The ultimate road trip is a fairly common article or discussion topic during the offseason for college football. What fan doesn’t read the preseason magazines and dream about going to the great football stadiums that we see on television every weekend? I’m no different.
I do differ in one way: why does anyone try to be “realistic” in any way with a dream road trip? The entire concept is fantasy to begin with – most people can’t just drop their lives & careers for three whole months and just go to football games, even if it is just weekends. Most people can’t afford it either, between the cost of tickets, travel, and lodging. Why be reserved at all? Is there any real point in trying to be realistic about a completely unrealistic concept?
As Adam Savage from Mythbusters once said, “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.”
Fantasy assumptions & rules:
I’m going all out. 69 games in one season, and since I got Bezos money, I’m bringing all of you with me! Just in case any of you say, “Why would we want to go there?”, I’ve planned out breweries we can hit along the way. I asked the Sidelines crew from the Kollege Sports Network for some recommendations. LET’S GO!!!!!
Saturday, August 28 – Hawai’i at UCLA – The Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA: Can you ask for a better start than going to The Rose Bowl stadium in LA? Not only is it perhaps the most famous college football stadium, but Southern California has the best weather in the nation. I would expect this game in late August to be around 77 at kickoff, with a breeze. Brewery: Cerveceria Del Pueblo I’m having the: Juicy IPA
Wednesday, September 1 – UAB vs Jacksonville State – Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, AL: Fun fact: The Cramton Bowl hosted the first night football game “under the lights” in 1927. Otherwise, it’s old, it’s small, it won’t be 77 degrees at kickoff, but it’s the only game of the day. Former Clemson signal caller Zerrick Cooper is back for one more year at Jacksonville State, and they are expected to be a Top 25 FCS team. UAB is a favorite in C-USA West Division. This should be a good game. Brewery: Common Bond Brewery I’m having the: Orbital Cloud
Thursday, September 2 – Boise State at UCF – Bounce House, Orlando, FL: We are going to the House of Bounce in Orlando to see two of the most well-regarded Group of Five programs. Both programs have new head coaches. Gus Malzahn gets a fresh start in Orlando, and Andy Avalos gets his first shot as an FBS head coach at Boise State. This could influence the G5’s automatic bid to the New Year’s Six. Brewery: Rockpit Brewing I’m having the: Geschmack Yourself
Friday, September 3 – North Carolina at Virginia Tech – Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, VA: I hate when my team plays in Blacksburg because it is one of the toughest places to play in college football. Unfortunately for Sam Howell & the Tar Heels, the Hokie fans haven’t been able to fill Lane Stadium in a long, long time. They will be fired up. That honestly puts pressure on Justin Fuente too. The enthusiasm of the crown will turn to ire if Virginia Tech doesn’t start well against a very good, very disliked division rival. Don’t forget to pack your Metallica t-shirts. Brewery: Moon Hollow Brewing Company I’m having the: Far Side Dark Saison
Saturday, September 4 – Clemson vs Georgia: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC: No explanation needed. This is going to be epic. Not only is it an old-school rivalry that isn’t played nearly often enough, but both teams also have aspirations for a national championship. Don’t forget that a lot of the rising sophomores have yet to see a full-packed stadium. Tickets for this game are $300+ for nosebleed seats, and seats closer to the action are over a grand. Both fan bases will have the stadium packed out. Brewery: Slow Play Brewery – This is my backyard, I could tell you about dozens of breweries around here, but I must throw my friends Ben & Ron at Slow Play some love. I’m having the: Ace of Spades
Sunday, September 5 – Notre Dame at Florida State – Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL: The Doak will be rocking for the visiting Irish. Seminole fans are hungry for a big win. They will have an uphill battle against Notre Dame, who will be handing the ball off to Kyren Williams for a heavy dose of the running game. Florida State hopes that transfer quarterback McKenzie Milton is the secret to reviving an offense that hasn’t had steady leadership in recent years. Brewery: DEEP Brewing Company I’m having the: Sublime Keylime
Monday, September 6 – Howard at Richmond – Robins Stadium, Richmond, VA: There is a game in Atlanta, Ole Miss vs Louisville, which should be good, but I am saving my visit to Mercedes Benz Stadium for later, so we are going to the only other option this night. It has been a full week, so you can skip this one if you want, but I’m going. Brewery: Ardent Craft Ales I’m having the: Defenestrator
