Welcome back to CougCenter's Pac-12 football fantasy road trip. We've seen our share of great games, sampled plenty of great beer and somehow found an extra 10 pounds along the way. That last number will probably get worse before it gets better. First, a refresher on the ground rules.
1) We have an RV and 3-4 people
2) We try and visit as many Pac-12 venues as possible
3) Any game involving a conference team is eligible
4) Every segment of the trip involves at least one stop at a brewery
With that, we're ready to enter the stretch drive of the season, and we begin at Autzen Stadium.
LA to Eugene, OR: 858 miles
Saturday, October 10: WSU at Oregon - Our first of many trips up and down I-5 is a lengthy one. However, a visit to Mt. Shasta Brewing in Weed for a Mountain High IPA and Jalapeno Ale makes for a pleasant break in the drive. This is a good time to visit Autzen since we've never been there, and it gives us a chance to see the Cougs. Also, it's a great opportunity to interact with the classiest fan base in the conference, a fan base which is shrouded in the history and lore of Oregon Football, dating all the way back to Rich Brooks' last season.
Eugene to Palo Alto: 560 miles
Thursday, October 15: UCLA at Stanford - We didn't feel like driving clear to Indiana to watch USC face Notre Dame, but this is a nice consolation. Following a stop at Lagunitas Brewing in Petaluma for a Little Sumpin' Sumpin and a Citrusiness Pale Ale (this could very well turn into an overnight stop), we join tens of other fans at Stanford Stadium for a marquee Thursday night matchup. We also get to witness Kevin Hogan's javelin tosses in person. Hooray?
Palo Alto to LA: 359 miles
Saturday, October 24: Utah at USC: After relishing our one free Saturday, we make a leisurely drive down Highway 101 toward LA. The mandatory delay on the drive is in Paso Robles, home of Firestone Walker Brewing. Once we've had our share of DBA and Velvet Merkin, we roll into the LA Coliseum to watch a possible elimination game in the Pac-12 South race. Will Utah be able to throw? Will USC be able to stop Devontae Booker? How Will Steve Sarkisian screw this one up? Lots of questions will be answered by the end of this game.
LA to Berkeley: 378 miles
Saturday, October 31: USC at Cal - I have no idea what the product of a mixture between Halloween and hippies is, but we're going to find out. Something tells me it's like Plutoniom and, um, more plutonium. Either way, this should be a fun game to watch, as the scoreboard will feature crooked numbers all day. Another highlight is the stop at Buffalo Bill's Brewery in Hayward. Their Blueberry Oatmeal Stout is a beer for the ages. Hopefully the Black Pumpkin Oatmeal Stout is also available.
Berkeley to Boulder: 1223 miles
Saturday, November 7: Stanford at Colorado - We wanted to venture out to the mountains one more time on the trip, so we took a flyer on this game. It may not be the sexiest matchup on the board, but Colorado should put up enough points to keep it entertaining. Plus, we get to make a stop in Longmont and pay a visit to Left Hand Brewing, which produces magnificent products such as Sawtooth Ale, Great Juju and Milk Stout. That alone makes the drive worth it.
Boulder to Palo Alto: 1264 miles
Saturday, November 14: Oregon at Stanford - Once again, this is the odds-on-favorite to be the game of the year in the Pac-12 North. There's no way we could miss this one, even though it means fighting the murderous bay area traffic one last time. A pit stop at El Toro Brewing, for an El Toro IPA and Whiskey Barrel-aged Stout will help ease the pain we are sure to have on the streets.
Palo Alto to Eugene: 560 miles
Saturday, November 21: USC at Oregon - We follow the Ducks up I-5 for what looks to be another critical game, and what could be a preview of the Pac-12 championship game. Well, probably not because Sark, and because the Pac-12 South is going to be a battle of attrition, but still. It is sure to be rainy and cool in late November on the Willamette. Luckily we anticipate a warm welcome from Ninkasi Brewing, in the form of a Vanilla Oatis and Sleigh'r Dark Double Alt Ale.
Eugene to Seattle: 283 miles
Friday, November 27: WSU at Washington - There's no way we're missing out on a chance to attend our first Apple Cup in Seattle since 1997. Although this game likely won't have the same stakes for the Cougs, it could very well be the difference between bowling or staying home in December. It would be really cool if we had a bowl locked up by then, like 2013, but it isn't likely. Either way, we're excited to pay a visit to Airways Brewing. Although they won't have any PSA Summer Ale on tap, a cold Seat Kicker IPA and Maylani's Coconut Stout should do the trick.
So there you have it, our budgetless fantasy Pac-12 road trip. Let's take a look at some of the stats.
Miles Driven: 11051
States visited: 19
Pac-12 venues visited: 10 - Sorry not sorry OSU and Arizona
Games Attended: 16
Gas cost (10 mpg calculated at $3.25 per gallon, because west coast gas prices are criminal): $3608
Cougar victories witnessed: At least one, possibly two, hopefully three!
So, if you had this option, where would you go?
WazzuWatch.com - Bruce Feldman talks Leach, Cougars
Part I of a two-part interview with Bruce Feldman, Fox Sports college football commentator and best-selling author.
GVX Audio: Mike Leach previews Washington State football - GoVolsXtra Story
Mike Leach, Washington State Head Coach, joined Vince Ferrara and John Adams on the show to preview Washington State football.
Arizona football: Leach, Cougars need bounceback year
Washington State should improve from last year's 3-9 mark.
Michael Anderson Earns Scholar All-American Honors - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
The recent graduate earned the honor for the second-consecutive season.
Trouble Brewing: Drought-Hit Hops Crop Concerns Craft Beer Brewers - NBC News
Winton’s Children Share Their Stories - The New York Times
We linked the obituary of Sir Nicholas Winton previously, and here is a follow-up. The penultimate story is heartbreaking. One question I have is, why did so many of the fathers leave their wives and children behind, hoping they'd make it out later? I assume there was a good reason behind it, but it seems like the fathers would send their wives and children to safety first, if possible, and then try to get out themselves.