When the Sugar Bowl invited Virginia Tech to play in its January football game instead of Boise State and Kansas State last week, fans of both the Broncos and Wildcats were angry. Their teams finished higher in the final BCS standings than the Hokies, and appeared to be better fits for an at-large BCS bid.
But they were left out.
Why? Well, that’s part of the reason fans were (and still are) angry about the snub. Sugar Bowl representatives said part of the reason they picked Virginia Tech was because of its ability to sell a lot of tickets and bring a huge crowd to New Orleans.
A bold move considering K-State sold out its allotment of Cotton Bowl tickets before it even knew what bowl it was headed to, and has benefited from fans traveling in record numbers to past Cotton Bowls and Fiesta Bowls.
So far, it looks like Virginia Tech isn’t living up to its reputation. From the Washington Post:
Virginia Tech is struggling to sell out its Sugar Bowl allotment of 17,500 tickets, and the school is acknowledging that if sales continue to lag, it could affect the Hokies’ reputation as a college football program that travels well to bowl games.
On Monday morning, Virginia Tech confirmed it had sold 9,337 tickets so far and announced a proxy program under which fans who don’t plan on going to New Orleans could buy tickets that would then be donated to military personnel and New Orleans charity organizations.
Now, it’s worth mentioning that one of the main reasons the Hokies are having trouble selling all those tickets is that their fans are heading over to StubHub (unlike the Cotton Bowl, you can find tickets on secondary markets for less than face value) and buying cheaper tickets instead of the ones issued by the athletic department. It’s not like no one out there cares about the Sugar Bowl.
But that is also a problem that has hurt Virginia Tech in past bowl trips.
“We need to really try to move. There’s still time but we need Hokie nation to do whatever they can do even if it’s part of the proxy program,” (Virginia Tech athletic director Jim) Weaver said Monday night. “I think we’ll have 17-20,000 people there, just like the Orange Bowl. My concern is not that the Hokies will be there; my concern is we’ve got the tickets we’ve got to sell.”
Quite the contrast to the Cotton Bowl, where every seat in Cowboys Stadium has already been accounted before.
Editor’s Note: In 24 days, the Kansas State football team will face Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl. With that in mind, I began counting down to the big game in Cowboys Stadium on Dec. 6 with 31 blog posts in 31 days. I use the word “attempting” because I can only think of so many blog ideas at the moment. I’m confident that I can go 31 for 31, but your help is appreciated. Feel free to send a blog idea (or two) my way at firstname.lastname@example.org.