NEXT SEASON’S TRAVEL SCHEDULE

Yesterday’s breaking news of Notre Dame and Army in Yankee Stadium brought more than a few readers to RTGD for the first time. To those I say, “Welcome to the party. You’re about 10 months late, but we’re still glad you came.”

Bourbon MeyerThe Swamp was a good place to start…

Last season’s 22,000 mile cross-country jaunt included some of the most highly anticipated games of the season. And starting in Gainesville and ending at the Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, we saw a different high-profile matchup every week… even if it did cost us an arm and a leg to get into the stadium.

As we look forward to next season, RTGD friend and ESPN senior writer Bruce Feldman took a look at his top ten “must-see” games of 2009. While it’s still too early to solidify our schedule (and we’re still trying to button down the business side of all of this), here are a few games that are in contention for RTGD ‘09:

WEEK ONE: Oregon at Boise State

I’m not going to make the argument that this is better theater than the Virginia Tech-Alabama game, but one of last year’s regrets was not getting to a place like Boise State. And when you play a schedule like they do, this might be the only time to do it. I’m really high on Chip Kelly and what he could do with the Ducks, and Chris Peterson seems to have solidified his spot as “Most Poachable Coach” after building on Dan Hawkins’ success in Boise.  (Runner-up: Georgia at Oklahoma State)

WEEK TWO: USC at Ohio State

osuuscUSC, and their law enforcement, put the smackdown on the Buckeyes…

We had a great time last year in Columbus, which really snuck up on me as a top-notch college town. If USC walks into the ‘Shoe and beats down the Buckeyes with a rookie quarterback playing his first away game, it might do permanent damage to Jim Tressel’s legacy. That said, I’m interested to see if Terrelle Pryor makes “the leap.” (Runner-up: ND at Michigan)

WEEK THREE: Tennessee at Florida

I’m willing to admit that I want to watch this game just like I always slow down and watch when the police are arresting some guy on the side of the road. I don’t necessarily think this will be all that good of a game, but I expect to see some early fight from the Vols, and some extra fist-rockets by Timmy Tebow, as he runs for about 150 yards and 10 first downs.

WEEK FOUR: Iowa at Penn State

I’m stretching here because after scanning the schedule, I can’t find a big game at first glance. But another huge miss last year was not getting to Happy Valley, and this fills the quota and gives up a night game. (Runner-up: Miami at Virginia Tech)

WEEK FIVE: Wisconsin at Minnesota

Don’t laugh! It’s birthday weekend, and being home and checking out the new TCF Stadium sounds mighty appealing, especially since its another light week at first glance. If I had my druthers, we’d be able to reschedule one of Week Six’s premiere matchups to this weekend, and we could just stay in the South for two weeks straight.

WEEK SIX: Alabama at Ole Miss OR Florida at LSU

We missed both The Grove and LSU last year, when both those places were big reasons why we decided to make the trip. I’ve heard that Ole Miss is the tip of the sphere for beautiful southern belles and people who are in the position to make these statements say that LSU is the best game day experience in college football. This is going to be a tough choice.

WEEK SEVEN: USC at Notre Dame

I’m officially drinking the Kool-Aid this season with Notre Dame football, and the last time I watched a football game at Notre Dame stadium, NCAA violators Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart and Dwayne Jarrett were ripping my heart out as our money-line parlay was less than 30 seconds away from paying my rent for a few months. I expect USC fans to invade Chicago… and maybe even make the drive to South Bend to watch the game!

WEEK EIGHT: Bye Week

We needed one last year and this is where I’m tentatively building one into the RTGD schedule… (That and this is getting incredibly time-consuming.)

WEEK NINE: Georgia vs. Florida

halloweenTough Halloween to compete with…

The Cocktail Party on Halloween? Put it on the board, Lock it up, championship. I’ve got a feeling all the liquor rules that are being bantered about for this football game are being discussed now because most people haven’t even considered that Halloween will make this an even crazier atmosphere. Halloween Prop Bets: # of Tim Tebows: 13,000. # of UGA fans dressed as criminal Gators: 7,000.

WEEK TEN: Ohio State at Penn State

So I suppose we can skip the Iowa game if needs be, but this one could be the end of the gauntlet for both these teams. I expect this to be one of the most expensive tickets of the season if both teams have one loss or less… (Runner-up: Oklahoma at Nebraska — which might be the eventual winner)

WEEK ELEVEN: Meh…

I’m sure one of the games this week will be a good one, but my crystal ball is a little fuzzy right now.

WEEK TWELVE: Ohio State at Michigan

We haven’t made it to the Big House, and many fans are hoping that Rich Rodriguez pulls his second year magic, but it’s worth noting that right now Nevada has a better preseason ranking than Michigan does. Be weary, Notre Dame fans! (Runner-up: North Carolina at Boston College?)

WEEK THIRTEEN: Oklahoma State at Oklahoma

workforfoodThings got pretty desperate, so Phil started panhandling.

This should be pure Bedlam, which is a good word choice, since – you know – that’s like the slogan for the rivalry. I think the over for this one might be set in triple digits. While nobody would mistake Norman for being a metropolis, it was a great time and we made some very good friends sitting in the row next to us.

Did we miss anything? I’m sure I did, so feel free to shred me in the comments if it makes you feel better.

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