By Jesse Lawrence
After one of the most suspenseful and exciting weekends of college football in recent memory, the BCS bowl picture went from tidy to a wide open mess. The major spark for the tumult was Alabama’s loss to Auburn. But Ohio State’s nail-biting win over Michigan also contributed to the chaotic bowl picture that has more questions than answers.
Despite all that college football goodness, there’s still a week to go before the picture clears up and this weekend’s conference championship games are set to play just as big of a role in determining the bowl picture as did the games last weekend. Below is a breakdown of the most up-to-date picture and prices.
BCS National Championship (BCS No. 1 vs. BCS No. 2)
BCS National Championship tickets rose 5% over the weekend. Even as the top team heading into the weekend, Alabama, will not be appearing in the Nation Championship Game, the average price on the secondary market still went up. The actual price was up over $100 per ticket, going from $2,071 on Friday night to $2,176 on Monday morning. Florida State vs. Ohio State is the probable matchup right now if both teams win this weekend.
For Ohio State it would be its first appearance since 2007 and the first for Florida State since 2000. That’s a lot of pent-up demand, and it would be a game that either team could win. According to OSU.edu, 6,819 Buckeyes live in Los Angeles, which makes it the fifth most populous metro outside of Ohio, where 500,000 alumnus live. They’d have a long way to travel as would FSU alums, but for whoever wins, it would be well worth it.
Rose Bowl (Big Ten vs. PAC-12)
Rose Bowl tickets dropped 4% over the weekend as Ohio State, at least temporarily, jumped into one of the spots in the National Championship Game. Over the weekend, the average ticket price dropped from $839 to $809. As this game typically pits the top team in the Big Ten against the top team in the PAC-12, the most likely scenario for this game at the moment would be Michigan State, taking the place of Ohio State, facing off against Stanford.
Michigan State appears destined to play in its first Rose Bowl since 1988, whether it wins the Big Ten championship or not. On the other side of the draw, the Cardinal seem poised to make their second consecutive appearance and 14th overall. Regardless of whom they play, their proximity to the Rose Bowl means that prices will stay high.
Fiesta Bowl (Big 12 vs. At-large)
The possibility that two lowest ranked teams will be squaring off at University of Phoenix Stadium means it’s the biggest question market on the BCS bowl calendar. With that uncertainty, Fiesta Bowl tickets dropped 5% from Friday night to Monday morning. The average ticket price on the secondary market is now $290. The Big 12 representative most likely be Oklahoma State, but there is still some uncertainty around what school the at-large bid would go to. Northern Illinois is a strong possibility to get the nod for its second consecutive BCS appearance.
Sugar Bowl (SEC vs. At-large)
Heading into the weekend, Auburn seemed to be a lock for the Sugar Bowl with Alabama headed to Pasadena for the National championship. If Ohio State beats Michigan State, that would still be the case and prices could rise for Sugar Bowl tickets given their proximity of Auburn to the Big Easy. While it would be a disappointment for Auburn fans to miss out on the BCS title game, a weekend in New Orleans would be a good reward for an amazing turn-around season.
If Auburn finds a way into the National Championship Game, Alabama would likely get the nod for the Sugar bowl. With a good chance that one Alabama team will play in the Sugar Bowl, the $310 average price is over double any of the previous three years. The next closest game was in 2011 and had an average price of $158 when Ohio State played Arkansas.
Orange Bowl (ACC vs. At-large)
Orange Bowl tickets were the only BCS bowl game tickets, outside of the National Championship Game, to have a price increase over the weekend. That could be due to the Orange Bowl now being the likely landing spot for Alabama. The Crimson Tide could be the at-large team to take on an ACC representative, possibly Clemson, in Miami.
For Alabama fans, it would be their second visit to Sun Life Stadium in two years. On the last visit, they left with their 15th National title. With the possibility of Bama retuning to Miami, the average ticket price rose from $205 to $218 over the weekend, an increase of 6%. Prior to this year, 2010 was the most expensive Orange Bowl when Georgia Tech went to its first Orange bowl since 1966. That year it cost an average of $241 to as Tech lost to the Iowa Hawkeyes. Over the previous three years, the average price has been $103.
Jesse Lawrence, who covers the business and emotion of the ticket market. is the CEO of TiqIQ.com, the leading ticket search engine online.