We all dream of it: Hopping in the RV and trekking cross-country to see all the biggest and wildest college football environments in the country. It's a dream I'm chasing, but what if money and time off work was no object? What if you had unlimited resources? What would the ultimate 2022 college football road trip look like?
Rules and Methodology
There's a million ways to do this and this schedule is my personal preference. I did set a few rules for this exercise:
- This is a real road trip. All games have to be within a reasonable driving distance (i.e. can't teleport from the East to the West Coast overnight).
- No repeat visits. There may be repeat teams, but I'm going to avoid that as much as I can.
- Money doesn't exist. A billionaire is funding this trip and we're going to the best games.
- The goal is to get the most widespread and diverse experience, so there's no intentional focus on a certain conference.
- Only one game per day. We're trying to do the entire game experience.
Alright, let's dive right into it.
Week 1: Penn State at Purdue
Thursday, Sept. 1, Ross Ade Stadium (West Lafayette, IN)
Night games in West Lafayette are weird. Famously, Purdue's upset top-five Ohio State and Michigan State teams in recent years at night. The allure of a Penn State team will make Ross Ade Stadium its absolute most exciting and we can't pass that up on a Thursday.
Drive time: 0 Hours
Week 1: Oregon vs. Georgia
Saturday, Sept. 3, Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta, GA)
I'm not a fan of big college football games being played off-site, but Atlanta is a great jumping off point to hit the annual Sunday night kickoff game in New Orleans. Either way, this is a great game between two teams with a lot of promise but many questions heading into 2022. We have two days to get down here.
Drive time: 10 Hours
Week 1: Florida State vs. LSU
Sunday, Sept. 4, Caesars Superdome (New Orleans, LA)
Thanks to Georgia-Oregon being a 3:30 p.m. kickoff time and the hour gained from traveling to the Central Time Zone, a seven-hour drive to New Orleans from Atlanta is possible. We can't pass up college football's lone Sunday game, even if it is at an NFL Stadium.
Drive time: 7 Hours
Week 2: Alabama at Texas
Saturday, Sept. 10, DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium (Austin, TX)
This is the darling of not just Week 2, but of the early season. Former Alabama coach Steve Sarkisian now spearheading Texas? Come on. An 11:00 a.m. kickoff isn't ideal for any party involved, but this'll give us a chance to experience Austin's nightlife, matched by few other places.
Drive time: 7 Hours
Week 3: Penn State at Auburn
Saturday, Sept. 17, Jordan-Hare Stadium (Auburn, AL)
Back to the southeast. This week has some interesting games like Oklahoma at Nebraska, but there's no real staple. This same game played in Happy Valley last year was incredible. Jordan-Hare brings it at night for big opponents. We can take our time getting here with a full week.
Drive time: 13 Hours
Week 4: West Virginia at Virginia Tech
Thursday, Sept. 22, Lane Stadium (Blacksburg, VA)
A regional opponent at Lane Stadium is a recipe for an explosive environment. I experienced it first-hand in 2021 against North Carolina and this place rocks. Not much explanation needed.
Drive time: 8 Hours
Week 4: Florida at Tennessee
Saturday, Sept. 24, Neyland Stadium (Knoxville, TN)
Neyland Stadium is a rite of passage and when in the southeast, you have to go. Florida and Tennessee are pretty bitter rivals, dubbing this rivalry the "Third Saturday of September." Folks in Knoxville are incredibly kind and welcoming, so a neutral fan like us will love it there. However, we know they can be nasty to competition, making this a fun game to be at.
Drive time: 3.5 Hours
Week 5: NC State at Clemson
Saturday, Oct. 1, Memorial Stadium (Clemson, SC)
NC State left a bad taste in Clemson's mouth last year when they beat them in Raleigh. Clemson Memorial Stadium is a can't-pass venue with plenty of cool traditions like Howard's Rock. There'll be a burn for Clemson fans and NC State should be a good team this year.
Drive time: 3.5 Hours
Week 6: Texas A&M at Alabama
Saturday, Oct. 8, Bryant-Denny Stadium (Tuscaloosa, AL)
Is there a topical reason I picked this game? Maybe.
Drive time: 5 Hours
Week 7: USC at Utah
Saturday, Oct. 15, Rice-Eccles Stadium (Salt Lake City, UT)
We have a full week to make it cross-country. Enjoy the sights of the Rocky Mountains on the way, and this is our first big trek. Don't worry– we won't do this very often. But USC visiting Utah, likely in primetime? We cannot miss this game. With any luck, this'll be a Top-15 showdown.
