Everybody loves a good trip, right? Everybody loves quality college football too, right? This season we are going to combine those two things into one epic road trip.
In this trip, we’ll hit every single Group of Five campus along the way. That’s right, every one of them. In doing so, we’ll also hit the biggest games that we can.
That may be a tall task, considering we will only travel to one game per conference each week, but we’re more than up for it. Since there are more weeks in a season than teams in each conference, there will be some bye weeks. Meaning we’ll visit 4-5 teams each week.
Now, with all that said, it’s time to get comfortable and enjoy the ride!
It’s tough to pass up The Return in Birmingham, but we’ll be there in a couple of weeks for UAB’s first FBS vs FBS home game.
In the meantime, Our first stop in the CUSA will be in beautiful Huntington, West Virginia to see the Marshall Thundering Herd host regional rival Miami (Ohio).
1905 was the first time these two teams met and this will be their 33rd meeting all-time. The series, which is led by Miami 30-12-1, was prevalent in the 60’s and 70’s when the RedHawks dominated with a 16-1 record.
Marshall, however, has won three in a row and eight of the last nine. While Miami is expected to contend for a division title in the MAC this year and Marshall will be trying to find its footing after a 3-9 season, expect a hard-fought game from start to finish.
There are only three MAC schools playing at home in week one, which makes this decision relatively easy. The first MAC campus we’ll be visiting this year is in Dekalb, Illinois, just 65 miles west of Chicago: Northern Illinois.
The Huskies are hosting Boston College in the return trip of a home-and-home. Boston College escaped in the first meeting two seasons ago 17-14. With both teams falling on hard times recently, we could be in store for a close matchup.
A win here will mean Northern Illinois will likely enter conference play with two wins, assuming the Huskies defeat Eastern Illinois. That will be imperative if they want to return to the postseason.
The Huskies must fight with the spirit of Dekalb’s namesake, American Revolution war hero Major General Baron Johann de Kalb. De Kalb helped colonial America defeat the Power Five British Army, giving the Huskies all the inspiration they need to bring down Boston College.
Stop number one in the Mountain West is by far the best Group of Five non-conference game of the week and possibly the year. We’ll be in Boise, Idaho to see the Broncos take on the Trojans of Troy.
When these two teams scheduled this series in 2013, Troy was coming off a 5-7 season and eight wins in the previous two years combined. Luckily for all of us, Troy ripped off a 10 win season just in time for the front end of the home-and-home to be played.
Fans at this game will be in for a treat with two of the G5’s top quarterbacks going head to head in Brett Rypien and Brandon Silvers. More than a few fireworks are set to go off on the Smurf Turf on Saturday.
Boise State has never lost to a Sun Belt opponent but has never played against one quite as touted as Troy is coming into 2017. Vegas is leaning in the direction of the G5 powerhouse home team by giving them an 11.5 point spread, making this a possibly favorable bet on Troy.
To the coast of South Carolina we go on our first Sun Belt stop to see the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers host Massachusetts in the Chanticleers’ first game as an FBS member.
The Minuteman have already played a game and it didn’t end as they would’ve hoped. UMASS saw their late lead slip away in the waning minutes against Hawaii and will come into Conway, South Carolina saddled with an 0-1 record.
Can UMASS, a team that may be straddling the FBS/FCS line, win a road game against a team that won 10 games as an FCS member last season? And just how does the talent of the Chanticleer roster compare to that of an FBS roster? If UMASS loses this game, is that a sign that maybe it should join Idaho in dropping to the FCS? The questions this game, and future games, will answer for these two teams are innumerable.
With this game, we’ve managed to knock out both colored fields in the same week. Coastal Carolina brings with it to the Sun Belt a teal field that should make Boise State jealous (it’s not nearly as obnoxious).