College Football 2018: Here’s How Many Miles 40 Top Teams Will Have To Travel |

Not that you needed another example of “not all programs are created equal”, because you already knew that. This article, however, will give you an idea of what some programs are up against when it comes to travel. Just another of the many concerns for your friendly neighborhood Director of Operations.

The Auburn Tigers and Notre Dame Fighting Irish are just one spot apart in the preseason USA Today Coaches Poll, but their 2018 football schedules couldn’t be more different in terms of travel.

The 10th-ranked Tigers’ average road trip is 197 miles, or roughly the distance between Buffalo and Cleveland. The 11th-ranked Irish, meanwhile, embark on a six game road schedule that includes jaunts that average the distance between Omaha and New Orleans.

Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick’s decision to move a Nov. 17 game against the Syracuse Orange from Notre Dame Stadium to Yankee Stadium (1,412 roundtrip miles away by road) added to an already travel-intensive schedule that includes expeditions to San Diego (4,305 miles roundtrip), Los Angeles (4,211), Winston-Salem (1,271 miles) and Blacksburg (1,124).

And while no top 25 team will cross as many time zones as Notre Dame this year, the 22nd-ranked Boise State Broncos and 8th-ranked Miami-Florida Hurricanes will log the most miles among the group of contenders.

The Broncos will log about a third of their season’s miles traveling to Alabama for their Sept. 1 opener against the Troy Trojans.

The Hurricanes have four trips that are relatively similar, including trips to Chesnut Hill, Mass. (2,940 miles) to play conference foe Boston College Eagles; to Arlington, Texas (2,666 miles) to open the season against the LSU Tigers; to Ohio to play the Toledo Rockets (2,630); and to Charlottesville to play fellow ACC Coastal member, the Virginia Cavaliers. All except the Texas trip, however, are in Miami’s time zone.


“Air travel across multiple time zones desychronizes the well-orchestrated endogenous rhythms by acutely offsetting the internal rhythms (i.e., sleep-wake cycle) with external cues (i.e., light-dark cycle),” wrote scientists in the 1993 report. “Decreased athletic performance has been documented under these conditions.”

Both studies suggested athletes who were playing games closer to their typical practice times held the advantage over those playing when their body clocks were “closer to the human performance nadir (late night).”

While we don’t know the exact circadian rhythms of any athlete, researchers generally know that may take three or more days for their bodies to adjust to traveling across three or more time zones.

The teams most likely to experience this extreme body disruption in 2018 are the Hawaii Warriors and the Navy Midshipmen.

Nick Rolovich’s team travels far east for a Sept. 15 game against the Army Black Knights in West Point, N.Y. that kicks off a 6 a.m. Hawaiian Standard Time (HST). The Middies, meanwhile, will cross six time zones (9,706 roundtrip miles) to play the Warriors in Oahu at a game that kicks at 11 p.m. Annapolis time.

The Warriors play the remainder of their road games against opponents situated in the Pacific time zone, except the BYU Cougars. That kickoff time is yet to be announced.

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