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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Band on the Road Year 5

(Want less talk, more database? Here you go.)

As the 2015 season approaches, we're beginning the 5th edition of the Band on the Road project. I began the database - and with it the Band on the Road Game of the Week - back in 2011, and continue to believe it is the most comprehensive database of its kind. For the unfamiliar, the premise is simple: The project chronicles marching band road trips over the course of a football season. It begins a complete as can be by my own work, digging through the schedules of each marching band to determine road games, and continues as it has since the first year: through the work of those who seek to add their own knowledge to the database.

For those who have followed for years, you'll notice an evolution to the database. What were once six power conferences became five, leading me to stop including my own American Athletic Conference. I've changed how I include HBCUs: In the beginning, I stuck with the Division I schools - the MEAC, SWAC, and Tennessee State. I've since made the shift to including all of the classics instead, regardless of division.

The big changes this year is that what was once "The Big List" is now in calendar format, including each school's full schedule and color coding Band on the Road games. In doing such, I used the "Confirmed" vs. "Unconfirmed" terminology for road games and games with visitors, as well as neutral site trips. As the names suggest, confirmed games are verified in some way, either through the band's own website or information from someone with the knowledge. The unconfirmed games are more than just a guess, however; at this point we have four previous years of data to call upon when offering an informed opinion about a band's travel. 

Because of the new calendar format, I've hidden the week-by-week lists for now. I may later see a use for them, but at this point, the database may be condensed from here on out into a single page. The format it's in now actually mirrors notes that I've kept for myself throughout the process, using FBSchedules' helmet schedules, and it's hopefully more user friendly for consumers and co-contributors alike. 

As it's been each year, this is the point where I release it into the more-than-capable hands of y'all. If there are any BOTR games that you know about, feel free to update!

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