“There are two things every man in America thinks he can do: work a grill and coach football.” -Greg Schiano
What makes football exciting? If you’ve got a team in the game, that’s a no brainer. Many fans, though, don’t care who’s playing as long as the game is exciting. Most of us would prefer a seat in the stands over a comfortable couch and a big screen, but how do you guarantee a shout-til-you’re-hoarse kind of game?
That’s an easy one.
When it comes to fun matchups, nothing beats a college bowl game. These games feature kids with lots of energy, lots of potential and the knowledge that this may be their last chance to try every crazy play they can think of. This is how football was meant to be–nearly professional but always surprising.
The Cross-Country Bowl Game Road Trip
This year, take your college bowl fever one step further. Why not take a cross-country road trip to the four most exciting college football bowl games this holiday season? Here’s what you will need: one Hertz rental car, extra roomy; two couples with football fever; four bowl games in three states; unlimited route planning with our Hertz NeverLost Companion mobile applications on your phones.
Now comes the hard part. ESPN is broadcasting 39 bowl games over three weeks. How do you know which will be the four most exciting games within driving distance of each other? Simple. All it takes is some serious number crunching.
This is a job for the keepers of the world’s most bizarre stats: Football Outsiders. One of their amazing tables of stats contains rankings of the college offensive lines for “Adjusted Pace,” which is a measure of how often they go off the rails with surprising plays. Then compare those tables with another collection of odd stats about college defensive lines. It’s called the “Havoc Rate,” combining totals of things like tackles for loss and forced fumbles. When “surprise” meets “havoc,” that sounds like the kind of game worth road-tripping for.
Most Exciting Matches for Surprise and Havoc
Punching in the numbers for the top teams at surprise and havoc, then adjusting for maximum miles per day between games, gives you:
BYU vs. Memphis at the Miami Beach Bowl on Dec. 22.
NC State vs. UCF at the St. Petersburg Bowl on December 26.
Ole Miss vs. TCU at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta on Dec. 31.
Michigan State (ranked 8th) vs. Baylor (ranked 5th) at the Cotton Bowl near Dallas on Jan. 1
That last turnaround may be a little tight but it is totally doable with plenty of sleep and four solid drivers. It’s just 960 miles straight west on US 20 all the way from Atlanta, GA, to Arlington, TX. Make sure you punch in AT&T Stadium in Arlington into your Hertz Neverlost, not the Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas, or you’ll be sitting in a lonely parking lot during the big game.
As an extra bonus, you can take a couple more weeks off work to hang out in Dallas. That way you can catch the Championship Game in the same stadium on Jan. 11.
There you have it. Our fantasy college bowl road trip, traveling to the four most exciting football games in the nation this year.
Now, who’s ready to form a caravan?
Check out our Bowl Tour Sign up contest to win a $25 Amazon gift card.