photo and story by Patrick Runge
Many Nebraska football fans are suffering through winter’s dying throes, either digging out from snowfall or enduring sub-zero windchills. So it’s a good time to look at the upcoming 2015 schedule and start dreaming of trips to take this football season.
Nebraska has five road games in 2015. Here are the power rankings for those five road trips, not based on the game itself, but on how good of a trip it will be for Nebraska fans coming from the Cornhusker state.
No. 5: Purdue, October 31
This isn’t quite the equivalent to Nebraska’s road trips to Waco back in the Big 12 days (when Baylor was terrible, remember that?) But West Lafayette is a fairly ordinary college town, with one of the least impressive stadia in the Big Ten, and the only nearby tourism draw more than an hour’s drive away—and is Indianapolis.
Unless you live in Indiana, there are much better places for Nebraska fans to spend their Halloween.
No. 4: Illinois, October 3
A road trip to see Nebraska take on the Illini would initially suggest the possibility of going to Chicago, which significantly ups the interest. But Champaign is 135 miles from the Windy City, making it hard to link a Chicago trip with seeing Nebraska take on Illinois. And while Illinois has more football history than Purdue, the fact remains that the Illini remain one of the football also-rans in the conference.
With a lack of history, and absence of tourist attractions, and (likely) a less-than competitive game, Illinois remains a particularly unfashionable choice for a Nebraska road trip.
No. 3: Minnesota, October 17
Even before the Gophers won two straight against Nebraska, Minnesota had some strengths as a road trip destination. It remains one of only two B1G opponents (Iowa being the other) where fans could at least consider a driving day trip for the game. But for those choosing to stay, Minneapolis is an under-rated tourist destination, the new on-campus stadium is gorgeous, and Minnesota in mid-October should be delightful.
And the locals will probably be nice to traveling Nebraska fans even if the Gophers make it three in a row in 2015.
No. 2: Rutgers, November 14
Because, really, who isn’t in a hurry to see Piscataway, New Jersey?
Although Rutgers isn’t a football powerhouse, there is some history to see at the school that bills itself as the “birthplace of college football.” But what makes the Rutgers trip so attractive to Nebraska travelers is that Piscataway is less than 40 miles from New York City. And with a number of public transportation options available (according to Rometorio.com), combining a trip to see Nebraska play and a visit to the Big Apple makes the Rutgers game an inviting option for a road trip.
No. 1: Miami, September 19
Yeah, this one’s a no-brainer.
Not only do you get to see Nebraska take on one of its ancient foes, you get to spend time in one of the most unique tourist attractions in the country. Husker football and South Beach sound like a pretty good mix to me.