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Navigating the Trail from Miami to Oregon

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With the season rapidly approaching, it's time to talk about my travel schedule this fall. Canes fans don't often travel out to Pac-12 country, so it's my job to represent us. Oregon here we come.

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I'm in my 5th year of attending a wedding every few months. It's amazing I have so many friends given my #PreciseMediocrity, but I'm fortunate that most people just find humor in my inability to consistently pick winners. I've been to bachelor parties all across North America, hitting all of the standard locations - Las Vegas, Montreal, New Orleans, Miami, and more. As my readers have come to know, I think every bachelor party should revolve around a unique college football experience. If Donald Trump really wants to "Make America Great Again," he'll share that advice with the nation. When my brother got engaged this past December, I seized the opportunity to plan our next trip, with a main goal in mind - seeing two games in two days in two stadiums I haven't yet visited.

The first step in picking possible locations was throwing out every weekend the Hurricanes had a game scheduled. Miami's first bye week was scheduled for September 26th, which also marked the start of conference play for many teams across the country. The stars aligned perfectly, with the Pac-12 graciously gifting me a Friday night game on the 25th - Stanford at Oregon State. When I saw that Oregon was hosting Utah the next day, my search was over. It was time to begin the preparation for our journey to the great Pacific Northwest.

Growing up in South Florida, I had very little connection to the state of Oregon. My first real exposure came through a revolutionary computer game, that actually taught me a great deal about life. Oregon Trail became a part of my daily routine. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Anyone could hunt a bison. I prided myself on my ability to nab those speedy rabbits and squirrels when game was scarce. These days, most articles I read are about disgraced wrestlers, deflated footballs, and destroyed cell phones, but on the Oregon Trail, I learned about the harsh realities of cholera and dysentery. I'm stressed about picking games every week now, but as a kid, no decision was more stressful than whether to ford the river or caulk the wagon.

There are some games as a college football fan I'll never forget. I was bitter and angry that Miami was cheated out of playing for the BCS Title in the 2000 season. As I waited for the Canes to play Florida on January 2nd, 2001, I settled in to watch Oregon State play Notre Dame on New Years Day. That Beavers team will forever hold a special place in my heart. As a Miami fan, nothing is better than watching Notre Dame get hammered. Oregon State won 41-9 led by Ken Simonton, Chad Johnson, Jonathan Smith, and T.J. Houshamazilli (Championship!). Coach Dennis Erickson earned my respect once again and I from that night on, I always wanted to see a game in Corvallis.

Autzen Stadium has been on my must-visit list for years. The noise, the atmosphere, and the excitement of watching Oregon's offense, keep Autzen ranked among the top college football stadiums in the nation. The Ducks have achieved incredible success in the past decade and I've been waiting for an opportunity to see them in person. After losing in the National Championship last season, the Ducks should be loaded again on both sides of the ball.

According to my sources at Wikipedia, "Corvallis is the westernmost city in the lower 48 states with a population larger than 50,000." How will that impact my trip? That remains to be seen. I entertained the idea of renting 13 bikes and riding to the game Mike Riley style, but was vetoed by the other members of our contingent. Through some very generous people at Beaver Nation, we were offered a tour of the athletic facilities early Friday morning. I'm excited to spend a full day in Corvallis, tailgating with fans and watching the Beavers hopefully keep things interesting against Stanford.

Following the game at Oregon State, the plan is to drive to Eugene and get settled in for the weekend. West Coast Time is a godsend when you're John Pickens and you have five seemingly mediocre Big Ten games to watch at 9am the next morning. Phil Knight will notice me during our visit to Eugene. Many members of our group will be wearing new Adidas Miami Hurricanes gear. When Brad Kaaya leads the Canes back to national prominence, Nike will regret its decision.

During the week leading up to both games, I'll have previews, analysis, and much more. Even though this is a Miami website, I always share my experiences from other stadiums across the country. If this article makes its way to fans of Oregon State and Oregon, I would love some recommendations on traditions, restaurants, bars, and other must-see items around the stadiums on game-day. Enjoy the next five weeks, this season can't arrive soon enough.