 2013 is the only opening-week choice.
|Sat., Aug. 24||Miami (FL) vs. Florida||Orlando||N/A|
The 100th Holy War (and 74th consecutive Holy War) is the first of five games in five days as we crisscross the country for five nonconference games.
I'd rather be in Reno than Denver on Friday for Purdue-Nevada but need to stay within driving distance of Arlington, Texas, for Oregon-Auburn on Saturday.
|Thurs., Aug. 29||Utah at BYU||Provo||2,319|
|Fri., Aug. 30||Colorado State at Colorado||Denver||482|
|Sat., Aug. 31||Oregon vs. Auburn||Arlington||783|
|Sun., Sept. 1||Houston at Oklahoma||Norman||196|
|Mon., Sept. 2||Notre Dame at Louisville||Louisville||777|
I did not circle the Sacramento State-Arizona State game — one of the least appealing games of the entire season — when embarking on my Ultimate College Football Road Trip. Weird things happen.
Marshall-Boise State is the better play for Friday night, but it's not within driving distance of Austin, Texas, where Texas hosts LSU in one of the premier games of the season.
|Fri., Sept. 6||Sacramento State at Arizona State||Tempe||1,709|
|Sat., Sept. 7||LSU at Texas||Austin||1,001|
I'm passing on the most intriguing game of Week 3 — Clemson at Syracuse — because college football shouldn't be played in domed landfills. Instead, it's a short drive to Houston for Mike Leach vs. Dana Holgorsen, followed by a trip to Ames for the 67th meeting between Iowa and Iowa State.
|Fri., Sept. 13||Washington State at Houston||Houston||165|
|Sat., Sept. 14||Iowa at Iowa State||Ames||972|
I'm skipping Utah-USC on Friday night and adding a Thursday stop in New Orleans because Athens is the can't-miss destination on Saturday, Sept. 21.
|Thurs., Sept. 19||Houston at Tulane||New Orleans||1,042|
|Sat., Sept. 21||Notre Dame at Georgia||Athens||541|
Blacksburg is a great college town, but after Navy-Memphis on Thursday night, you may consider skipping Duke-Virginia Tech to reach Lincoln late on Friday night.
|Thurs., Sept. 26||Navy at Memphis||Memphis||463|
|Fri., Sept. 27||Duke at Virginia Tech||Blacksburg||625|
|Sat., Sept. 28||Ohio State at Nebraska||Lincoln||1,114|
Easy choices in Week 6: East Carolina has struggled lately, but Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium is still a spectacular college football destination, as is Nippert Stadium when the Bearcats are rolling, which should be the case when UCF visits on Friday night.
|Thurs., Oct. 3||Temple at East Carolina||Greenville||1,377|
|Fri., Oct. 4||UCF at Cincinnati||Cincinnati||598|
|Sat., Oct. 5||Auburn at Florida||Gainesville||792|
The Week 7 decision: Oklahoma vs. Texas or Alabama at Texas A&M?
I picked the Cotton Bowl.
|Wed., Oct. 9||App State at Louisiana||Lafayette||647|
|Thurs., Oct. 10||Syracuse at NC State||Raleigh||984|
|Sat., Oct. 12||Oklahoma vs. Texas||Dallas||1,201|
It's not easy to reach the west coast for college football road trips. Long drives and, oftentimes, volume sacrifices.
I'm passing on two notable Big Ten games — Ohio State at Northwestern on Friday and Michigan at Penn State on Saturday — to catch two Pac-12 games and one Mountain West game.
|Thurs., Oct. 17||UCLA at Stanford||Stanford||1,708|
|Fri., Oct 18||UNLV at Fresno State||Fresno||168|
|Sat., Oct. 19||Oregon at Washington||Seattle||922|
After SMU-Houston on Thursday, should I skip a 1,000-mile drive to Boulder and head straight for Ann Arbor? Get into town late on Friday, up early for Big House tailgating ahead of Notre Dame-Michigan.
That's the Week 9 dilemma.
|Thurs., Oct. 24||SMU at Houston||Houston||2,279|
|Fri., Oct. 25||USC at Colorado||Boulder||1,056|
|Sat., Oct. 26||Notre Dame at Michigan||Ann Arbor||1,243|
Primetime Sun Belt game in Boone in late October followed by the World's Largest Cocktail Party on Saturday? Sign me up.
|Thurs., Oct. 31||Georgia Southern at App State||Boone||571|
|Sat., Nov. 2||Florida vs. Georgia||Jacksonville||475|
Week 11: quantity > quality.
The first five-game week since Week 1 — and first of two straight five-game weeks — two MACtion games are followed by the last 1,000-mile drive of the trip, Tampa to Tulsa.
|Tues., Nov. 5||Kent State at Toledo||Toledo||997|
|Wed., Nov. 6||Miami (OH) at Ohio||Athens||215|
|Thurs., Nov. 7||Temple at USF||Tampa||930|
|Fri., Nov. 8||UCF at Tulsa||Tulsa||1,208|
|Sat., Nov. 9||LSU at Alabama||Tuscaloosa||631|
Five games in under 2,000 miles. Week 12 is Value Week.
I'm passing on new MACtion sites (Akron and Bowling Green) for better MACtion games in better MACtion environments.
I flipped a coin between Georgia-Auburn and Alabama-Mississippi State, which worked out fine because I'll be in Starkville for the Egg Bowl.
|Tues., Nov. 12||Western Michigan at Ohio||Athens||669|
|Wed., Nov. 13||Northern Illinois at Toledo||Toledo||217|
|Thurs., Nov. 14||North Carolina at Pittsburgh||Pittsburgh||232|
|Fri., Nov. 15||Louisiana Tech at Marshall||Huntington||279|
|Sat., Nov. 16||Georgia at Auburn||Auburn||586|
I was in tears planning Week 13: Penn State-Ohio State or Texas A&M-Georgia?
I opted for Columbus because I was already in Athens for the Notre Dame in Week 4.
|Tues., Nov. 19||Eastern Michigan at Northern Illinois||DeKalb||847|
|Wed., Nov. 20||Toledo at Buffalo||Buffalo||598|
|Thurs., Nov. 21||NC State at Georgia Tech||Atlanta||897|
|Sat., Nov. 23||Penn State at Ohio State||Columbus||567|
The Thanksgiving Egg Bowl is followed by a short drive to Troy and an even shorter drive to Auburn.
If you're not digging southeastern Alabama in late November, you have three other good Friday-night options: Washington State-Washington, Iowa-Nebraska or Virginia Tech-Virginia. Some of those, however, limit your Saturday options.
|Tues., Nov. 26||Ohio at Akron||Akron||126|
|Thurs., Nov. 28||Ole Miss at Mississippi State||Starkville||784|
|Fri., Nov. 29||App State at Troy||Troy||236|
|Sat., Nov. 30||Alabama at Auburn||Auburn||86|
This was simple: The most likely playoff-impacting conference championship.
|Sat., Dec. 7||SEC Championship||Atlanta||108|
The Ultimate College Football Road Trip ends in Philly on Dec. 14 with the most unique college football game of each season.
|Sat., Dec. 14||Army vs. Navy||Philadelphia||778|