Considering that the Ohio State football team lost two games this season, the Buckeyes ended up
with about the best possible bowl scenario.
Ohio State (10-2) accepted an invitation last night to play in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 5 in
Glendale, Ariz. Its opponent will be Texas (11-1), ranked third in the nation and a team that came
within a last-second loss of being in the national championship game.
"We have a tremendous opportunity," OSU coach Jim Tressel said last night. "Ohio State and Texas
-- I don't know, it doesn't get much better than that."
It is the fifth time in seven years the Buckeyes are headed to the Phoenix area for a bowl game.
It's the scene of one of their greatest wins -- over Miami (Fla.) for the 2002 national title --
and one of their most humiliating losses -- to Florida for the 2006 title.
Despite being two of the nation's most storied programs, Ohio State and Texas have met only
twice -- in 2005 in Columbus (Texas won, 25-22) and 2006 in Austin, Texas (OSU won, 24-7).
This is the fourth straight season OSU has played in the Bowl Championship Series game. Only
Southern California (seven straight) and Miami (four) have accomplished that.
"I'm so proud of our seniors, to think that they've done nothing but go to BCS games," Tressel
Although Ohio State will be making its fifth bowl appearance in the Phoenix area in the last
seven years, local travel agents were optimistic that fans would still travel to Arizona to see
"Buckeye fans have loved Phoenix in the past and I think they'll love it again," said Dave
Matthews of Prime Tours in Dublin.
The real question mark, Matthews said, is the economy.
"Some people who are saving their pennies will be happy to see that this game will cost a
fraction of what the last two games did," he said.
Ike Reynolds of Reynolds Travel in Columbus said ticket prices for last year's national
championship game in New Orleans were starting in the $600-$700 range.
"I think this year you won't see tickets much over face value."
A travel package to the BSC Championship Game last year that cost $2,700 will cost about $1,900
to this year's Fiesta Bowl, Reynolds said.
"And a great opponent like Texas really draws people to the game, too," he said.
More Buckeyes will travel to the Fiesta Bowl than would have gone to the second-tier Capital One
Bowl in Orlando, Reynolds said.
"Not taking anything away from the Capital One Bowl, but this year, the expectations for the
team were so high that ending up there would have been a major disappointment, I think."
But a trip to the Rose Bowl, last visited by the Buckeyes in 1997, would have been even better,
said Robin and Susan Schneider, owners of Twin Horizons Travel in Dublin.
"We would have been swamped," Susan Schneider said.
"I'd love our phones to ring off the hook but I'm not expecting it."
In any case, Ohio State fans should be happy that their team has been chosen so often for a
major bowl, said Matthews, who also is selling a package for the Orange Bowl, where the University
of Cincinnati will be playing in its first BCS game.
"Talking to some of the travel agents in Cincinnati, it's like they're kind of mystified by the
whole thing. It's like, 'Oh, a bowl game can be a big deal? People would want to go to a bowl