OPINION: Away games ideal for Bulls on parade
Over the course of a semester — especially the fall semester — everyone needs a break from their routine.
What better way to shake things up than a weekend trip, and what better excuse to take a weekend trip than a USF football road game?
This season, all away games but UCF fall on Saturdays, meaning you can leave Tampa early Friday morning and return sometime Sunday and, depending on your schedule, not miss any classes in the process.
There aren’t as many exciting trips on this year’s football schedule as there were last year — 2018 included trips to Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia — but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything worthy in 2019.
Here are USF’s away cities ranked by the best bang for your buck.
Sept. 7 @ Georgia Tech — Atlanta
This is by far the easiest weekend trip to make.
It’s a six-hour drive from USF or an hour flight from Tampa International Airport with public transit in Atlanta being more than sufficient to get you to Bobby Dodd Stadium from Hartsfield-Jackson Airport.
You know you want to go to World of Coca-Cola. It’s an hour or so to see the entire thing, and at the end, you can drink as much foreign soda as you want for as long as you want. I’m not giving any recommendations on which drinks are the best, though. Why spoil the surprise?
Sports-wise, the Braves are playing the Washington Nationals that weekend at SunTrust Park, so you can take in multiple games.
Oct. 19 @ Navy — Annapolis, Md.
This may be the most expensive trip on the schedule, and perhaps the most complex in getting from the airport to the stadium, but it’s hard to argue against this trip being worth it.
You’ll have to fly into one of the Washington airports — either Baltimore-Washington, Dulles or Reagan-National — and then find a way to get to Annapolis, which is about an hour drive from any of the airports.
But once you’re there, you’ll have an opportunity to see the U.S. Naval Academy, which is an experience most people don’t get. From the Main Chapel to the Trighton Light, the campus is a beautiful testament to the United States Navy.
You could also spend the day before the game sightseeing in D.C. itself.
Either way, there’s plenty to do on this trip that more than makes up for its cost and complexity.
Oct. 26 @ ECU — Greenville, N.C.
Flights to Raleigh-Durham from Tampa as of Wednesday were under $200 round trip, which is definitely a perk of going to this game. However, once you land in Raleigh, you’re about 90 minutes away from ECU.
Unlike the Navy trip, however, you aren’t going through an urban area for 90 minutes to get where you’re going. If you rideshare, it’s basically like taking an Uber or Lyft from Tampa to Orlando or vice versa.
Greenville does have its own airport, but flights are limited and it’s way more expensive to fly into it than RDU. But it does exist, however impractical it may be.
Driving straight from USF — nine hours each way — may be the best method if you choose to go to this game, but that’s a lot of driving in a short span of time.
The weather in North Carolina that time of year is typically very pleasant though.
Oct. 5 @ UConn — East Hartford, Conn.
Unless you have family in the area you want to see or stay with, there’s little reason to do this trip.
Flights are reasonable in price and Rentschler Field is not far from the airport, which is more than can be said about traveling to the Navy or ECU games.
But what are you going to do in Hartford? The most exciting thing nearby is ESPN, 30 minutes away in Bristol. But the Worldwide Leader doesn’t do tours, so it may as well not be there.
If you really want to see USF play an away game against UConn, save it for another sport. At least then you’ll get to see a team from UConn that hasn’t embarrassed the AAC for the last six years.
Not mentioned: Nov. 29 — @ UCF — Orlando
Do we need to discuss the various transportation methods for this trip? Shall we evaluate how far Orlando International Airport is from UCF’s campus?
None of that seems necessary here. Just get in your car or find a ride with a friend and drive up I-4 until you hit SR 417. (That’s actual advice. Do not take SR 408 from I-4 to UCF.)
With any luck, you’ll be there in slightly less than the nine hours it’d take to drive to ECU.