Many University of Wisconsin students’ hopes of traveling to Pasadena died with the Badger football team’s loss to Iowa Nov. 20. However, the UW athletic department began accepting requests for student tickets Wednesday for Wisconsin’s game against the University of Georgia New Year’s Day in the Outback Bowl.
UW associate athletic director Steve Malchow said the student attendance is hard to predict, but the university hopes there will be a good turnout. This bowl season, the Badgers have a particular advantage, according to Malchow, because fans already know the bowl in which UW will play, as well as the opponent.
“All the chips are on the table … Now people can make an [informed decision],” he said.
When the football team had a 9-0 streak in November and many had hopes for a trip to the Rose Bowl, the athletic department planned for the possibility of more student requests than available, which they would meet with a lottery.
“The situation is different now,” Malchow said, adding the use of a lottery will likely be unnecessary. “It is a big facility … I feel confident [that when] students or the general public want to get tickets, they will be available.”
Many students, however, had higher hopes for the bowl destination, and as a result have opted to not travel to Tampa, Fla.
UW junior Meg Bradshaw said she is not very optimistic for a Badger victory Jan. 1.
“We’ve lost the past two. We’re probably going to lose again. So why go?” Bradshaw said. “I went to the [Nashville Music City] Bowl last year … and had a great time, but it was definitely depressing to lose.”
Calling Pasadena the “pinnacle of Badger football,” Bradshaw said the difference in prestige between Rose Bowl and the Outback Bowl was the deciding factor of her decision to not go.
UW senior Katie Habersbrunner also said the lack of prestige of the Outback Bowl caused her to change her mind to follow the team.
“I don’t think it’s worth it. [The Outback Bowl] is not a very exciting bowl — not worth the money,” Habersbrunner said. “I think the only people who are going to go are the diehard fans … I’m going to a bar and [will] watch it with all my friends.”
UW senior Amanda Lane, who will likely go to Tampa, said the people who decided to stay home after the team lost their chance to go to the Rose or Orange Bowls are “fair-weather fans.”
“The Rose Bowl is obviously a bigger deal … but a bowl is a bowl,” Lane said. “I went to the Music City Bowl last year and supported the team [and] it was fun even though we lost.”
UW senior Catherine Griggs, who also wants to go to the Outback Bowl, agreed.
“I don’t think it’s about the bowl game you’re going to, it’s about the experience,” Griggs said. “[The team] is still 9-2, and we should still support them.”