Road Trip - 2008

ATHENS - Quentin Grant takes you to the games he would be going to each week this fall.

It's never too early to look forward to another football season – the monster that is NCAA college football will be upon us sooner than you think.

Here's the scenario: You get one game each week of the season that you can attend. You have a choice of any game in the country. Travel and money are not an issue – this is Dawg Post, after all, where the money flows; all you have to do is make a decision and go.

I have broken down the schedule for each week of the season and these are my choices of the games I would attend and why.

Week 1 – August 30, 2008
Clemson vs. Alabama at the Georgia Dome

Well there aren't a lot of choices in the first couple of weeks with mismatches galore, so these are pretty easy selections. The only other possible choices on this weekend are Southern Cal/Virginia and Washington/Oregon, but sorry I'm not a west coast guy. These are the best two teams matching up from two separate BCS conferences. Clemson will most likely be ranked preseason top fifteen and Alabama will probably be looking at a possible top twenty five ranking to start the season. The dome will be split down the middle and neutral site games are always interesting, especially when you combine these two rabid fan bases. Make no mistake: this is also a battle for the right to recruit the Atlanta area, which is about the only place in the state of Georgia the Dawgs don't own when it comes to recruiting. This game will get a great deal of national attention that it otherwise wouldn't because of how early it is being played.

Week 2 – September 6, 2008
Miami Hurricanes vs. Florida Gators at The Swamp

The Canes have been down, and the Gators are the national title contenders now, but this should be an interesting early season match up of in-state schools.

The last time these two teams met in a regular season game was in 2003, and the last Florida win was in 1985. There will be plenty to talk about as Miami tries to rebuild and show the national muscle they once had.

The Gators on the other hand will probably boast a top five ranking and another very talented team looking to put a notch on their belt.

Miami will walk into one of the most hostile atmospheres in all of college football. The Swamp will not be friendly to the visitors from down south and neither will Urban Meyer's Gators. Expect Miami to ride out of Gainesville with some humility and a loss on their record.

Week 3 – September 13, 2008
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. USC Trojans at The L.A. Coliseum

This is the first weekend of the season that has several great match-ups to choose from, and I had to do some real thinking to decide which game I would attend. Arkansas at Texas, Michigan at Notre Dame, and Oklahoma at Washington are just a few of the other quality games to choose from, but Ohio State/USC wins out with relative ease.

Not only will this game give us two top ten teams, but it will also give us one of the games of the year. One of these two heavyweights have made BCS title game appearances in the last five years, and there's no reason to think otherwise in 2008.

This game's atmosphere will almost certainly live up to the hype it will receive in the media. So book your plane ticket for this one, and get ready for a trip to sunny California.

Week 4 – September 20, 2008
LSU Tigers vs. Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium

Georgia at Arizona State and Miami at Texas A&M are other quality games of the weekend, but the battle of Tigers will take center stage on this weekend.

This is always a vital SEC match up, and usually the game lives up to its billing. The SEC West will be wide open this year, but this game will not only be the top game of the week in the South but also nationally.

No matter where this game is played the crowd will be raucous and ruthless, and this year the Auburn faithful will be no different. The tailgating, the fans, and the tradition alone make this game my choice in week four.

Week 5 – September 27, 2008
Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium

There isn't a lot to choose from on this weekend, so I'm going with the best game in the best conference which is Alabama/Georgia. If Nick Saban can bring the Tide into week five without a loss and Mark Richt's Dawgs are also undefeated, then you could get something magical.

Just last year these two teams had an epic overtime battle with Georgia's Mikey Henderson catching a game winner from Matthew Stafford. You can expect the same type of physical down to the wire game this time around. There is no better setting for college football than between the hedges in Athens, Georgia.

Week 6 – October 4, 2008
Florida State Seminoles vs. Miami Hurricanes at Dolphin Stadium

This game provides the first real hate-filled rivalry of the season. These teams have played classics over the years, and even though both of them aren't as highly touted as they once were I would love to see this one.

The Hurricanes will no longer play in the hallowed grounds of the Orange Bowl which is hopefully under demolition, and instead move to Dolphin Stadium.

Florida State will most likely be favored in this critical ACC contest, but history is the draw to this one. This is the story of two programs who have played in some of the most historical college football games ever played, and I would like to say I had the experience of being there live to see one. Who knows maybe it will come down to a field goal?

Week 7 – October 11, 2008
The Red River Shootout: Oklahoma Sooners vs. Texas Longhorns at the Cotton Bowl

This is a monster weekend of games with Tennessee/Georgia and LSU/Florida, but the Red River Shootout is one of the games I have always wanted to see.

LSU/Florida will probably be a bigger game this week, but give me the Cotton Bowl and one of the best rivalries out there. This is always the Big Twelve game of the year and the winner will have the inside track to the championship game.

