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Bowl game changes travel plans

BY MICHELE DANNO | DECEMBER 10, 2009 7:30 AM

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As speculation about potential Bowl Championship Series matchups floated around campus, flooded local media outlets, and confused potential attendees, some students attempted to get ahead of the game by making plans beforehand.

UI senior Travis Jargo said his goal during his time on campus has been to attend a bowl game featuring the Hawkeyes. And when he heard Iowa had the credentials to qualify for a BCS contest in his last year as an undergraduate, he prepared early, hoping to ensure himself a seat — no matter where it was.

Before the official announcement on Sunday, many speculated Iowa would attend either the Orange Bowl in Miami or the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.

“We had plans for Phoenix all figured out before the game was officially announced,” Jargo said. “But those all backfired, so we had to scramble to find a house in Miami.”

Jargo and five fellow Iowa fans plan to travel south for a week in January to attend No. 10 Iowa’s Orange Bowl game against No. 9 Georgia Tech. He said he and his travel companions were lucky they had planned to drive, because that meant they didn’t purchase plane tickets prematurely.

But Jargo was one of the lucky ones.

On the Facebook group IOWA HAWKEYES FIESTA BOWL 2010, which had 9,469 members before later changing its name to IOWA HAWKEYES ORANGE BOWL 2010, UI students and alumni posted they had already purchased airline tickets to Glendale, Ariz., before finding out the game was in Miami.

After the announcement was made Sunday evening, students and fans rushed to buy tickets for the game.

Like other schools selected to participate in BCS bowl games — except those in the Rose Bowl, which receives more seats — the Iowa ticket office was allotted 17,500 tickets to sell — an increase from last season’s Outback Bowl allotment.

Pam Finke, the Hawkeye director of ticket operations, said the university initially put a limit of one ticket per student and season-ticket holder. But when tickets did not sell out on the first night, she said, officials lifted the purchase limit.

Almost overnight, fans purchased roughly 13,000 of the 17,500 tickets, she said.

But in an effort to sell the full allotment — as was the case for the 2009 Outback Bowl — the ticket office opened sales to the public on Monday at 9 a.m. Within a few hours of going public, 2,000 more tickets were gone, Finke said.

With the bowl-game selection process completed and tickets purchased, students can now make travel plans for the Miami matchup. But for some, such as UI sophomore Trey Chmelka, traveling to the coast of Florida is going to cost him more than a trip to Arizona.

“I have family in Arizona, and I planned on staying with them for two weeks,” he said. “But now, we have to spend more money because we have to pay for a hotel and a rental car in Miami. It also cut my trip down to half the time.”

He made early plans for the Fiesta Bowl, he said, because he “never thought the TCU versus Boise State matchup would have happened like it did,” noting his disappointment over the situation.

But for other students, such as Jargo, location didn’t matter — as long as he has a chance to see the Hawkeyes play in a bowl game in his final year.

“Arizona and Florida are both going to be fun,” Jargo said. “All I asked for for Christmas was money to pay for this trip. I’m a senior, so it’s now or never.”


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