Back by popular demand, it's the 2004 version of the Ultimate SEC Road Trip.
We're once again hitting up every stadium in the Southeastern Conference (and one neutral site) and we're going to at least one game every week...sometimes two.
And yes, you have to go to Vanderbilt, Kentucky and Mississippi State. Sorry, part of the deal. But you also get to visit The Swamp (one of the best atmospheres) and The Grove (best tailgating and hottest women in the SEC). Here we go:
Sat., Sept. 4: South Carolina at Vanderbilt. Yeah, let's get it out of the way. And quite honestly, the game might be pretty good, too. A win here by an improved Vandy team could be the catalyst it needs to *gasp* have a winning record. Nashville isn't that far; you should be back in time for Boomsday and the Vols' season opener the next night.
Sat., Sept. 11: Auburn at Miss. State. This is another "get it out of the way" trip. MSU is (a) a cow college that is (b) miles from civilization and (c) includes the directions, "turn off the paved road." Also, Ole Miss plays at Alabama that night, and Tuscaloosa is only 82 miles down the road; might make it a two-for-one.
Sat., Sept. 18: Florida at Tennessee. You didn't think I would make you miss this one, did you? Note to freshmen: this game might be the loudest thing you have ever heard.
Sat., Sept. 25: Miss. State at LSU. You might want to leave a few days early for this one...and don't expect to be back until at least Tuesday. Even at that, you probably won't be sober until our next trip...
Sat., Oct. 2: LSU at Georgia. ...at which time you will be completely trashed again. Sorry to make everyone visit the cesspool that is Athens, Ga., but it's part of the deal. At least you can hang out with your new drunken friends from Baton Rouge and throw beer cans at the red-polo-shirt-wearing Frattiest of the Frat that will be down on all fours barking at you.
Sat., Oct. 9: LSU at Florida.Wonder if Ron Zook will make the Tigers wear the purple jerseys like Darth Visor did? Oh, and if your car has Tennessee or Louisiana tags, do not I repeat, DO NOT - drive down frat row in Gainesville after this game. You just might not make it back.
Sat., Oct. 16: Arkansas at Auburn. Tennessee-Ole Miss is a better choice, but we've got to fit in a trip to the Plains somewhere. Just get ready to hear a whole lot of people saying "War Eagle" over and over.
Sat., Oct. 23: Alabama at Tennessee. The Third (actually fourth) Saturday in October. Alabama fans just need to accept the fact that (a) Tennessee now owns this series and (b) Bear Bryant is DEAD. Get over it.
Sat., Oct. 30: Florida vs. Georgia (at Jacksonville). The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. Lots and lots of hot girls. Two schools that really hate each other. A potential division title on the line. Doesn't get much better than this one, folks.
Sat., Nov. 6: Arkansas at South Carolina. USC has some of the best fans in the conference for no more than the 'Cocks have won. But the supposed "greatest entrance in college football"? Not so much. There's also Coach Lou's weekly "We Don't Have A Chance In This Game" speech.
Sat., Nov. 13: Vanderbilt at Kentucky. The thought makes me cringe. But we've got to visit the Commonwealth; might as well make it a game the 'Cats might actually win. Prediction: more people will pay to see the Wildcats' basketball exhibition against Kentucky Wesleyan than will attend this game.
Sat., Nov. 20: The Iron Bowl: Auburn at Alabama. Believe it or not, an Auburn fan at this one might be treated better than a Tennessee fan. Leave the bright orange at home. And if you go to eat at Dreamland (which you should) and make a statement like "Phillip Fulmer is the world's greatest coach" (which you shouldn't), well, ever seen "My Cousin Vinny"?
Fri., Nov. 26: LSU at Arkansas: Gorge yourself on some leftover turkey and then head out for Fay...oh, this one is in Little Rock. The whole two-home-stadiums thing. Could be advantageous for the Hogs - they don't lose very often at their alternate home.
Sat., Nov. 27: The Egg Bowl: Miss. State at Ole Miss. After you recover from the world's most boring drive - Little Rock to Memphis - head on down to The Grove for the best tailgating anywhere. And dress for the occasion: ties for the guys and dresses for the girls. This game used to be Thanksgiving night; it probably still should be.
So there you have it, a 13-week odyssey through the greatest conference in college football. If you actually make it to all of these games, reward yourself with a trip to the SEC Championship on Dec. 4. You've earned it.
- Wes Todd is the sports copy editor of The Daily Beacon and a senior in journalism. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nine states, 13 stadiums, one goal
Published: Wed Sep 01, 2004 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 06:19 p.m.