Unlike the NFL with its balanced schedule of eight home and away contests, college football has always been a hodgepodge where some squads play only five home games while others play seven or eight. Big-time programs always seem to have bye weeks at just the right time either before or after a massive showdown. And then there's a dozen teams in 2018 that have the difficult challenge of playing three straight road games — sometimes without so much as a bye to give the players a break.
While three-game road stretches aren't unheard of in the FBS, it's typically teams from the Group of 5 that play them due to body bag, money-grabbing games at Power 5 schools. That's what makes this year's list so interesting: There's a pair of SEC squads, including one with a new coach that has a national title under his belt, that will hit the road three straight times.
[credit]AP Photo/Dan Anderson[/credit]
The Mountaineers will experience the best and worst of college football scheduling when it enjoys three straight home games at Kidd Brewer Stadium in September before hitting the road for a trio of Sun Belt Conference away games later in the season.
|October 25||at Georgia Southern|
|November 3||at Coastal Carolina|
|November 10||at Texas State|
[credit]AP Photo/Matt Rourke[/credit]
Not only do the Black Knights have to face an Oklahoma squad in Norman that was an overtime away from playing for the title last year, but it concludes its rough three-game road stretch by traveling approximately 3,000 miles to face San Jose State. Army does get some much needed relief on the backend of its schedule when it plays three straight home games at Michie Stadium before its annual showdown against Navy in early December.
|September 22||at Oklahoma|
|September 29||at Buffalo|
|October 13||at San Jose State|
[credit]AP Photo/David Stephenson[/credit]
Talk about a brutal road stretch in 2018. The Eagles play not only three straight road games in September, but also must travel all the way to Southern California to take on San Diego State to end a month in which they will play only one home game (September 29 vs. Northern Illinois).
|September 8||at Purdue|
|September 15||at Buffalo|
|September 22||at San Diego State|
[credit]AP Photo/Richard Shiro[/credit]
Welcome to life as an FBS head coach, Sean Lewis. The youngest coach in all of major college football (31) begins his stint with the Golden Flashes by hitting the road four of out the first five weeks, including three road contests against Power 5 squads before the calendar even hits October.
|September 15||at Penn State|
|September 22||at Ole Miss|
|September 29||at Ball State|
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The latest member of college football to make the jump from the FCS to the FBS gets not only back-to-back road games against New Mexico and New Mexico State, but also this trio of road matchups later in the year, including two against Power 5 programs.
|November 3||at Massachusets|
|November 10||at Virginia|
|November 17||at Auburn|
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[credit]AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser[/credit]
At first blush the Warhawks' three consecutive road games looks daunting, but they should have a legit shot at going 2-1 during this stretch. Most importantly, ULM could pick up a pair of early season conference wins against a Georgia State team looking to fill a major void at QB and a Coastal Carolina squad that won just three games in 2017.
|September 29||at Georgia State|
|October 6||at Ole Miss|
|October 13||at Coastal Carolina|
[credit]AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis[/credit]
Scheduling isn't easy nor pretty when you're an FBS Independent not called Notre Dame, but UMass is still hopeful that this is the year they get over the hump and make their first bowl game. Victories over a Georgia Southern team that won just two games a year ago and a rebuilding FIU squad during this road trip would go a long way to accomplishing that goal.
|September 1||at Boston College|
|September 8||at Georgia Southern|
|September 15||at Florida International|
[credit]AP Photo/Gregory Bull[/credit]
The September road trip to Tallahassee is a doozy, but the next two games against MAC foes are more than winnable as Eastern Michigan is trying to replace record-setting QB Brogan Roback and Ball State looks to revamp an offense that was just 121 in the country in scoring at 17.9-points per game.
|September 22||at Florida State|
|September 29||at Eastern Michigan|
|October 6||at Ball State|
[credit]AP Photo/Rick Rycroft[/credit]
The good news for the Owls is they don't have to travel all the way to Sydney to face a top 25 Stanford team as it did last season. The bad news for Rice after winning just a single game a season ago is this brutal three-game stretch that begins with one heck of a long flight to Hawaii.
|September 8||at Hawaii|
|September 22||at Southern Miss|
|September 29||at Wake Forest|
RELATED: Rice No. 95 in Top 100 FBS Teams
[credit]AP Photo/Andres Leighton[/credit]
It's Steve Campbell's first year with the Jags who stumbled to a four-win season just one year after playing in the Arizona Bowl. He and his crew will face one heck of a test against a Memphis offense that always seems to be potent and an Appalachian State team that very well could win the conference again.
|September 22||at Memphis|
|September 29||at Appalachian State|
|October 6||at Georgia Southern|
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[credit]AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis[/credit]
Bet you didn't expect to see a squad like Texas A&M on this list, did you? First-year head coach Jimbo Fisher comes over after rolling up an 83-23 record at Florida State. His team will face arguably one of the most difficult stretches for any team this season when it must hit the road for three straight conference games against teams that all won nine or more contests a year ago.
|October 13||at South Carolina|
|October 27||at Mississippi State|
|November 3||at Auburn|
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[credit]AP Photo/Wade Payne[/credit]
As if it's not challenging enough for Vandy to compete in the SEC against the nation's top programs, it faces this brutal stretch from late October to early November. It's as if the schedule makers have it out for the Commodores on all fronts as they must also travel to last year's national title runner-ups in Georgia on October 6 and then return home to face Florida on October 13 before packing their bags for the next month.
|October 20||at Kentucky|
|October 27||at Arkansas|
|November 10||at Missouri|
RELATED: Vandy No. 83 in Top 100 FBS Teams