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Going on the road in college football is already a difficult task in itself, but add a potential speed bump to logistics and the word routine is thrown out the window.
This is what Penn State is dealing before touching down near Auburn on Friday, according to a report from ‘The Athletic’.
The Nittany Lions are the first team from the Big Ten to play at Jordan Hare Stadium, so relying on colleagues in the conference for advice is not an option.
But getting to the Auburn area is the first task, which has been a problem for the team this week. Teams playing on the road at Auburn will usually fly into the Montgomery Regional Airport on the Friday before the game, but not this year.
Due to ongoing construction at the Airport, visiting teams are now trying to find alternative ways to get into the Auburn area. Most of the time it’s an easy trip: fly into Montgomery, spend the night downtown, bus to Auburn the next day.
Not this year though, which is prompting a few logistical meetings to be held for the opposing team.
Now, rather than land at the regional airport that is just over 45 minutes from Auburn’s campus, teams will have to potentially land in Columbus, Georgia, which is a few miles from the Alabama/Georgia border.
But the problem with this scenario is that the football team would then have to make the 82 mile trek to their team hotel in Montgomery.
There is another solution to this problem but it requires military approval.
Usually a landing spot for F-16’s are military cargo planes, The Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery is the next option for visiting teams.
As someone who has been around the Air Force base numerous times in the past, while also having a father fly inadvertent into the airspace during a training lesson, permission usually isn’t granted for commercial planes.
But, this is the hand that Auburn and Penn State have been dealt, but I imagine they would love for the government to allow James Franklin and his team to land and takeoff from this spot.
It’s already a nightmare to get around Auburn traffic on game days, but that is what police escorts are for, if you’re the lucky one.
As for whether or not the Penn State football team will get approval to land on an Air Force Base, I would have enjoyed being on the call when the question was asked.
Either way, we’re getting Penn State vs. Auburn on Saturday, it just might take the Nittany Lions a little longer to arrive in the State of Alabama or Georgia on Friday.