Friday, September 10 – UTEP at Boise State – Albertsons Stadium. Boise, ID: Here we come Blue Turf. I hear Boise is beautiful. I originally thought we would try to go to Boise for a bowl game, but this will probably be a nicer time of year to visit. It will be the second time in two weeks that we see the Broncos, but that is the quirk of the schedule. Our weekday games are most likely to be G5 teams or programs willing to play on non-traditional days to get exposure nationwide. Brewery: Barbarian Brewing Downtown Taproom I’m having the: I Told You I Was Krieky
Saturday, September 11 – Oregon at Ohio State – Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH: Things got real for me last season when the conferences announced they were cancelling all out-of-conference games, which meant we wouldn’t get to see Ohio State visit Eugene, so I’m looking forward to seeing this game. The Buckeyes have NFL quality wide receivers Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson returning, but an inexperienced quarterback in CJ Stroud. The Oregon defense will try to pressure him into mistakes. The question mark for the Ducks is their offense. After years of a high-flying attack, Oregon may be more grounded in 2021. Brewery: North High Brewing Co. @Sidelines_Buckeyes was very helpful and sent me a handful of ideas. North High has multiple locations around Columbus. I’m having the: Filthy McNasty
Thursday, September 16 – Ohio at Louisiana – Cajun Field, Lafayette, LA: There is only one game this night, so we are heading to Lafayette, home of the Ragin’ Cajuns. Billy Napier is back for another year with UL, and they are once again a favorite in the Sun Belt, garnering preseason Top 25 rankings. Frank Solich quietly built Ohio into one of the most consistent G5 programs in football. They will certainly miss him, but with all the attention on the Cajuns, the Bobcats might be able to sneak up on Louisiana. Brewery: Parish Brewing Company I’m having the: Maple Shade
Friday, September 17 – UCF at Louisville – Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, KY: This should be a pretty good game. UCF has no fear of P5 teams and loves to have a chance to grab some headlines. For the Cardinals, it’s another chance to show what they are made of against a respected non-ACC opponent. The fans in Louisville should be stoked for this one. Brewery: TEN20 Brewery I’m having the: Flying Pig
Saturday, September 18 – Nebraska at Oklahoma – Memorial Stadium, Norman, OK: I would hardly call myself a traditionalist, but this is a historic college football rivalry, and these teams don’t play that often anymore. Alabama at Florida is tempting, but I’ll have a chance to visit Gainesville later. Spencer Rattler is trying to get the Sooners over the hump in the CFP, but they must get through the regular season first. Nebraska is trying to become a contender in the Big Ten West and would love nothing more that ruining Oklahoma’s national championship aspirations. Brewery: (405) Brewing Co. – kudos to Norman’s brewery scene, lots of options here. @SSN_Oklahoma says 405 is a must stop. I’m having the: Life of Brian
Thursday, September 23 – Marshall at Appalachian State – Kidd Brewer Stadium, Boone, NC: Perhaps the best two examples of programs that elevated themselves to the top of the FCS world by winning multiple championships, and then made the jump to FBS. Marshall made the surprising decision to make a coaching change after 2020. The fans in Huntington are excited for new coach Charles Huff, who comes to the Herd from Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama. App State is coming off another 10-win season and is ready to keep the good times rolling. Late September in Boone will be gorgeous. Brewery: Appalachian Mountain Brewery I’m having the: Space Cloud Pleaser
Friday, September 24 – Wake Forest at Virginia – Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, VA: I considered going to Liberty at Syracuse, but there will be opportunities later in the year to see the Carrier Dome’s new roof and renovations. Virginia’s fanbase is underrated, and their band is outstanding and very petty, and I’m here for all of it. Bronco Mendenhall has a Coastal championship under his belt already and has a returning quarterback in Brennan Armstrong that played well at times in 2020. Wake Forest has been consistent under Dave Clawson and should never be underestimated. Brewery: Devil’s Backbone Basecamp – this is a bit down the road but worth it. I’m having the: O’Fest
