Yesterday, we presented to you the idea of The Great 2020 College Football Tour in which we provided you with this idea;
The Backstory: Congratulations (Your Name), you are the winner of Black Shoe Diaries The Great 2020 College Football Tour sweepstakes! By winning these sweepstakes, you have been awarded to attend one college football game each of the 2020 regular season (week 0 through week 15, conference championship games not included). But before we get started, there are three rules to how you can create your schedule.
There was also three basic rules;
No.1: You can only see a team once (you can’t see Ohio State vs Oregon and then see Ohio State vs Penn State).
No.2: You have to pick at least one G5 vs G5 game (any independent not named Notre Dame will be considered G5).
No.3: You cannot look ahead on the schedule and you cannot go back and change any answers.
With that, our BSD staff was up to the challenge of creating their own ultimate college football tour. Here are the results:
BSD Ultimate 2020 Football Tour
|0||Hawai'i at Arizona||Hawai'i at Arizona||Hawai'i at Arizona||NM St at UCLA||Cal at UNLV||Hawai'i at Arizona|
|1||Alabama vs USC (Arlington)||Alabama vs USC||Towson at Maryland||Temple at Miami||Michigan at Washington||Alabama vs USC|
|2||Texas at LSU||Texas at LSU||Kentucky at Florida||Sacramento St at Washington||Texas at LSU||Auburn vs UNC|
|3||FSU at Boise State||Iowa at Minnesota||FSU at Boise State||FSU at Boise State||FSU at Boise||Iowa at Minnesota|
|4||Wisconsin at Michigan||Virginia at Clemson||Virginia at Clemson||Arizona State at USC||Oklahoma at Army||Wisconsin at Michigan|
|5||Baylor at Oklahoma||Notre Dame at Wisconsin (Lambeau)||Notre Dame vs Wisconsin||Wisconsin vs Notre Dame||Virginia at Clemson||Pitt at Miami|
|6||Virginia Tech at UNC||Duke at NC State||Texas vs Oklahoma (Cotton Bowl)||Texas vs Oklahoma||Minnesota at Wisconsin||Texas vs Oklahoma|
|7||Texas A&M at Auburn||Texas A&M at Auburn||LSU at Arkansas||Florida at Ole Miss||UCLA at Colorado||UCF at Memphis|
|8||Ohio State at Penn State||Ohio State at Penn State||Ohio State at Penn State||Ohio State at Penn State||Ohio State at Penn State||Ohio tate at Penn State|
|9||Florida vs Georgia||Florida vs Georgia||Oregon State at Stanford||Virginia Tech at Louisville||Florida vs Georgia||Florida vs Georgia|
|10||Clemson at Notre Dame||Houston at Cincinnati||Houston at Cincinnati||Washington State at Colorado||USC at Oregon||Clemson at Notre Dame|
|11||Arizona State at Oregon||MIami at Virginia Tech||Nebraska at Iowa||Old Dominion at Charlotte||Memphis at Navy||Illinois at Indiana|
|12||Ok St vs Kansas St||Stanford at California||USC at UCLA||Cincinnati at UCF||Lousiville at Notre Dame||Florida State at Syracuse|
|13||Miss St vs Ole Miss||Kentucky at Louisville||Auburn at Alabama||Auburn vs Alabama||Auburn at Alabama||Washington at Washington St|
|15||Army vs Navy (Philadelphia)||Army vs Navy||Army vs Navy||Army vs Navy||Army vs Navy||Army vs Navy|
Now for our respective explanations (beware this overall is pretty lengthy!)...
Chris: For me, the three biggest things I wanted to accomplish on this trip were a) watching competitive games, b) seeing some fun and unique venues, and c) attending games to which I have a personal connection. Week 0 was just kind of there, but week 1 features a top 25 showdown in Jerry World, which seemed obvious. Texas-LSU in Death Valley in week 2 also seemed pretty obvious. I went with Iowa-Minnesota in week 3 because I think they’re 2 of the top 3 teams in the B1G West, and truthfully given what’s going on in the world right now, I want to take a trip to Minneapolis.
I have family and friends that have attended both Virginia and Clemson for week 4, plus the other Death Valley is on my bucket list. Notre Dame vs Wisconsin at Lambeau Field is kind of up in the air right now, but it seemed too good of an opportunity to pass up. My wife went to Duke, and I have a lot of friends that went to NC State, coupled with my time in Raleigh, that game was a no-brainer in Week 6. TAMU-Auburn in week 7 just seems like a competitive game, while the most obvious pick for me all season was OSU-PSU in week 8. I would have loved to see OSU-Oregon or PSU-VT earlier in the season, but I needed to leave this week as OSU-PSU.
