Opening Drive (Nov. 29): Road trip

The downside of the current playoff system in Tennessee is that it can create some rather long road trips, especially in the later rounds.

Some might say that it’s not necessarily a bad thing, and that may be true – if the return home is to prepare for more practice and not to turn equipment in after a season-ending loss.

As documented on Sunday, every team in the area either faces a long road trip of more than 100 miles, or is hosting a team making such a voyage in tonight’s Division I semifinal games.

There are a couple of exceptions in East Tennessee – Loudon’s trip to Alcoa is roughly 26 miles, while the trip from Knoxville West to Knoxville Central checks in at 9.5 miles.

Still, those longer road trips are one variable in trying to figure out which teams might survive Black Friday and book trips to Cookeville next week.

The BlueCross Bowl awaits the 12 teams that come out on the right side of the scoreboard in just a few hours.

Catch up on news from around the area, including a top recruit making his long-awaited collegiate decision:

Ravenwood’s Reggie Grimes II, the top college football prospect in Tennessee, commits to Oklahoma | Tennessean

After long recovery from muscle disease, MTSU’s Matt Riley hopes to watch son play football again | Daily News Journal

Playoff Football: Road-warrior Summit returns home to play for first title shot | Williamson Herald

Playoff Football: Nolensville eyes first BlueCross Bowl berth | Williamson Herald

Playoff Football: Ravenwood readies to host unbeaten Houston in semifinals | Williamson Herald

Ravenwood football prospect Reggie Grimes II, best in TN, commits to Oklahoma | Williamson Home Page

Present, future bright for Spartans | Columbia Daily Herald

Area officials savor Friday night fun | Macon County Times

Five Jo Byrns players earn All-Region 4-1A honors | Robertson County Connection

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