Like I said before I love the neutral site game and the split crowd when both team's fans have equal say. There is something special and different about it, and I would love to be a part of this one. This is one I want to see before I die.

Week 8 – October 18, 2008
Grab Bag Weekend: You Pick

I have no clue as to where to go on this weekend. It is by far the worst weekend of the year for good games, so I'm going to let this be a pick'em. There will be a poll later on in the summer, and you will be allowed to vote on where I should go.

To be honest, I would probably be better off staying home this weekend. The best games available are LSU/South Carolina, Michigan/Penn State, Missouri/ Texas, and Georgia Tech/Clemson. Like I said, wouldn't you rather just stay home?

Week 9 – October 25, 2008
Georgia Bulldogs vs. LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium

I have never been to Baton Rouge, and it is another trip that I want to make in my lifetime, and what better weekend to go than when Georgia comes to town.

This is the first time in several years Georgia will be able to say they are more talented than the Tigers, but don't underestimate Les Miles and his crew. LSU will more than likely have their quarterback controversy settled by this time and there is no better atmosphere than the Cajuns in Death Valley.

I just hope this will be a night game because the locals will have all day to prepare themselves, if I go I want the full effect. Two great teams, a wild crowd, a live Tiger on the sideline—that's all I need to know when it comes to this one.

This will be another solid weekend with several other quality games: Virginia Tech/Florida State, Alabama/Tennessee, Auburn/West Virginia, and Penn State/Ohio State would all be worth the price of admission.

Week 10 – November 1, 2008
Florida Gators vs. Georgia Bulldogs at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium (Gator Bowl)

As far as I'm concerned there is no other game on this weekend. I could write this article for the rest of my life, and every year you could pencil this game in this spot.

I've only had the opportunity to attend this game once, but I've always said it was the most unique sporting experience I ever had. Georgia has struggled over the last fifteen years in Jacksonville, but something tells me with last year's outcome that the tide of this series may be about to swing in the Dawgs' favor.

There's nothing negative about this game unless you end up on the losing side. Warm weather in November and one of the most classic rivalries in the history of college football provide you with all the positives you need. Shhhh, we aren't allowed to mention the great pre-game activities that take place outside the stadium.

Week 11 – November 8, 2008
Oklahoma Sooners vs. Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field

We will travel out of the SEC for this week's trip to Aggie Land. There is no better home field advantage than the crowd Texas A&M puts on display in College Station.

This is another venue that I have never been to and one of the atmospheres I want to be a part of. I have seen Texas A&M fans at away games conducting cheer practice with several thousand fans and can only imagine what a home game would be like.

Throw in the visiting Oklahoma Sooners, and you have a trip worth taking. The Big Twelve knows how to play football, too, and I have a feeling you wouldn't be disappointed by the game you see on this Saturday.

Week 12 – November 15, 2008
Georgia Bulldogs vs. Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium

You may be wondering why I would want to see two teams that I have already seen and go to a place I have already been earlier in the year. Well that's easy: the SEC is the best conference with the best teams year in and year out.

Georgia and Auburn have one of the longest running rivalries with over 100 contests between them. Don't forget the fact that every year these two play some of the craziest games with the wildest endings you will ever see. You are guaranteed nothing but great teams and quality tradition when you travel to see this one.

Week 13 – November 22, 2008
Michigan Wolverines vs. Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium

This is another great rivalry that every fan should see, and I don't care if they are Big Ten teams or not. Michigan/Ohio State is a game that fans around the country tune in to see each year, and it would be a privilege to witness this one live.

I would rather watch this one in the Big House, but the Horseshoe will do just fine. Not to mention this game often decides the Big Ten champion and a BCS bowl game to boot.

Week 14 – November 29, 2008
Auburn Tigers vs. Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium

I've called it the greatest rivalry in sports, and my thoughts on the whole thing haven't changed. I've never been an Alabama or Auburn fan, but if I had to choose one game to go out of all the games in one year it would be this one.

Tradition doesn't do this one justice, and the word rivalry can be defined by simply saying Auburn/Alabama. The hate that runs through the state over this game is the stuff of legends, and legends are exactly what have played and coached in this one.

The famous names are too many to list when discussing this great match up. I have never had the pleasure of attending this one, but it is at the top of my list of games to make. I only have to recall the electricity that surrounds the game year in and year out. I've got goose bumps thinking about it. By the way, does anyone have a ticket?

Week 15 – December 6, 2008
USC Trojans vs. UCLA Bruins at The Rose Bowl

You were probably thinking that I would choose the SEC championship for this week's stop but the pull of USC/UCLA is too strong this year. Another trip out west wouldn't be all that bad since I have spent most of my time in the South on our journey.

This is just another one of those classic rivalries that make college football special, and I think that if you have a chance to see it once and didn't you would be missing out. Don't worry, next year it will be the SEC Championship – I have totally lost my mind.

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