Who could forget USC-Alabama of the 1970s or Notre Dame-Miami of the 1980s?
Instead, the 12th game merely exacerbated a disturbing trend of big-time teams scheduling home victories against lesser opponents. Nowhere is this more the case than in the Southeastern Conference, whose teams have traveled the fewest number of miles in the past 10 years. Check out the above chart.
Today, in the first of three parts, we are going to provide you a look at who travels and who doesn't.
This is made possible by Richard of Map Game Day. All of this data is available through a new section on his site titled the Travel Map. The site contains road game data for regular season games from the 1998 through the 2007 seasons. Bowl games and games at neutral sites are not included and the mileages are direct distances calculated from the home team stadium to the away team stadium.
This is one incredible piece of work. You'll be able to access any conference or team from drop-down menus on the left-hand side of any page and an info box will give you percentages as to how a conference or team have fared in road games.
On the right-hand side of any page, you'll be able to access all the scores by season. And if you click the dots on a Google Map, it will provide you with how the conference or team fared at that venue. The data reflects current conference alignments.
Here are some of our findings:
- Georgia has traveled a total of 358 miles for nonconference road games since 1998. By comparison, Hawaii has traveled 72,918 miles.
- Teams from the Southeastern Conference hold down seven of the top eight spots for teams having traveled the fewest miles. This includes Florida, which last played a nonconference road game outside of the Sunshine State on Sept. 21, 1991, at Syracuse (a 38-21 Gator loss).
- The Western Athletic Conference is the most traveled conference, having covered 327,521 miles. The SEC is last at 42,141.
Update: Just to remind everybody, all of this data reflects current conference alignments. An anonymous poster to the site has made a great point, one that is likely to bring Hawaii's distance down dramatically. Richard is going to rerun the data Thursday night and the Wiz is going to repost any corrections on Saturday. Here is the post that I am referring to:
"This is actually pretty misleading. It only takes into account the teams that are currently in their respective conferences and not the conference alignments from 1998-2005. If you look closely at Hawaii, they have only played 6 non-conference road games over that span (BYU '02, USC '03, UNLV '03, Mich. St. '05, Bama '06 and UNLV '07), so they should be much farther down the list. All those games against Tulsa, SMU, Rice, etc., were conference games in the years they were played. Good idea to do a list like this, but what he's done is inaccurate as far as conference/non-conference travel."
With the recalculated figures, WAC, Conference USA, ACC and Big East numbers will change slightly. Hawaii will feel the biggest impact. In the interest of fairness and doing what we believe is the right thing, this is the only way to go to protect the purity of the information.