College Football Journeys That Take You Off the Beaten Path

If you’re a college football fan, you’re probably familiar with the iconic cathedrals of the game. The Big House. The Grandaddy of ‘Em All. The Sea of Red. The Vol Navy. 

But what about the less heralded destinations? Where can you escape the norm to find the essence of gridiron glory? In honor of our renewed partnership with the Split Zone Duo podcast, here are three college football journeys that take you off the beaten path. 

And if you like exploring outside the mainstream, consider a tire company that does things differently. Nokian Tyres is a global leader in sustainability, and our North American factory 90 minutes from Neyland Stadium is the most eco-friendly tire production facility in the world. We also make tires that take you off the beaten path, including the American-made Nokian Tyres Outpost nAT. It’s an all-terrain tire that comes with pothole protection. 

Now, let’s kick things off. 

Bountiful Boone

The Rock is nestled among some of the oldest rocks on our continent. Appalachian State’s aptly nicknamed Kidd Brewer Stadium rests more than half a mile above sea level in the heart of the mountains for which the school was named. 

The Mountaineers have elevated their program to a perennial G5 contender thanks in part to a hostile homefield that belies the hospitality for which the locals are otherwise known. App State has won more than three-fourths of its home games since the stadium rose from the rocky dirt. 

But the gridiron is only part of the appeal. Boone, North Carolina boasts an eclectic vibe thanks to a diverse blend of college students, outdoor enthusiasts and artists. Don’t just spend a gameday at App State – book a full weekend calendar of hiking, dining and window shopping. 

Tire Tip: Bring your all weather tires. Boone is snowy enough to justify a high volume of winter tire sales, says Alray Tire Owner Judd Huffman. If you’re visiting, you’ll want the confidence that comes with Nokian Tyres all weather products certified with the three-peak mountain snowflake. 

Nokian Tyres WR G4
All-weather tires are certified with the three-peak mountain snowflake that signifies they are equipped to perform in wintry conditions.

Wintry Wyoming 

There’s only one way to get to Laramie, Wyoming – you’ve got to withstand relentless wind. Tucked in a valley surrounded by the rugged Rockies, the home of the Cowboys hides from gale-force gusts in the hills above.  

Push your way through the brisk breeze and you’ll encounter a fertile land for football. College football’s western frontier is more developed than you might imagine – they’ve been playing the sport here since 1905, and Ragtime Cowboy Joe has been .500 or better every year but one since 2016. You might say the Cowboys have grown accustomed to Bohl games AND bowl games. 

(Their coach’s name is Craig Bohl, and we apologize for the pun.) 

Before and after the game, enjoy a test of the Old West in Laramie’s culturally rich downtown area. It’s a mix of modern college culture and a throwback to the days when actual cowboys roamed the village, just as today’s Cowboys fill it on gamedays. 

Tire Tip: Laramie’s elevation is above 7,000 feet (over 2,130 meters). Before you head for the hills, inflate your tires to their recommended level; tires lose a bit of pressure at high altitudes. 

The Picturesque Palouse  

When you think of the Pacific Northwest, rocky coasts and evergreens probably come to mind. Your mind may also gravitate to the Oregon Ducks’ radioactive green or the Huskies’ waterfront perch.  

But venture over the mountains of Western Washington and set your GPS for a hamlet of 35,000 people 10 minutes from the Idaho border. That’s where the Washington State Cougars hide in their remote lair. 

You know Wazzu for Drew Bledsoe and Ryan Leaf. Less familiar are the rolling hills of Southeastern Washington, which offer a wealth of outdoor riches. Survey the area’s beauty from Kamiak Butte, which boasts 360-degree views and several miles of hiking trails. Then roam back to town to explore an impressively diverse food (and drink) selection next to the heart of campus. 

Tire Tip: Once temps fall below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, Eastern Washington is winter tire country. If you live in a local that experiences consistently harsh winter weather, consider a set of winter boots from the inventor of the winter tire. 

Wherever your sports journeys take you this fall, we hope you’ll score ultimate safety with a set of Nokian Tyres products. To find our tires near you, visit our Dealer Locator. 

College Football Roadtrips: Washington State
The Washington State Cougars play in an oasis among the hills.

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