Bataan Death March or Octoberfest?
I have called Clemson's road schedule in 2004 "The Bataan Death March". The Tigers travel to Texas A&M, Florida State, Virginia, Miami and Duke this season making this the school's toughest road schedule in its history.
There are two groups that I do not want to offend when I call it "The Bataan Death March." First is the obvious, the veterans of perhaps the most brutal chapter in our country's history. I have a tremendous amount of respect for anyone that had to endure that appalling act and would encourage everyone to research the facts of just how sickening this event was. I have a friend that survived and I hold Col. Ben Skarden in my heart as a hero. Please research the real event and gain respect for our heroes.
The second is less significant. It is the FSU fans who endured the 1981 season they called "The Bataan Death March" or "Octoberfest". In October and early November of 1981, FSU played five games in a row on the road. No open dates with five games at the home venue of some of the hardest places in America to play. The Noles went in successive weeks to Nebraska, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and LSU. FSU went 3-2 in that brutal stretch with wins at Ohio State, Notre Dame and LSU.
Current South Carolina wide receiver coach Rick Stockstill was the quarterback for Bobby Bowden squad that season. "It really wore you out," said Stockstill. "Five straight weeks on the road would be tough against anyone but those five were exhausting."
The Seminoles ended the season with a home game versus Miami and a trip to Florida. This has to be the most difficult road schedule in the history of college football.
In Bobby Bowden's first few years at FSU they played road games at Miami, Oklahoma, Boston College, Auburn, Southern Miss, Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech, San Diego State, Florida, Texas Tech, Syracuse, Mississippi State, Pittsburgh, Arizona State, Louisville, Cincinnati, LSU, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, West Virginia and several others.
The Tigers face maybe the toughest road schedule in school history and maybe the toughest in the country this season. However they don't have to face either the real "Bataan Death March" of 1942 or "Octoberfest" of 1981.