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Filed under: Group Tailgating for 2016 Orange Road Football Games

If you're traveling for a Syracuse football game this season, Mark has you covered.

Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

So what makes a great road trip for a Syracuse Orange football fan? Syracuse tailgating expert TexanMark gives us his rankings of the six road trips this year.

Factors Considered:

Non-Football Related Activities (touristy stuff in the local area)

  • Weather (will I freeze my butt off for the date scheduled?)
  • Ease and Cost of Travel and Lodging (Varied Choices and Reasonable Costs)
  • Parking Ease + Tailgate Atmosphere (Game Day Cash Lots which have Tailgating)
  • Desirability of Rival (Excitement of a win over them)
  • "Winnability"of Game (Chance of a win this season)
  • Stadium Amenities and Atmosphere (On campus is a huge plus)

If you can only go to one away game this year, what’s your top road trip pick?

Having a great chance to win is a huge factor for me. These trips can be expensive and time consuming. So I want a memorable trip and hate flying/driving home after a loss. Additionally, I don't want to spend $200 a night for a $60 basic motel room, and I want numerous and reasonable flights. I don't want to freeze my butt off (Sorry Pitt at Thanksgiving). Finally, are there other things to do there besides watching football?

I rated items that I think are important to most ‘Cuse fans. Travel ease and cost is the big "X Factor" here as everyone has a different origination and price-point. BC did poorly here but if you live in Worcester or Providence it might be the no. 1 trip for you. I looked at it primarily from an air travel perspective. Finally, I didn't rate cost of tickets. For me, the Wake Forest trip is my top trip this fall.

Putting seven items into my top secret Gonculator and gonculated the scores:

UConn ND Wake BC Clemson Pitt
Fun Stuff/Food non-Game day 4 1 4 1 4 3
Weather (60-70s) 1 1 1 5 1 6
Travel Ease/Costs (air,motel) 1 3* 3 6 5 3
Tailgate/Parking Ease/Cost 2 3 1 6 3 3
Desirability of Rival (SU big win factor) 3 1 3 3 1 3
"Winnibility" of Game 1 5 1 1 6 4
Stadium/Campus Amenities 6 3 3 2 1 3
GRAND TOTAL (Lower is Better) 18 (3rd) 17 (2nd) 16  (1st) 24  (5th) 21 (4th) 25  (6th)

* Staying nearby at motels in NJ

According to the numbers, Wake Forest edged out Notre Dame and UConn as the Top Road Trip this Fall.

Quick aside from John:

From my perspective, Wake’s the safest best, even if not the sexiest. It’s easy enough for most folks to get to RDU or Charlotte, tickets are affordable and Syracuse stands a pretty good chance to win. If you’ve been to Winston-Salem before, perhaps you go another route, but if not, this could be the trip for you.

My own selection is probably between Boston College and Clemson. BC’s easy to get to, a likelier Orange win and a rivalry game to boot. Clemson, while very likely an SU loss, is supposed to be the conference’s most amazing gameday atmosphere. Cost of travel and attendance probably prohibits a Tigers game all that often, so choose wisely on the year you decide to do that trip. This may not be the one.

But onto Mark’s pick explanations:

1. Wake Forest Saturday, October 8

Like USF last year, the Wake Forest game is over the Columbus Day holiday weekend. So why Wake? It boils down to a real easy place to tailgate and watch the game. There are lots of non-stop flights into the Charlotte (CLT) and Raleigh-Durham (RDU) airports. If you are going to rent a car it often times makes sense to fly nonstop into the bigger airports (both about 90 mins from the stadium). The local option is Piedmont Triad (GSO) and it should also be checked. Crowds are down at Wake games (20-25K) which hurts the atmosphere, but parking is a breeze at the stadium. Finally it’s a game I expect we'll win. A few tips: Get there early as the co-located Dixie Classic Fair will be ongoing. ‘Cuse fans should congregate across the stadium in the cash lot near the Basketball arena. Expect several Orange tailgates there.

2. Notre Dame Saturday, October 1

I can’t remember if this is actually our home game or not… it really doesn’t matter as we’ll be outnumbered by two to one. ND came in a close second. Expect awesome weather, easy (but pricey) parking and stadium amenities. Travel’s a wildcard, as you can use any one of three different airports – Newark (EWR), JFK and LaGuardia (LGA), and stay anywhere in the Tri-State area. Motels near MetLife Stadium are pricier ($140-plus) for what you’re getting, but still cheaper than anything in Manhattan. There’s a lot to do in the NYC area, as you figured. Not much of it is cheap, however.

3. UConn, Saturday, September 24

UConn should be an easy trip. Hartford is kinda blah… but if you are coming in for a three-day weekend, you have enough things to keep you entertained with Foxwoods Casino and towns like Mystic (and the Aquarium) not too far away. Hartford has a rather large airport (BDL) north of town and also has a large amount of motel rooms. This keeps pricing reasonable (for the Northeast) especially if you look in the suburbs. The stadium will be full, loud and nasty for Cuse (Fun fact: They are envious and HATE US!). Downgrade for the stadium: it not close to the campus but is functional. Game day Cash Parking is easy but get there early for best choices along Silver Lane. Syracuse tailgating will be plentiful.

4. Clemson, Saturday, November 5

Clemson by far has the best game day atmosphere of the bunch. It falls down in my rankings due to a low chance of winning, and it’s super expensive for basic motels ($200-plus) on game day. Weather should still be great, and the leaves should be at or near peak. Parking can be a chore and leaving after the game a pain, but every Orange fan should go here at least once. For Lodging, if you haven’t booked yet I would look at staying about an hour out of town and driving in on game day. Flying here is not fun. Greenville-Spartanburg International (GSP) is a medium sized airport. Check there first but you might be better served to fly into Atlanta or Charlotte and renting a car.

5. Boston College, Saturday, October 22

Boston College should really be higher but it is a horrible place for a visitor to try to tailgate and park nearby. Weather-wise, late October is a crap shoot in Boston. On the plus side, the leaves should be at peak. I’d recommend crashing a Superfan’s tailgate or meet somewhere along the "T" at a pub. Speaking of the "T" that is probably your best way to the game. Parking sucks. Lodging is expensive but it is Boston, so at least you can see the sights. Orange fans could potentially drown out BC fans, depending on how the Eagles may be doing by this point in the year.

6. Pittsburgh, Saturday, November 26

Pitt scored lowest but it isn’t really that bad. The expected cold weather gave this one a major disadvantage. The game is at Heinz Field – a nice stadium, but feels like Pitt is an afterthought there. No real college atmosphere. Parking is disjointed near the stadium as much is permitted. You can find some private lots but if you are looking to tailgate but you will have to do some homework. Alternatively, I suggest to you to park/tailgate at Station Square and take the Gateway Clipper over. Finally, a trip up an incline is always "fun." The good news is Pitt is a cool city to visit. It came in last mostly due to being late in the season and being off campus.

Happy planning!