On the Road Again – A Look at an SEC Stadium Tour

On the Road Again

How Many Miles in an SEC Stadium Tour?

The Question

In my first entry for The Bama Lighthouse, this blogger estimated how many miles the Crimson Tide team might travel throughout the 2014 season, including the SEC championship game in Atlanta, GA, and culminating in the first-ever College Football Playoff title game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX.

The Nitty-Gritty

The street address for each SEC stadium was identified. The same was done for the Georgia Dome and the stadiums that will host College Football Playoff games. Mapquest provided all stadium-to-stadium driving distances; preference given to interstate highways. Using a regional map of the United States, a commonsense route (i.e., with minimal backtracking) connecting all SEC stadiums was chosen. Visiting one stadium per week would require 14 weeks, which fits the duration of a college-football season like a Tide receiver’s favorite Script A embellished, ball-snagging glove.

Travel to CFB playoff sites is included after the SEC stadium tour is complete.

As I write this, the current AP college football poll has three SEC teams in the top six and another five ranked between 11 and 24. (Woah!) To recognize this stunning depth of conference strength, rankings are noted next to team names. Given these rankings, including CFB playoff sites in the route is not a stretch.

SEC Stadium Tour

>> Start

Williams-Brice Stadium (South Carolina Gamecocks): 166.7 miles to

Sanford Stadium (Georgia Bulldogs, AP #13): 344.5 miles to

Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (Florida Gators): 314.1 miles to

Jordan-Hare Stadium (Auburn Tigers, AP #5): 161.1 miles to

Bryant-Denny Stadium (Alabama Crimson Tide, AP #4): 84.9 miles to

Davis Wade Stadium (Mississippi State Bulldogs, AP #12): 102.2 miles to

Vaught-Hemingway Stadium (Ole Miss Rebels, AP #11): 345.8 miles to

Tiger Stadium (LSU Tigers; AP #15): 363.5 miles to

Kyle Field (Texas A&M Aggies, AP #6): 513.3 miles to

Reynolds Stadium (Arkansas Razorbacks): 309.3 miles to

Memorial Stadium (Missouri Tigers, AP #24): 434.1 miles to

Vanderbilt Stadium (Vanderbilt Commodores): 215.5 miles to

Commonwealth Stadium (Kentucky Wildcats): 170.9 miles to

Neyland Stadium (Tennessee Volunteers): 211.9 miles to

Georgia Dome, site of SEC Championship

>> End

Shortest leg: Bryant-Denny Stadium to Davis Wade Stadium – 84.9 miles

Longest leg: Kyle Field to Reynolds Stadium – 513.3 miles

Total distance – 3737.8 miles

As a point of comparison, from the Statue of Liberty to the Golden Gate Bridge, taking I-80W, is 2914.6 miles. Mapquest notes that this is a “long trip.” (Very helpful.)

The Postseason

Our intrepid traveler, having witnessed the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta would be heading to one of the two CFB semi-final playoff sites: the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA, or the Superdome, site of the Sugar Bowl, in New Orleans, LA.

Georgia Dome to Rose Bowl: 2169.8 miles

Georgia Dome to Superdome: 469.9 miles

If the SEC champion is assigned to the Rose Bowl, let’s hope our road warrior has a credit card with a killer bonus-points program.

The CFB title game will be played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX.

Rose Bowl to AT&T Stadium: 1420.4 miles

Superdome to AT&T Stadium: 541.6 miles

So the “Rose Bowl route” comes in at 7328.0 miles, or 2.51 times across the continental US. The less arduous “Superdome route” is 4749.3 miles, which is a mere 1.62 times the coast-to-coast distance.

Time to rest

Finally, our brave SEC fan makes his – or her – way from AT&T Stadium to the SEC conference headquarters in Birmingham, AL, to rest, chow down on some famous Dreamland Bar-B-Que and get ready for the 2105 SEC Media Days. Distance from the SEC HQ to the Dreamland restaurant on 14th Avenue South? A mere 3.75 miles. Piece of cake.

Get Your Math On

As much fun as an SEC stadium tour would be, finding an optimal route among multiple destinations is a nontrivial task. The “Travelling Salesman Problem (TSP)” first appeared in business literature in 1832, with the general form of the problem being stated in 1930. TSP is an important problem in combinatorial mathematics, computer science and operations research.

If you’d like to go deeper: http://www.math.uwaterloo.ca/tsp/

I make no claim that the route I describe herein is anywhere near optimal. In a former life, I laid out routes for teams of project technicians, but my attempts paled woefully compared to those of my boss, Miss Hope, who was an absolute ninja master at getting many people and lots of equipment to the proper places at the right times. Props!

By The Way

“On the Road Again” is the title of a song written and performed by the legendary Willie Nelson. It’s from the album Honeysuckle Rose (Columbia Records, 1980), which presents the soundtrack for the movie of the same name. “On the Road Again” was a #1 country-and-western hit and reached 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also won the Grammy Award for Best Country Song.

Here’s Willie, getting it done live: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gdlyi5mckg0

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