WATCH: Penn State downs Rutgers, 20-7
Josh Newman, @Joshua_Newman

PISCATAWAY – I'm tired.

I'm tired, I'm staring at the computer screen, unsure how to proceed. There's cheap whiskey on the bookshelf? Ice? Yeah, that's happening, it'll help. I just helped my wife bring in a lot of groceries. Bless her heart, this is her cooking / baking season. Thanksgiving is Thursday, then I'm traveling to Detroit on Friday, ahead of Rutgers-Michigan State late Saturday afternoon (4 p.m., FOX).

One more game following Rutgers' 20-7 loss to Penn State on Saturday. One more football road trip this fall. Not for nothing, the road has been kind to me this football season. A lot of nice people, a bunch of places I'd never been, a lot of good food, a lot of new, fancy beers consumed. I've been to both Detroit and Lansing before, but never with enough time to really explore. That'll be cool.

* Sips whiskey * "Rutgers going anyplace worthwhile in 2019? I should rank 'em."

Good idea, let's try that.


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Iowa, Sept. 7: I have absolutely nothing bad to say about the Midwest. The people are so nice, and so polite, that I am even willing to overlook the harsh winters. No worries on that front. In the beginning of September, you're looking at temperatures in the low to mid-70's. I have been to the state of Iowa several times, but never Iowa City. A Google search reveals that its Downtown District appears more than capable of delivering the goods. By goods, I mean good food and good brews. Low-key, this might be an excellent trip.

Indiana, Oct. 12: You do not stay in Bloomington, you stay in Indianapolis and drive the hour. There is a reason every sportswriter in this country wants every Super Bowl, Final Four and any other major sporting event you can name in Indianapolis. The people, the walkable proximity to a great many options downtown. Again, this time a little louder, STAY IN INDIANAPOLIS, NOT BLOOMINGTON.

Michigan, Sept. 28: Michigan is the type of iconic American sports venue that every fan should see at least once. That, and Ann Arbor lived up to the hype last October. Wait in line for a sandwich at ZIngerman's, walk around in Ann Arbor, stop for a drink at Brown Jug, which has an impressive collection of memorabilia. This really should not need much selling, to be honest. It's Ann Arbor, and we're living in a time when Michigan football is very good.

Illinois, Nov. 2: I made a grave mistake last season when Rutgers went to Champaign. For 11 a.m. game, I stayed in the Chicago suburbs, which is two hours away. That meant, for an 11 a.m. game, I wanted to be in the press box at 9 a.m., so I left my hotel at 6:45 a.m. (Had to build in time to stop at Starbucks, duh). Dumb, dumb, dumb, and not worth the hassle. Now look, if this game is later in the day, 3:30 or in primetime, by all means, stay in Chicago. If this game is at 11 a.m again, sorry Chi-Town, I love you, but no.

Penn State, Nov. 30: The opportunity to eat at Sheetz a couple of times (It's better than Wawa, wanna fight about it?) Is about the only saving grace of this road trip. The drive is boring, the hotels that are reasonably priced on a game weekend are nowhere near State College, and the weather this time of year will be absolutely frigid. On a personal note, Beaver Stadium offers the most uncomfortable press box I have ever experienced. In Penn State's defense, a new press box is part of a massive renovation project, so call me when that comes through. Until then, I can do without this road trip, except for Sheetz, of course.

Staff writer Josh Newman: [email protected]; @Joshua_Newman