Which college teams in Texas traveled the most in 2012?
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Every college football team deals with travel issues. And with the ever-changing (often bizarrely) conference alignments, it's only becoming more and more of a factor in how teams play -- and how good teams separate themselves from the not-so-good ones.
Back in the days of the Southwest Conference, if I may reminisce for a moment, the longest conference road trip possible would be Texas Tech vs. Arkansas, as Lubbock and Fayetteville are 469 miles apart.
Without giving away too much of the data to follow, consider this: the 12 FBS teams combined to make 34 trips of 500 or more miles in 2012. The days of playing your neighbors, for better or worse, are coming to an end.
I was interested in looking into which teams traveled the most in Texas in 2012, so I went through each of the teams' non-home games -- including neutral site games -- and calculated the distance between the schools' home cities and their road rivals' venue. The result:
Texas teams were most certainly on the move in 2012, as the 12 FBS teams combined to travel more than 80,000 miles round-trip to away games. That's a lot of frequent flier miles.
So, who traveled the most in 2012? Here are some of the things I found.
Three Longest Road Trips
3) Texas State at San Jose State, October 27
After starting off their road slate with a bang, toppling Houston in upset fashion, things slowed down for the Bobcats, losing the rest of their road games. That included a 31-20 loss to then-No. 21 San Jose State in San Jose, a cool 1,468 miles away from San Marcos' friendly confines.
2) UTSA at Idaho, November 17
The WAC sure had a wacky alignment in 2012, and that meant some long road trips. Case in point: the Roadrunners' trip up to Moscow, Idaho to take on the Vandals, meaning a trip of 1,556 miles each way. But all's well that ends well, as UTSA came away with a 34-27 win.
1) UTEP at East Carolina, September 29
This won't be the last time we mention the Miners, but they take the prize for the longest road trip of the year: a whopping 1,690 miles each way between El Paso and Greenville, NC for a battle with East Carolina. And it wasn't a pleasant trip, as UTEP came up short, 28-18.
Shortest Road Trip (Non-neutral site)
TCU at SMU, September 29
On the same day that UTEP was literally traveling across the country, TCU had to go a mere 30 miles down I-30 to take on rival SMU, making it the easiest road trip of the year (and made even better for the Frogs with a 24-16 win). And remember: this doesn't count neutral site games, because otherwise, Rice and Houston's tussle at Reliant Stadium would take the prize.
Homebodies (Traveled the least distance)
The Frogs traveled just 2,041 miles to get to their six road games this season (or, 4,082 miles round trip), by far the least distance of any Texas FBS school. What's amazing is that this includes a 1,078-mile trip to Morgantown, WV for the thrilling victory over West Virginia. But alas, the other five games were so close to Fort Worth -- Lawrence, KS (447 miles), Dallas (30 miles), Waco (81 miles), Stillwater, OK (234 miles) and Austin (171 miles) -- that TCU stayed the closest to home.
Road Warriors (Traveled the farthest)
It's not easy being in El Paso, way out in the farthest of West Texas, because you have to travel a long way everywhere. The Miners traveled a whopping 6,267 miles to get to their six road games in 2012 -- logging more than 12,500 miles round trip. Besides the aforementioned long-haul to East Carolina, that includes a 1,217-mile trip to play at Wisconsin, a 1,013-mile trip to Hattiesburg, MS to play Southern Miss, and a 998-mile trip to Oxford, MS to play Ole Miss. The Miners' six road trips averaged over 1,000 miles each.
Below is the travel data for all 12 FBS teams in Texas, and remember: this represents only the distance to the destination, not round-trip.
|TEAM||TOTAL MILEAGE||AVERAGE MILEAGE|
Greg Tepper is the associate editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.