12 Crazy College Football Road Trips in 2015

By Amy Daughters -

In the same way that not all non-conference schedules are created equally, not all non-conference road trips are created equally.

Where some Power teams consistently welcome smaller opponents to their home field, with hopes of beating the tar out of them in front of the local fan base, others sacrifice ticket sales for true home-and-home experiences. In doing so, they often cut the number of potential onlookers in half.

And where some schools keep their road tripping to regions which are reasonably reached by any mode of transportation, others seem to be on a quest to bulk up their frequent flier status.

Here’s a look at some of the wildest travel plans in 2015.

LSU at Syracuse

The Tigers will travel 1,435 miles to the Carrier Dome in Week 4 in 2015, a trip it’s never taken in its 122-year football history.

LSU and Syracuse have met twice before but never in the regular season. The first meeting came in the 1965 Sugar Bowl, a game the Tigers won 13-10 and the most recent came in the 1989 Hall of Fame Bowl, the Orange took that one 23-10.

The two are slated to clash again in 2017, this time for the first-ever game in Baton Rouge.

Boston College vs. Notre Dame at Fenway Park

This year’s edition of Notre Dame’s “Shamrock Series” will feature Boston College taking on the Irish in the baseball home of the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park.

It marks the first time the venue will host a football game since Dec. 1, 1968, when the then Boston Patriots played their last home game there (they were tenants from 1963-68). From there the Pats moved on, ironically, to Boston College and then Harvard Stadium before landing at Foxboro in 1971.

Notre Dame and Boston College have played 22 games all-time and most recently in 2012. The Irish hold a 13-9 advantage and have captured four straight.

The two schools have four additional meetings booked: 2017 (at Boston College), 2019 (at Notre Dame), 2022 (at Notre Dame) and 2025 (at Boston College).

Miami (Fla.) at Florida Atlantic

In what’s not much of a road trip, the Hurricanes will drive 40 miles north from 76,500 seat Sun Life Stadium to the 30,000 seat FAU Stadium in Boca Raton to face the Owls in Week 2.

Though the whole idea of a home-and-home series is easy to get, why slash potential ticket sales in half just to facilitate a game that’s basically being played in the same city either way?

The two teams have met once previously, in 2013 in Miami Gardens, the Hurricanes won 34-6.

Miami has Florida Atlantic on it slate again next season, this time they’ll clash in Sun Life Stadium.

Pittsburgh at Akron

In what’s the second part of a home-and-home, Pitt will leave its own 65,000 seat Heinz Field for the two-hour road trip northwest to Akron’s InfoCision Stadium with a capacity of 30,000.

The Panthers have only made six previous visits to MAC teams: A 1900 road trip to Akron (a 17-0 win), a 2000 visit to Bowling Green, (a 34-16 win), a 2003 trip to Toledo (a 35-31 loss), a 2005 visit to Athens to play Ohio University (a 16-10 loss) and 2009 and 2012 trips to Buffalo (both wins).

Pitt is 29-4 all-time vs. MAC members and 2-1 vs. Akron, the most recent meeting and only loss coming last season, a 21-10 shocker at Heinz Field.

Oklahoma State at Central Michigan

Prior to this season’s opener at Central Michigan, Oklahoma State had only played a MAC opponent four times in history and only once on the road.

Previous games consist of a 1984 clash with Bowling Green (a 31-14 win) and 1985 and 1988 showdowns with Miami of Ohio (both big wins). The sole road game came in 1994, when the Cowboys traveled to DeKalb, Illinois and knocked off Northern Illinois 31-14.

Mount Pleasant, Michigan is a quick 15-hour drive from Stillwater, Oklahoma and Central Michigan’s Kelly Shorts/Stadium is 30,000 seats smaller than Boone Pickens Stadium.

The two teams will meet again next season, this time in Stillwater.

Purdue at Marshall

Purdue has never visited Marshall for a football game and hasn’t played in the state of West Virginia since beating the Mountaineers 26-24 in Morgantown in 1995.

The Boilermakers and Thundering Herd have had only one previous clash, a 2012 game Purdue won 51-41 in West Lafayette, Indiana.

It’s only a six hour drive from Purdue’s campus to Joan C. Edwards Stadium in Huntington, West Virginia.

The two teams don’t have another game booked in the foreseeable future.

Hawaii at Ohio State/at Wisconsin

Hawaii will visit Big Ten members twice this season, travelling 4,500 miles to Ohio State on Sept. 12 and then returning to the mainland on Sept. 26 for a 4,152-mile trip to Wisconsin.

Sandwiched between the two games, on Sept. 19, is a home date with FCS UC Davis. It means the Warriors will travel 17,304 miles round-trip in a matter of 14 days.

Hawaii is 9-21 all-time vs. the Big Ten. It’s most recent road action came in a 2005 trip to East Lansing to face Michigan State, resulting in a 42-14 loss.

The Warriors have never faced Ohio State in football and 1-5 all-time vs. Wisconsin. They last played the Badgers in 2009 (a 51-10 loss) and have only visited Madison once, a 28-7 loss in 1987.   The only win was a 20-17 triumph in 1986 in Honolulu.

Hawaii will visit Michigan next season and has a home-and-home scheduled with Wisconsin in 2022/2024.

Washington State at Rutgers

The final part of a home-and-home series, Washington State will travel 2,631 miles to Piscataway, New Jersey to face Rutgers in Week 2.