Drive time: 27 Hours
Week 8: Texas at Oklahoma State
Saturday, Oct. 22, Boone Pickens Stadium (Stillwater, OK)
Time to reel it back and we have another full week to make it 16.5 hours. The sky is a different color black in Stillwater at night and, if Texas is winning games, this'll be a night game. Stillwater is another trap location for many teams, and a win here means a field storming.
Drive time: 16.5 Hours
Week 9: Louisiana at Southern Miss
Thursday, Oct. 27, M.M. Roberts Stadium (Hattiesburg, MS)
Hattiesburg sits right on the route between Stillwater and Jacksonville and its a terrific college town. The stars align for this midweek Sun Belt game.
Drive time: 10.5 Hours
Week 9: Georgia vs. Florida
Saturday, Oct. 29, TIAA Bank Field (Jacksonville, FL)
Break out your Saturday's best for the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. Georgia and Florida have a nasty rivalry that's one of the nation's best. The Gators got the best of the Dawgs in 2020 but Georgia got the last laugh with their 2021 National Championship. Break out the popcorn and the liquor.
Drive time: 7.5 Hours
Week 10: Buffalo at Ohio
Tuesday, Nov. 1, Peden Stadium (Athens, OH)
Another "stars align" game on the first night of midweek MAC-tion. If you've never experienced the magic of MACtion, you're in for a treat. Bring the layers and get ready for unexplainable nonsense on the field.
Drive time: 11.5 Hours
Week 10: Western Michigan at Bowling Green
Wednesday, Nov. 2, Doyt Perry Stadium (Bowling Green, OH)
Am I recommending two midweek MACtion games back-to-back because it's convenient? That magical? Because BG is my alma mater? How about all three?
Drive time: 3 Hours
Week 10: Clemson at Notre Dame
Saturday, Nov. 5, Notre Dame Stadium (South Bend, IN)
If you want to see Notre Dame at its finest, look no further than Week 10. Clemson should be a top-five team and there's a good chance the Irish are, too. This is a slugfest in the making and a likely destination for College GameDay, which we hope to encounter at least once on this trip. Notre Dame was a requirement.
Drive time: 2.5 Hours
Week 11: Wisconsin at Iowa
Saturday, Nov. 12, Kinnick Stadium (Iowa City, IA)
The wave at Kinnick is something you can't miss when on the ultimate tour of college football. Welcome Iowa's biggest conference rival Wisconsin– a team that should be pretty good– and this'll be a great game day. Iowa in mid-November won't be tropical, but that kind of adds to the whole experience, no?
Drive time: 4.5 Hours
Week 12: USC at UCLA
Saturday, Nov. 19, Rose Bowl Stadium (Pasadena, CA)
Buckle up for the second cross-country trek. We have a full week to make it to Los Angeles for this historic rivalry with renewed interest. If you'd rather, hit the Rose Bowl game in January and sub this out for something less out-of-the-way, but for the sake of this exercise, we're hitting it the second-to-last week.
Drive time: 26 Hours
Week 13: Mississippi State at Ole Miss
Thursday, Nov. 24, Vaught Hemingway Stadium (Oxford, MS)
Okay, fine. I'm cheating. There's no way we would drive 26 hours one way, catch a game, then spin it 27 hours back. If you did, the Rockies would be your route on the way to, and then hit Historic Route 66 back. Did I buy a flight to Memphis? Maybe.
No offense to the West Coast, but Rivalry Week happens east of the Mississippi.
Drive time: 27 Hours, but we likely bought a flight
Week 13: Michigan at Ohio State
Saturday, Nov. 26, Ohio Stadium (Columbus, OH)
There's no bigger game this week and no better way to cap our ultimate college football road trip than with sport's biggest rivalry. Michigan finally got their sweet revenge on Ohio State last year, but this likely-top 10 showdown heads back to Columbus. This isn't just a marquee game to go to, but appointment television.
Drive time: 9.5 Hours
This article was an extremely abbreviated version of why each game was picked. Every college town on this list offers it's own litany of great night life, food, tailgating, and tradition.
I do have to note several stops we weren't able to fit into the schedule, regrettably:
- Husky Stadium, Washington
- Autzen Stadium, Oregon
- Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Oklahoma
- Memorial Stadium, Nebraska
- Kyle Field, Texas A&M
- Tiger Stadium, LSU
- Michigan Stadium, Michigan
- Beaver Stadium, Penn State
- Sanford Stadium, Georgia
As a result of scarcity and logistics of college football, we just couldn't fit them in. That's the excitement and beauty of college football travel– you'll just have to do them next year.
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