Checking Fairness in Travel for College Bowls

Checking Fairness in Travel for College Bowls
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

More than 80 college football teams are taking part in a wintertime staple that spans the gamut of North America, from the frosty confines of Fenway Park in Boston to the sun-splashed shores of Oahu.

The college football season, a bonanza for Michigan sportsbooks, kicks off in earnest this week. It began with Saturday’s Myrtle Beach, Celebration, New Orleans, Cure, New Mexico, LA and Independence bowls and wraps up with the CFP championship on Jan. 8.

In between, everyone from the New Mexico State Aggies to the Michigan Wolverines will have to handle the logistics that come with traveling to and from their given bowl game locale and all the headaches that come with it.

A few bowl game pairings this year are more equitable than others, with the two teams traveling similar distances to play in their respective postseason forays.

Some of the most equitable bowl games include the Wolverines’ CFP clash against Alabama in the Rose Bowl, in which the mileage differential between the two is a mere 223 miles.

That mileage figure ranks as the fourth smallest this bowl season, illustrating how far both teams must travel to reach the hallowed grounds of Pasadena’s Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.

With that in mind, – your source for Michigan sportsbook apps - broke down the closest travel distances covered by bowl game pairings this season to get a sense of which contests give entrants a fair fight when the ball kicks off this month (or early next month for the Wolverines).

Fairest Distance Matchups for CFB Bowl Season

RankMatchupBowlLocationMileage Difference
1Texas State vs. RiceFirst Responder BowlDallas8 miles
2Oregon State vs. Notre DameSun BowlEl Paso159 miles
3Florida State vs. GeorgiaOrange BowlMiami196 miles
4Alabama vs. MichiganRose BowlPasadena, CA223 miles
5North Carolina vs. West VirginiaDuke’s Mayo BowlCharlotte, NC236 miles
6Georgia Southern vs. OhioMyrtle Beach BowlConway, SC270 miles
7Miami (Ohio) vs. App. StateCure BowlOrlando, FLA320 miles
8Louisiana vs. Jacksonville St.New Orleans BowlNew Orleans, LA325 miles
9Clemson vs. KentuckyGator BowlJacksonville, FLA334 miles
10Central Fla. Vs. Ga. TechGasparilla BowlTampa362 miles


Fairest Bowl of All

The fairest bowl game, travel wise, this year is the 2023 First Responder Bowl inside Dallas’ Cotton Bowl pitting Texas State and Rice. That Dec. 26 bowl game sees an eight-mile difference in distance traveled between the two programs, as Texas State’s San Marcos campus is 226 miles by car to the Cotton Bowl. Rice will venture slightly farther to get to Dallas from their south Houston locale.

The next two closest bowl game pairings are the Sun Bowl (Oregon State vs. Notre Dame, at 159 miles) and the Orange Bowl (Florida State vs. Georgia, at 196 miles). Michigan-Alabama is 223 miles (No. 4 overall).

The rest of our list includes the Duke’s Mayo Bowl between UNC and West Virginia at No. 5 (236 miles), followed by the Myrtle Beach Bowl between Georgia Southern and Ohio (270 miles), Cure Bowl between Miami Ohio and Appalachian State (320 miles), New Orleans Bowl featuring Louisiana and Jacksonville State (325 miles), the Gator Bowl showdown between the Clemson Tigers and Kentucky Wildcats (334 miles) and the Gasparilla Bowl bash between UCF and Georgia Tech (362 miles).

As for the Wolverines’ Jan. 1 showdown with the Crimson Tide, oddsmakers from ESPN BET Michigan currently list Jim Harbaugh’s team as a 1.5-point and -120 moneyline favorite.

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Christopher Boan is a staff writer for He has covered sports and sports betting for more than seven years and has worked for publications such as, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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