On Jan. 8, Georgia and Alabama will meet in the College Football Playoff championship game in Atlanta’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
So what significance does the matchup have, other than being the first time since 2011 (and second time since the start of the BCS era) that the championship will be decided between two teams from the same conference?
RELATED: FBS championship history
Well, to compete for the title, the Bulldogs will have a brisk 61-mile trek from Athens, while the Tide are traveling 187 miles from Tuscaloosa. That’s a combined 248 miles between the two squads, making 2017’s championship game the shortest combined distance traveled since the start of the BCS era in 1998.
|Year||Team A||Team B||Championship location||Team A distance||Team B distance (air miles)||Total distance||Rank|
|2018||Georgia||Alabama||Mercedez-Benz Stadium, Atlanta||60.83||187.28||248.11||1|
|2012||Alabama||LSU||Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana||269.33||72.89||342.22||2|
|2004||LSU||Oklahoma||Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans||72.89||563.02||635.91||3|
|2008||LSU||Ohio St||Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans||72.89||799.45||872.34||4|
|2017||Clemson||Alabama||Raymond James Stadium, Tampa||465.75||474.2||939.95||5|
|2000||Florida St||Virginia Tech||Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans||347.8||749.63||1097.43||6|
|2006||Texas||USC||Rose Bowl Stadium, Pasadena, California||1215.98||8.71||1224.69||7|
|2009||Florida||Oklahoma||Dolphin Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida||286.39||1205.68||1492.07||8|
|2001||Oklahoma||Florida St||Pro Player Stadium, Miami||1215.79||408.44||1624.23||9|
|2013||Alabama||Notre Dame||Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida||668.02||1142.62||1810.64||10|
|2011||Auburn||Oregon||University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona||1544.97||933.24||2478.21||11|
|2015||Ohio St||Oregon||AT&T Stadium, Arlington||929.74||1601.37||2531.11||12|
|2010||Alabama||Texas||Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California||1754.56||1215.98||2970.54||13|
|2016||Alabama||Clemson||University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale||1418.8||1676.83||3095.63||14|
|1999||Tennessee||Florida St||Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Arizona||1597.65||1631.95||3229.6||15|
|2007||Florida||Ohio St||University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona||1773.55||1669.22||3442.77||16|
|2005||USC||Oklahoma||Pro Player Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida||2330.2||1205.68||3535.88||17|
|2002||Miami||Nebraska||Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California||2332.99||1261.05||3594.04||18|
|2003||Ohio St||Miami||Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Arizona||1659.44||1973.19||3632.63||19|
|2014||Florida St||Auburn||Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California||1987.52||1881.67||3869.19||20|
(Distance measured by air miles)
Since Tennessee and Florida State headed west to Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona for the 1998 BCS championship, the average combined distance traveled to compete for the title has been just over 2,200 miles.
The longest trek came in 2014, when the Rose Bowl hosted Florida State (1,988 miles away) and Auburn (1,882 miles away).
And before this year’s matchup, the shortest any two teams had to travel was 2012’s matchup between Alabama and LSU in New Orleans’ Superdome, which the Tide won 21-0.
So does travel distance have anything to do with performance in a title bout? Short answer, nope.
Over the 19 years since the first BCS championship, the teams with the shorter trip are 10-9.
In fact, the champions of the past 19 years traveled an average of 1,155 miles, while the runner-ups only had 1,078 miles to go. Playing in your home state doesn’t guarantee a win either. Homestate teams are 3-3 in championship games.
|2001||Oklahoma||Florida St.||Pro Player Stadium, Miami|
|2004||LSU||Oklahoma||Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans|
|2006||Texas||USC||Rose Bowl Stadium, Pasadena, California|
|2008||LSU||Ohio St.||Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans|
|2009||Florida||Oklahoma||Dolphin Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida|
|2012||Alabama||LSU||Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans|
So, sorry Bulldogs. Looks like getting to walk to the stadium doesn’t actually guarantee a win. Guess they’ll have to play the game after all.