Monday, December 10, 2007

Bowl Season '07, Racking Up The Frequent Flyer Miles

The pairings have been announced. We know where each of the 64 teams invited to the postseason will be heading. But how far do they have to travel? And which teams get to stay close to home, while others get to accumulate mass amounts of frequent flyer miles? Let's check out the stats, and see what we come up with.

Crank Up The Distance Calculator Here
First, the mileage listed is an estimation from Google maps. Second, I put this list together mostly for fun, but also as a rough idea of how far each team's fanbase has to travel. While all teams have fans spread throughout the country, the highest concentration is probably on the campus of each respective school. You can view/cut & paste all of the mileage info here.

It's Like Playing In Their Backyard!
For two bowl teams, walking to the stadium might be the fastest way to get there. Both New Mexico and Houston are playing in their respective home cities, and New Mexico actually gets to play in their home stadium.

I Just Flew In For My Bowl Game, And Boy Are My Arms Tired
The winner for the farthest distance traveled is East Carolina. They're going to rack up an impressive 4,861 miles one-way on their journey to Honolulu. Of course, Hawaii came in a close second with 4,204 miles one-way as they head to the Sugar Bowl. Nothing like the distant third place that Colt Brennan secured in the Heisman voting against "system quarterback" Tim Tebow(zing!).

We'll Give You A Head Start And Probably Still Beat You There
Which bowl games have the biggest differential in terms of miles traveled between the two teams? We already talked about how far East Carolina and Hawaii have to travel. Overall, Hawaii leads the way with a 3,663 mile differential between them and their opponent, Georgia(541 miles to the Sugar Bowl). And while East Carolina does have to travel a long way, there's a 2,026 mile differential between them and Boise State's itinerary(2,835 miles to Honolulu), it's actually Maryland that holds down the #2 spot. The difference in mileage to the Emerald Bowl between them and Oregon State is 2,242 miles. Illinois(2,001 miles) heading to the Rose Bowl to face USC(10 miles), 1,991 mile differential, and Navy(2,710 miles) shipping out to the Poinsettia Bowl against Utah(751 miles), a 1,959 mile differential, occupy the fourth and fifth spots respectively.

Need A Ride? We'll Swing By And Pick You Up
And what about the bowls with the lowest mileage differential? In first place, is the International Bowl featuring Ball State(511 miles) and Rutgers(499 miles), and its mere 12 miles of travel differential. The Chick-fil-A Bowl is a close second at 16 miles, and features Clemson(124 miles traveled) and Auburn(108 miles). Third place goes to the Champs Sports Bowl(64 miles) and its two teams, Boston College(1,290 miles) and Michigan State(1,226 miles). Fourth place is held by the Sun Bowl(69 miles), which features South Florida(1,724 miles) and Oregon(1,655 miles). And fifth place goes to the Las Vegas Bowl(108 miles), which showcases BYU(378 miles) and UCLA(270 miles).

What About The Big Boys?
We already know that the Sugar Bowl has the highest travel differential between its two teams, Hawaii and Georgia. The Rose Bowl comes in second. In third, it's the Fiesta Bowl(1,099 miles), which features West Virgina(2,135 miles) and Oklahoma(1,036 miles). Fourth place goes to the BCS Title Game(829 miles), and its match-up of LSU(80 miles) and Ohio State(909 miles). Fifth place is held by the Orange Bowl(600 miles), which pits Kansas(1,489 miles) against Virginia Tech(889 miles).

Miscellaneous Trivia And Observations
Outside of New Mexico and Houston, there are a few teams that don't have to travel very far for their bowl game. Wake Forest only has to make a roughly 80 mile trip. Auburn isn't too far off with an estimated trip of just a bit over 100 miles. Florida is just a little higher with a trip of around 115 miles. USC basically walks down the street with an estimated journey of about 10 miles. And LSU gets what could be considered a homegame when they travel just 80 miles or so to play in the biggest game of the year for the BCS title.

Two bowl games feature four teams named for the cities in which they reside. They are the Chick-fil-A Bowl, which features Clemson(Clemson, SC) and Auburn(Auburn, AL), and the GMAC Bowl, which hosts Tulsa(Tulsa, OK) and Bowling Green(Bowling Green, OH).

So, that does it for the first round of bowl breakdowns here at The Sports Oasis. We're just 10 days away from the first game, the Poinsettia Bowl, so make sure you check back for more in-depth coverage as we get a little closer.

Thanks to Carl for the graphic.

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