It’s the Cougars’ first trip to the East Coast since a 1996 visit to Temple, resulting in a narrow 38-34 win in what turned out to be a 5-6 campaign.

The two schools’ only previous meeting came last season, a game the Scarlett Knights won 41-38 in Pullman.

While the two teams don’t have any future dates booked, Rutgers does have a home-and-home scheduled with Washington in 2016/2017.

Missouri at Arkansas State

Missouri has played Arkansas State three times, all wins and all since 2004, but have never made the five-hour drive southeast to Jonesboro.

The last time the Tigers played a game in the state of Arkansas was 52-years ago, in 1963, when they edged the Razorbacks 7-6 in Little Rock.

In 2015, they’ll visit the Natural State twice, at Arkansas State on Sept. 12 and at Arkansas on Friday, Nov. 27.

Ironically, the Red Wolves also have a visit from FCS Missouri State on their slate this season, meaning they’ll host two Show Me State teams while the Tigers will visit two Arkansas schools.

The two programs don’t have any future dates booked.

NC State at Old Dominion/at South Alabama

Not only will NC State visit a smaller venue once this season, they’ll do it twice, replacing 60,000 seat Carter-Finley Stadium in back-to-back weekends.

First up, it’s a trip to Norfolk, Virginia on Sept. 19 to square off with Old Dominion in its 19,818 seat S.B. Ballard Stadium. The game is the back end of a home-and-home that started last season with a 46-34 Wolfpack win in Raleigh.

Next, it’s on to Mobile, Alabama on Sept. 26 to face South Alabama in 40,646 seat Ladd-Peebles Stadium. It marks the front end of a home-and-home that’s slated to wrap up on Sept. 17, 2016 in Raleigh.

The games mark only the second time in history that NC State has played either school. The only other meeting with South Alabama came in 2012, a 31-7 Wolfpack win at home.

Amy Daughters is a contributor to FBSchedules.com.

Comments (28)

Richard, it really bothers me to hear G5 schools referred to as smaller schools or smaller schools. Many G5 schools are anything but small. Some have enrollments in the range of 30-35,000 with medical schools, law schools, etc. and extensive PhD programs. They are not small. What is small is the size of their athletic budgets. G5 schools spend from about 25 million to 35 million on athletics compared to 75 to 125 million at P5 programs. Instead of small school I would like to see people use the term small program. It’s a big football program vs a smaller football program.

Well, at least he did not say cupcakes, cream puffs or school of the blind like most individuals like to call them on here. It is nice to see larger programs going to G5 stadiums & playing them at home, something different & the fan bases of G5 love it!

What about Washington 12 hour drive to Boise to play Boise State in there tiny stadium seating 36,000 which 36,000 fewer than saw Washington and BSU play in Seattle in 2013?

Some crazy journeys in there for sure, but it’s a shame part of your criteria seems to be ‘schools we’ve heard of playing on the road at schools we haven’t.’

What about Notre Dame’s first ever trip to play Temple @ Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia?

BYU at Nebraska for the first ever meeting between these schools. For that matter BYU at Michigan, or BYU vs Mizzu at Arrowhead are all better than at least half of this list.

BYU is a comparitively small time program with no conference….how are they playing at big time programs ‘crazy’ road trips. They have no choice.

The App State grad in me wishes NC State would be as willing to play in-state in Boone against another recent mover-up to FBS as they are to play at ODU and South Alabama. On the other hand, the Florida State fan in me wishes NC State would try to take on more of a challenge than that for the sake of the ACC’s reputation.

In the FCS equivalent article, it would be hard not to include and riff on the very rhyming, “Maine at Tulane”. :)

South Alabama played at NC State in 2011 as well, a 35-13 loss as NC state was their first ever FBS opponent. So technically the return game in Mobile will be the third ever meeting between NCSU and USA. Not that it matters… just some polite fact checking.

That is being done as a public service. Most of the fans will probably be Spartan fans as Western Michigan averages fewer in attendance at home than the top 10 Texas high schools.

The fact is that NCSU will go anywhere to play, if they are confident of a win. Frankly, they should’ve ashamed of themselves. About half of their annual wins are at schools which are either startup programs or guaranteed wins for almost any competitor NCSU has no pride.

The best football programs in North Carolina in order: UNC, ECU, Duke, NCSU, App State, Charlotte, Wake Forest. UNC should have an astriix by their name for playing 20 years with ineligible player. (See UNC scandal)

Have to agree with you Richard, but there are still too many teams in the Power 5 that refuse to go on the road to play even other Power 5 schools, much less teams that aren’t in the Power 5.

Georgia State has a fairly LARGE Stadium yet they go all over to play the power five teams.Play??? OK I know they are still growing but they do show up with the team and try anyway. Please be patient; One day Georgia State will be a Power Five team and be a true champion…. I’m an old man and probably want be around to watch and cheer but they have too great of a situation in Atlanta not to be a champion. If I were soon to finish high school I would look real hard at going to that University for my college journey. It would be a Hoot, shonuff…. No longer is GSU a little night business satellite of UGA with rented classrooms. One day our States true rivalry will be UGA vs GSU……. GT will be, as Ms. Mitchell said ” GONE WITH THE WIND”. When a Southern school names their stadium after or with the same name as a Yankee General [Grant field] >>>>>> well that’s an argument for another day