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AP Top 25: Notre Dame, Colorado, USF Have Many (Travel) Miles to Go to Remain Unbeaten

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Breaking down who is flying high in the skies as well as the standings.

Army v Duke Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Colorado Buffaloes and South Florida Bulls have vanquished all foes on the football field. But their most formidable opponent — abundant air travel — still looms large on the schedules of these three unbeatens.

The No. 5 Irish, who play at home this weekend against the Pittsburgh Panthers before a bye, still have 5,081 miles left to travel on their schedule. That includes two trips to southern California and an excursion to New York City, in addition to their 114-mile jaunt to Evanston, Ill. to play the Northwestern Wildcats. Their remaining itinerary includes 7 time zone crossings.

A similar situation befalls the 19th-ranked Buffs, who take trips between 921 and 1,318 miles each to visit the USC Trojans, Washington Huskies, Arizona Wildcats and California Golden Bears before season’s end. They’ll cross time zones all four times.

The No. 23 Bulls just finished a 1,294 mile trip to Massachusetts, where they dispatched the Minutemen, 58-42. This week, they’re on a 1,241 mile trip to play the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, with 1,000 mile trips to Houston, Cincinnati and Temple on the horizon.

The Buffaloes, at 5-0, have traveled twice this year but still have 90 percent of their 4,985 season miles left to go. The Irish, now 6-0, have also taken two road trips but still haven’t traveled 81 percent of the 6,284 miles on their 2018 schedule.

Yahoo’s Pat Forde noted Notre Dame’s daunting final five game stretch in The Forde Yard Dash.

“While the schedule is manageable, the travel is going to be a bit of challenge,” said Forde Thursday.

The Irish’s 5,081 miles between Oct. 27 and Nov. 24 are 69 percent more than any other Associated Press Top 25 team’s travel schedule during that stretch. (The No. 16 Miami-Florida Hurricanes are second, with 3,006 miles left to go during that time period.)

The 20th-ranked N.C. State Hurricanes, who are also unbeaten at 5-0, also backloaded the travel on their schedule. They’ve played just once away from Carter-Finley Stadium, with road trips to play the Clemson Tigers (295 miles), Syracuse Orange (649 miles), Louisville Cardinals (541 miles) and North Carolina Tar Heels (22.6 miles) forthcoming.

Teams with the fewest travel miles remaining on their schedule include the No. 24 Mississippi State Bulldogs (485 miles), No. 21 Auburn Tigers (634 miles, which is actually 64.5 percent of their total miles this year) and the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (666 miles). The 10th-ranked UCF Knights, also unbeaten, travel just once in the final five weeks of the season — a 104-mile post-Thanksgiving trip southwest to Tampa to play the Bulls.

Here’s the Top 25 with their season travel and remaining travel. (Travel is expressed in one-way road miles, although all of these will be roundtrip and many via airplane).

AP Top 25 Travel

AP Poll Team Week 10 Travel Week 11-13 Travel % of reg season mileage remaining
AP Poll Team Week 10 Travel Week 11-13 Travel % of reg season mileage remaining
1 Alabama 350 350 18.0%
2 Clemson 0 949 36.7%
3 Notre Dame 114 2927 46.6%
4 LSU 0 899 38.2%
5 Michigan 0 798 61.1%
6 Georgia 380 380 17.1%
7 Oklahoma 329 1463 60.0%
8 Ohio State 0 652 28.5%
9 Central Florida 0 104 3.1%
10 Washington St. 585 1312 28.8%
11 Kentucky 0 1871 46.5%
12 West Virginia 1400 2483 44.4%
13 Florida 0 149 8.0%
14 Penn State 391 615 31.9%
15 Texas 0 1045 26.8%
16 Utah 671 1186 25.7%
17 Houston 246 822 20.1%
18 Utah State 3039 3778 64.2%
19 Iowa 312 558 27.8%
20 Fresno St. 402 1126 24.4%
21 Mississippi St. 0 179.2 10.4%
22 Syracuse 647 1206 40.7%
23 Virginia 0 648 40.9%
24 Boston College 703 2013 45.0%
25 Texas A&M 746 746 23.5%
26 Washington 0 288 4.8%
27 Northwestern 0 641 35.1%
28 Georgia Southern 656 1099 27.2%
29 Michigan St. 0 1114 28.0%
30 Cincinnati 0 917 17.0%
31 Iowa St. 267 1187 45.5%
32 South Florida 0 1961 29.6%
33 Stanford 845 1243.1 25.9%
34 Oklahoma St. 338 689.8 57.1%
35 UAB 0 867 23.5%
36 Oregon 0 829 26.9%
37 Wisconsin 0 985 57.7%
38 Auburn 0 337 34.3%
39 San Diego St. 769 1112 36.3%
41 N.C. State 0 563.6 30.1%
Twitter: @andrewwinn