Every football season, lists are made around the greatest games each week, or the best games of the year. For several seasons on end, ESPN’s ACC Blog has created a road trip highlighting the best games in the conference for each week.
But all of those lists sound fun. And as any reader of this blog should know by now, that’s not necessarily what I do... much (Sean, on the other hand, does fun all the time). In a quest to perhaps out-torment me, Stadium Journey’s Sean MacDonald found a way to plan the NFL’s most ambitious road trip yesterday: all 32 home games, plus Mexico City and London. You’re driving to them all, save the non-U.S. contests, all in one season.
It’s about as brutal a a trip as you can get. That’s over 20,000 miles of driving, plus two international flights, and of course, you’re subjected to the NFL’s neutered game day experience 34 times in four months. I, of course, had a better (worse) idea than this forced NFL road trip:
The Ultimate, Forced ACC Road Trip (from hell)
The rules are both simple and few. The road tripper (not me, since I live 3,000ish miles from ACC country) must attend an ACC game every day there is one. They must make it to all 14 ACC football stadiums in the 13-week season, and also attend the ACC Championship Game (no Notre Dame included here). And each planned stop must be a realistic distance from the last, given drive/game time, so you’re not traveling more than 800 miles in a day’s time.
Key caveat: the quality of these games don’t matter, as you’ll see very quickly. The only “cool” stop insisted upon was the Virginia Tech vs. Tennessee game at Bristol Motor Speedway (in Bristol, Tenn.). Everything else is completely dependent on the ACC football schedule. This trip is awful.
Things get tricky right away since there are league games on September 1, 2, 3 and 5. Your games:
Sept.1: William & Mary at NC State (travel 643 miles)
Sept. 2: Colgate at Syracuse (travel 624miles)
Sept. 3: NC Central at Duke (travel 619 miles)
Sept. 5: Ole Miss vs. Florida State in Orlando, Fla.
Assuming you’re still alive after this, you’ll hate week two as well...
(travel 1,212 miles)
Sept. 9: Louisville at Syracuse (travel 678 miles)
Sept. 10: Virginia Tech vs. Tennessee in Bristol, Tenn.
Bright side: you get four days to drive from Orlando to Syracuse. Down side: then you have to drive nearly 700 miles after a night game in Syracuse to get yourself over to Tennessee. — though at least you get to see the game in what should be a highly entertaining (albeit far away) atmosphere. Yes, I’m aware this is pure evil. The rest of the month is much better.
(travel 125 miles)
Sept. 17: Boston College at Virginia Tech
(travel 149 miles)
Sept. 24: Central Michigan at Virginia
Things pick up again in October, with nine game days. Apologies in advance (after this week).
(travel 168 miles)
Oct. 1: Virginia at Duke
Six days to go nearly 700 miles doesn’t sound too bad. Then you have to travel nearly 600 miles in a night. These maps, tho.
(travel 690 miles... nice.)
Oct. 7: Clemson at Boston College (travel 567 miles)
Oct. 8: Georgia Tech at Pittsburgh
This week seems light in comparison, though two interesting-ish games to make up for it...
(travel 388 miles)
Oct. 14: Duke at Louisville (travel 420 miles)
Oct. 15: Georgia Southern at Georgia Tech
Blame Wake Forest’s bye for this repetitive week.
(travel 410 miles)
Oct. 20: Miami at Virginia Tech (travel 149 miles)
Oct. 22: North Carolina at Virginia
“SOUTH’S. OLDEST. RIVALRY.”
(travel 321 miles)
Oct. 27: Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh (travel 399 miles)
Oct. 29: Army at Wake Forest
You’re out of October, so less games, BUT you have a whole lot of stadiums to catch up on, so more travel. Again, praying for you, weary traveler, if you’ve even made it this far.
(travel 77 miles)
Nov. 5: Georgia Tech at North Carolina
You just watched two polar opposite offenses explode on one another in a very fun affair. Your reward?
(travel 646 miles)
Nov. 11: Boston College at Florida State
(travel 380 miles)
Nov. 12: Pittsburgh at Clemson
(travels 916 miles)
Nov. 17: Louisville at Houston
“At least I get to see a top-five Houston team make a run at a playoff berth!”
/Louisville blows out Houston
(travels 793 miles)
Nov. 19: Virginia at Georgia Tech
.... wakes up in a ditch near Atlanta... “I mean, I guess I have to go to the goddamn game at this point.”
“It’s over right?”
(travels 664 miles)
Nov. 26: Duke at Miami
... Duke beats Miami on shady, lateral-filled, last-second victory. David Cutcliffe punches Mark Richt in the throat post-game, forgetting he didn’t coach the ‘Canes last year.
“PLEASE NOT ANOTHER GAME”
(travels 730 miles despite having no recollection of ever getting in the car)
Dec. 3: ACC Championship Game
8-4 Pitt beats 12-0 Clemson on a last-second flea-flicker in a game Syracuse fans boycott on principle. Florida State steals the playoff bid at 11-1. You couldn’t care less since you stopped actually watching the games a month ago.
Again, this trip is not worth taking. At all. But if you were to do so, you’d have traveled 11,768 miles, and watched games in 11 different states and 18 different stadiums.
There are probably more efficient ways to make this happen, but I don’t care to hear about them. Have a more terrifying (but still actually possible) way to make this all happen? Share that inhumane itinerary in the comments.