UF-UGA should be a de facto play in game for the SEC CCG, followed by one of the better G5-G5 games of the season in Houston-Cincinnati in week 10. I finally get around to Lane Stadium with Miami-VT in week 11, and felt like I needed to get out west once more, so I went Stanford-Cal in week 12. Lastly, for rivalry week, I went with Kentucky-Louisville. First, I’d like to see Kentucky lose after they beat PSU in the Citrus Bowl; second, I got my masters from Louisville, so getting to go visit for a big rivalry game would be fun for me. That’s my schedule for 2020!
Dylan: For the most part, my ultimate goal for my schedule was to see as many impactful games as possible with some fun games built in as well. Week Zero, I was thinking about using a G5 game but ended up going with Hawaii vs Arizona, I personally love Arizona (the state, not the university) and would definitely spend a whole week in Arizona/Las Vegas in the week leading up to the game. In week one, USC vs Alabama in Arlington should be a good one and as someone who thinks USC could actually be pretty good this season, this is a huge early test for them, I don’t think they win but can they keep it close?
In week three, this was simply the fact that I want to see a game on that beautiful blue field at Albertsons Stadium and why not see a historic program like Florida State take the trip to Boise. Wisconsin vs Michigan should be a great matchup, Wisconsin will by vying for a Big Ten West Championship this season while Michigan will be looking to be the surprise of the Big Ten East. Starting in week five I’m really excited about the next 6-7 weeks as they are games that could affect conference championships or/and the playoff picture outside of week 7.
Here’s a quick run down;
- Baylor vs Oklahoma: Could be a huge decider in the Big 12 and the playoffs
- Virginia Tech vs UNC: Who will get the leg up in the ACC Coastal? Plus Sam Howell is my boy.
- Texas A&M vs Auburn: I couldn’t wait till 2022 to see a game at Jordan-Hare
- Ohio State vs Penn State: Enough said
- Florida v Georgia: SEC East supremacy on the line, playoff elimination game?),
- Clemson vs Notre Dame: Neither team could afford a loss if they want to make the playoffs.
- Arizona State vs Oregon: Last year was a thriller, I’m a big fan of Jayden Daniels and the sequel should be great as well
Finally my last three games are Oklahoma State vs Kansas State so I can simply see Chuba Hubbard play, Miss St vs Ole Miss because I’m not passing up the chance of watching Mike Leach vs Lane Kiffin go up against eachother, and Army vs Navy because that is the pinnacle of college football.
Lando: I thought I would go a little outside the box with a few of my picks-but they mostly focus on either convenience or stadium choice, unless it’s just too good to pass up (in my opinion).
Week 1’s selection is simply because I went to Towson for grad school and have never seen them play sports. This would also be a convenient trip for me living in MD. Competitive game, not so much.
Week 2’s pick might also be strange, but The Swamp is one of the venues I want to visit, and I want to save some of the other schools for future weeks. Same goes for the blue turf in Week 3 (Georgia-Bama was really hard for me to pass up), and Clemson’s Death Valley in Week 4. Week 5 in Lambeau? Yes, please.
Week 6 takes me to the Red River Rivalry. I grew up watching it, and it’s another class “blue bloods of college football” matchup. I would like all of the fried everything as well. With my Week 7 pick, I decided to travel with the defending national champs to Fayetteville. Not particularly excited to see Arkansas, but I’m up for seeing Ed Orgeron in person. Do I need to justify Week 8? Didn’t think so.
For Week 9, I wish I hadn’t used Florida already so I could go to Between the Hedges, but I’ll settle up for a jaunt to Northern California. I also was unwise in using up FSU against Boise State (blue turf is still cool, though) since I would love to go to FSU-Miami (despite the lack of national stakes) because of the atmosphere. Houston against Cincy should be a really exciting matchup given their success in the G5. Week 11 is a relatively new rivalry that manages to have more animus than many others. Kinnick seems like a cool place to visit when not heading there for PSU-Iowa night game (recent history aside).
If you hadn’t guessed by now, I am a big rivalry person, so even though UCLA has been down for decades, I still want to experience LA’s rivalry, and the Iron Bowl is impossible for me to pass up since I’ve already taken OSU. I have no doubt I picked some screwy games, but hey, this was difficult!
Marty: When it came to constructing my list I weighed a few variables. Going to games at stadiums I have always wanted to visit, experiencing some of the best games on the schedule this fall, taking in some of the sports best rivalries in person, and enjoying some warm weather in November were all factors for my list.
Week 0 was easy for me, it’s the Rose Bowl. Week 1, South Beach on Labor Day Weekend? Again, easy call. Plus, I wanted to keep Alabama in play for later in the schedule. Week 2 may seem like an odd pick, but tailgating on a boat outside Husky Stadium is a college football bucket list item for me. So is the blue turf in Boise, which I’ll go check out in week 3 in what should be a great match up against Florida State.
