As the 2023 college football season unfolds, fans of the South Carolina Gamecocks are gearing up for an exciting series of road games. Beyond the cheers and touchdowns, these road trips offer an opportunity to explore new cities and experience the vibrant culture that surrounds college football. In this article, we break down the schedule and rank the destinations, taking into account the journey itself, the pre and post-game experience, and the overall excitement each locale offers.
5. Columbia, Missouri – A Journey to Remember
Date: October 21
Distance: 1,644 miles (round trip)
Rank of Game Difficulty: 4
Record at the Venue: 2-3
Columbia, Missouri, beckons with its own unique charm, albeit a lesser-known college football atmosphere. While the destination might not carry the same gridiron energy as some other SEC schools, its distinct appeal lies in its local spots. Consider flying into Kansas City for the game and enjoying the lively scene. If you’re seeking a classic college wing experience, CJ’s Wings is a must-visit. While the focus might not solely be on football, Columbia’s offerings ensure you’ll still have a memorable time.
4. Charlotte – A Familiar Stop with an Epic Twist
Date: September 2
Distance: 90 miles (round trip)
Rank of Game Difficulty: 5
Record at the Venue: 4-2
Charlotte, a hub of activity and excitement, takes its place on the Gamecocks’ road trip map. With the presence of ESPN College Gameday, the pregame atmosphere promises to be electrifying. However, this bustling city, while teeming with SEC and ACC fans, offers more of an NFL vibe outside the stadium. A relatively short distance from Columbia, it’s the perfect opportunity to revel in both the game day energy and the city’s dynamic character.
3. Knoxville Neyland Stadium – Where Tradition Meets Challenge
Date: September 30
Distance: 532 miles (round trip)
Rank of Game Difficulty: 2
Record at the Venue: 3-17
Knoxville’s Neyland Stadium boasts a traditional college football experience. Despite the potential rivalry intensity, Knoxville offers a vibrant town and a picturesque stadium setting along the Tennessee River. While the stadium itself might have an outdated charm, the downtown area boasts several spots to explore. Be sure to check out Market Square and S. Gay Street for a taste of local flavors.
2. College Station Kyle Field – A Lone Star Experience
Date: October 28
Distance: 2,082 miles (round trip by car)
Rank of Game Difficulty: 3
Gamecock Record at this Venue: 0-4
A road trip to College Station, Texas, is not for the faint of heart, but it promises a unique experience for dedicated fans. With Texas-style brisket and a vibrant bar scene, College Station is an engaging SEC stop. Kyle Field’s grandeur is complemented by the town’s warm hospitality. Although a journey to College Station might require meticulous planning, the rewards of a football-centric weekend combined with a visit to the bustling city of Dallas make this trip worth the effort.
1. Athens Sanford Stadium – The Epitome of College Football
Date: September 16
Distance: 334 miles (round trip)
Rank of Game Difficulty: 1
Gamecock Record at this Venue: 8-25
Taking the top spot is Athens, home to Sanford Stadium, a mecca of college football fervor. This iconic destination exudes the quintessential college town experience, where football culture thrives. Athens offers an abundance of dining and entertainment options, ensuring you’re immersed in the heart of the action. A short drive from Columbia, Athens promises a weekend filled with unforgettable memories, embodying the true spirit of college football camaraderie.
As the Gamecocks traverse the country for their road games, the journey itself becomes an integral part of the experience. While each destination offers its unique allure, the common thread weaving through these trips is the shared passion for college football. From the cheers in the stadium to the camaraderie outside, these road trips are more than mere games – they’re unforgettable journeys that forge lasting memories.