UVA fans slow to bite on Gator Bowl tickets
With its location on the north Florida coast, Jacksonville has had its share of flooding over the years. But while the ocean has swallowed up its streets in the past, it doesn't look like Jacksonville will have to worry about getting flooded by the "Sea of Orange."
With only three weeks to go until kickoff on New Year's Day, UVA fans are not exactly clamoring for tickets to see their beloved Cavaliers take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the Gator Bowl. In a mass e-mail to the university community, athletic director Craig Littlepage reports that as of yesterday UVA has sold only 8,451 of its allotted 13,500 tickets. The message to Wahoo Nation accompanying this news was urgent.
"A perception that Virginia fans didn't 'travel' well hurt us in the bowl selection process," he writes. "A school's ability to sell out its ticket allotment is an important factor in the selection process for future bowl games, so it's important that the tickets allocated to us are sold."
For those uninitiated to the ways of the collegiate pigskin, generally speaking, the most traditionally prestigious (and lucrative) bowl games occur on or around New Year's Day. This will be the first time the Cavaliers will have taken the field on January 1 since the 1994 Carquest Bowl in Miami. Since then, the Wahoos and (some of) their fans have made postseason trips to such sun-and-fun-filled vacation destinations as Charlotte, Nashville, and Boise.
Not that Jacksonville has a much better reputation. In 2005, in a column anticipating Super Bowl XXXIX, held at the Jacksonville Jaguars' Alltel Stadium (now sponsor-less and known simply as Jacksonville Municipal Stadium), Washington Post sportswriter and ESPN commentator Tony Kornheiser wrote that the city boasts little more culture than a Hooters, a Dairy Queen, and an Applebee's, that in January it's "cold enough that you need to keep the space heater turned on in the double-wide," and the city as a whole smells so bad that a friend of his once deplaned there and "got a whiff of something that almost brought him to his knees."
So angry were Jacksonvillians with this characterization, that when Kornheiser returned to the city in 2006 for a Monday Night Football game, he did so with an armed police escort.
Fans wishing to purchase tickets to the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl can do so by calling 800-542-8821, going online, or in-person at the Scott Stadium box office.