Saturday, September 25 – Tennessee at Florida – Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL – There aren’t a lot of appealing games this Saturday. Clemson does visit NC State, but I do have my eye on another game in Raleigh later in the season. Tennessee isn’t expected to be very competitive, but the rivalry aspect is the appeal here. I think the Gator fans will still be fired up for the Volunteers, and the atmosphere should be great. Florida is starting the post-Kyles era (Trask & Pitts), and it will be interesting to see if Dan Mullen can keep the Gator’s playing at a level consistent with last season. Brewery: Swamp Head Brewery – Andy Staples of The Athletic is a master of food and drink, so it only made sense to ask him for a recommendation on Twitter, and there was no hesitation – he responded within five minutes with Swamp Head. I’m having the: Midnight Oil
Thursday, September 30 – Virginia at Miami – Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL: The only game of the night is in South Florida. Hopefully, we will have good weather for this one. Miami aspires to win the Coastal and will be kicking off their ACC schedule against the Wahoos. If the Canes think they can beat out North Carolina, they will have to prove it by first handling Virginia. Armstrong will be a good test for Miami’s defensive backfield. Brewery: Legacy Caribbean Craft Brewery I’m having the: Karl A. Bazza
Friday, October 1 – BYU at Utah State – Maverik Stadium, Logan, UT: I get the impression that the folks in Utah enjoy their football, so I think this should be a fun atmosphere. BYU put a few players in the NFL last season, but they are a program with a strong culture, so I wouldn’t expect them to step back too far. Utah State is one of those sneaky teams that is usually better than anyone gives them credit for. Brewery: Talisman Brewing Company We do have to go a little down the road for this one, but not too far. I’m having the: Berry Salty
Saturday, October 2 – Auburn at LSU – Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA: They haven’t set a time yet for this game, but we can only hope it is at night. LSU is looking to bounce back big after a post-2019 championship swoon. Coach O revamped the staff for 2021, and his singing voice is primed and ready. Will Auburn be up to the challenge? With Auburn moving on from the Malzahn era, this is probably Bo Nix’s last chance to prove he is the man on the Plains. Under the lights (hopefully) would be a great place for Nix to step up. Brewery: Rally Cap Brewing Company I’m having the: Sweet Science
Thursday, October 7 – Houston at Tulane – Yulman Stadium, New Orleans, LA: I’m just going to point out that since Tulane does not play this game in the Superdome, we can visit New Orleans twice this season. Houston is trying to right the ship after two losing seasons. Tulane head coach Willie Fritz is well respected, and Tulane is a team that often gets a lot of preseason love. Brewery: Brieux Carré Brewing Company I’m having the: Weird…it Doesn’t Smell Like Cologne
Friday, October 8 – Stanford at Arizona State – Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ: I have gathered that the Sun Devil fans have a lot of passion for their football. They certainly will want to forget the current controversy surrounding 2020 dead period recruiting violations for a few hours and enjoy this game. Will the players be able to set it aside? Regardless of the roster, the Cardinal is always well coached. The Sun Devils will need to stay focused. Brewery: Fate Brewing Company I’m having the: Hatch Chili Gatos
Saturday, October 9 – Alabama at Texas A&M – Kyle Field, College Station, TX: Man! Same weekend as OU-UT at the Cotton Bowl. I can’t miss this game at Kyle Field in College Station. Probably a Top 10 matchup in one of the best atmospheres in college football. The Aggie fans are ready for Jimbo to get over the Alabama hump and beat Saban before Kirby gets his next chance. Will A&M have the offensive firepower to overcome Bama? They have the defense & the running game; will they be able to move it through the air? Brewery: Blackwater Draw Brewing Company – @Sidelines_TAMU did us a solid and retweeted my request for a brewery recommendation, and his followers were kind enough to assist. I’m having the: Border Town
Tuesday, October 12 – Appalachian State at Louisiana – Cajun Field, Lafayette, LA: The only game this night is again in Lafayette, so this is an allowed repeat, but this should be a good matchup. It will probably impact the Sun Belt championship, and maybe the G5 bid to the NY6. It might be a preview of the Sun Belt championship game. Brewery: Bayou Teche Brewing I’m having the: Ragin Cajuns
Thursday, October 14 – Navy at Memphis – Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, TN: Coach Ken brings his 14th Navy squad to the Liberty Bowl to face Memphis, who will be replacing quite a few departed players. Odds are both teams will be playing young talent. Plenty of time to see Graceland while we’re here. Brewery: Wiseacre Brewing Company – @SSN_Memphis gave us a few options. I’m going with Wiseacre. I’m having the: Gotta Get Up to Get Down
We’re just getting started – to be continued.