Weeks 4-6, I just picked what I viewed as the best game each of those weeks. Week 7 was all about getting to tailgate in The Grove, and then the White Out is obviously the best atmosphere in all of college football. As for week 9, I’ll spend Halloween watching what should be one of the best regular season games in the ACC this season. Wazzu at Colorado gets the nod for week 10, because after hearing people rave about Boulder for years it’s time to check it out for myself.
In week 11 I go visit one of my favorite cities in the country, enjoy some warmer weather as things start to turn for the worse in Pennsylvania and get to watch the fightin’ Ricky Rahnes in the process. Cincy and UCF in week 12 is shaping up to be the game of the year among G5 schools, and, again, let’s go enjoy some nice weather in November.
Finally, we reach the final two weeks of the season. Week 13 I head to Tuscaloosa to watch one of the greatest rivalries in sports in person and take in what should be an electric atmosphere. As for Army/Navy, does anything more need to be said than those two words?
Tim: So, I must admit that after making my selections, I had selected two different teams twice, so I had to go back and change things up. Now that we have that out of the way, I went against the grain with my Week 0 pick, because I want to see that spiffy new football stadium for the Las Vegas Raiders when UNLV hosts Cal. Husky Stadium seems like a lovely place to catch a game, and that’s an intriguing matchup to have Michigan come to Seattle to face U-Dub in the first full weekend of football. Texas-LSU the following week is a no-brainer. Any excuse to go to Boise to check out that blue turf in person is a good one, so that’s going to be my Week 3 trip when they play the return game against the Seminoles. Oklahoma-Army may not end up being the OT thriller we got a couple years ago in Norman, but it’s the perfect excuse to check out a game at West Point in what will be a real contrast in styles between OU’s plug-and-play spread offense and Army’s old-school triple option. Given how Clemson is constantly a part of the national title conversation, I needed to make sure I’d go see them once this year, so the Week 5 tilt with a feisty Virginia squad, it is.
Minnesota-Wisconsin has become a fiercer rivalry with PJ Fleck having turned the Gophers into a serious threat for the Badgers’ yearly Big Ten West supremacy, and Camp Randall seems like a fun place to catch a football game, so we’ll go with that for our Week 6 matchup. Boulder, Colorado is one of the most beautiful places in the U.S., and with no real intriguing matchups in Week 7, we’ll go with UCLA-Colorado. I feel like I would have to resign from BSD if I chose any game but Ohio State-Penn State in Week 8, but it could also be one of the games of the year, as this could be a tilt between a pair of Top 10 teams. The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party has seemed like an underrated mid-late season rivalry game, and with Florida and Georgia clearly the two best teams in the SEC East, this one is also a no-brainer for me.
Unfortunately, it won’t be filled to capacity this year because of COVID restrictions, but Oregon’s Autzen Stadium is still a place I’d love to catch a game, so why not the USC-Oregon game in Week 10 (in what could be a preview of the Pac-12 Championship Game)? Memphis-Navy provides another sharp contrast in styles similar to Oklahoma-Army, and being a Maryland resident, getting to Annapolis would be an easy road trip. As much as I dislike Notre Dame football, I do feel like as a college football enthusiast that I must check out a game in South Bend once before I die, so why not late November against a Scott Satterfield-coached Louisville squad? And for rivalry week, I’d have to get a glimpse of the Iron Bowl, so Auburn-Alabama, it is.
Eli: The combination of being able to only pick one _team_ instead of one stadium, not being able to look ahead, and not being able to change picks once I made them, led to an interesting selection of games. The choices became fewer and fewer as the weeks went by, and choosing to forego certain games because others hadn’t yet appeared on the schedule made for an interesting conundrum. For example, all of us picked Ohio State vs Penn State, which meant games like Penn State at Michigan, Ohio State at Oregon, and Iowa’s games against both Penn State and Ohio State were completely off the table before this exercise even started, otherwise we’d automatically forfeit the opportunity to see what could very well decide the Big Ten champion and College Football Playoff representative in person.
Overall, that was my strategy in picking games. If I knew two teams play at some point in the season, I refrained from picking them until I saw that game on the schedule. Some examples include Clemson/Notre Dame, Oklahoma/Texas, Georgia/Florida, and the aforementioned Ohio State/Penn State games. For games I didn’t have in mind from the start, I picked something that was compelling and still allowed. Wisconsin at Michigan is such an example, where I didn’t know it fell on that week, so I lucked out. Florida State at Syracuse, on the other hand, was an example where that was the most compelling game given the choice limitations.