The Long and Winding Road

*Many  thanks to PAB for the first of many guest posts.  Enjoy!

The Long and Winding Road:

                               How Much Travel Does A College Football Schedule Entail?

The Question

Every year, during March Madness, the issue of travel is raised. “Games are being played all over the country. Teams are travelling a lot of miles.”
Well, college football is at least as important as the NCAA men’s hoops extravaganza and “a lot of miles” isn’t very precise. Just how many miles of travel might a big-time college football team log in a season? Let’s look at the Crimson Tide’s 2014 schedule and see what numbers we get.

The Nitty-Gritty
The street address of the home stadium for each team on the schedule was identified. The same was done for the Georgia Dome and the stadiums that will host College Football Playoff games. Mapquest provided stadium-to-stadium driving distances. If more than one route was given, the average distance was calculated. Driving distance was multiplied by two to get round-trip miles.

Regular season
Crimson Tide total travel: 3,207.82 miles
Opposing teams total travel: 5,282.64 miles
Total travel, Crimson Tides and opponents: 8490.46
(For comparison, it’s about 3304 miles from the Statue of Liberty to the Golden Gate Bridge.)
Longest trip by the Crimson Tide: to Arkansas: 1121.10 miles
Longest trip by an opposing team: from Texas A&M: 1354.96 miles
Shortest trip by the Crimson Tide: to Ole Miss: 348.00 miles
Shortest trip by an opposing team: from Mississippi State: 167.18 miles

Postseason
Travel to the SEC Championship Game, Georgia Dome: 406.26 miles
Travel to College Football Playoff semi-final, Sugar Bowl: 582.82 miles =OR=
Travel to College Football Playoff semi-final, Rose Bowl: 4051.54 miles
Travel to College Football Playoff championship, AT&T Stadium: 1209.66
So if the Crimson Tide wins the SEC title in the Georgia Dome, then reaches the CFP championship game, that will add either 2198.74 miles (the Sugar Bowl route) or 5667.46 miles (the Rose Bowl route).
Combining these distances with regular season travel, the totals are:
Total travel (Sugar Bowl route): 5406.56 miles
Total travel (Rose Bowl route): 8875.28 miles

Conclusion
An old adage, attributed to Lao-Tzu, states “The longest journey begins with a single step.” The Crimson Tide’s journey begins in the Georgia Dome on August 30… it could cover almost 8900 miles and make Alabama the first-ever CFP Champion.

By The Way
Yes, “The Long and Winding Road” is a homage to The Beatles. The song was released in 1970 on the “Let It Be” album. It was the last Beatles single to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

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