OT: NIU giving away free student tickets to Orange Bowl

Submitted by MikeCohodes on December 3rd, 2012 at 11:57 AM

Whether you think NIU should be in the Orange Bowl or not (for the record I'm in the not category) you gotta at least admire their Athletic Dept for doing a rather cool thing: they are giving their student tickets to the students for free. (story LINK)

The catches:  1 free ticket per valid student, you have to register in advance on a first-come first-serve basis, and you have to present ID to pick up your ticket in Miami on game day.

Apparently this is something they have been doing for awhile now, they've done this for the past 5 bowl games NIU has been invited to.

I cannot find if this is open to NIU grad students or only undergraduates (I am a grad student, working on my MBA there) but I would not be able to go as I do not have the money for airfare and a hotel anyways.

But for real though, how cool is this? NIU doesn't need some rich donor donating $375k to make this happen like ND, they just do it.  How can we get Dave Brandon to do the same thing?



December 3rd, 2012 at 11:59 AM ^

A nice gesture but I think tickets will be basically free to public if you look to buy in the week before gameday. Going to be one empty stadium.

Ali G Bomaye

December 3rd, 2012 at 3:12 PM ^

Terrelle Pryor did his part, but NIU also is in a BCS bowl thanks to the Big East, since Louisville finished behind NIU in the BCS standings.

On that note, who thought it was a good idea to guarantee a non-AQ school a bid if they finished 16th or better and higher than a conference champion?  By definition, a team ranked 16th in the BCS standings will be behind at least 7 other teams who don't make a BCS game.  Why would the non-AQ team deserve automatic priority over an AQ team (or vice versa)?  And if you want to give the non-AQ team to have some priority, why not limit it to teams in the top 10 or so?  As Boise State/TCU/Hawaii have proven, a non-AQ team that goes undefeated (or even has one loss, with a decent SOS) will certainly be in the top 10.

oriental andrew

December 3rd, 2012 at 12:03 PM ^

i'll have to ask my NIU friends if they're excited at all about the Orange Bowl.  Most of them don't really follow husky football.  In fact, a few of them are bigger Illini fans. 


December 3rd, 2012 at 12:03 PM ^

Considering how much money teams lose on typical bowls, I wonder if a school with a relatively small AD operating budget comes out way ahead by making a BCS bowl, taking that chunk of cash, and if they'll actually make money this way (even by not charging for student tickets)

Michael From TC

December 4th, 2012 at 2:08 AM ^

after the MAC splits its 18mil payout evenly with 12 teams (UMass is not getting any due to them being in transition year), the money spent on travel, hotel, marketing, and the 17500 mandated ticket allottment (of which they are giving away alot of them and will not even sell half of them) they will lose close to $2m, if not more, to go to the orange bowl.


but the AD and every one of the coaches will get huge bowl and bcs bowl bonuses for getting there.


the killer for the small programs is that they cannot sell the 17500 tickets they are forced to buy. even the major programs lose money on bowl games because they cannot compete with stubhub in selling the tickets they are forced to by at a certain price. so they still have to eat the tickets not sold.


December 3rd, 2012 at 12:06 PM ^

While I am sure both students that are going to the game are very excited about the free tickets, they are paying for there alotment of tickets either way.  I wonder how much NIU is paying for the empty seats.

Perkis-Size Me

December 3rd, 2012 at 12:09 PM ^

this is a joke of a game. the bcs totally dropped the ball on this. i'd take oklahoma over frickin niu every day of the week. but the orange bowl has had a tendency to be a joke of a game the past few years. why stop now? even fsu shouldn't be able to screw this game up.


December 3rd, 2012 at 12:28 PM ^

At that point the benchmark will be "Does Team X deserve to be in the playoff?" like is is now for basketball and not "Does Team X have a legitimate claim to being the No. 1 team in the country?"  The regular season will be greatly devalued at that point, as will the non-playoff bowls (though they already will be b/c of the four-team playoff). 


December 3rd, 2012 at 12:43 PM ^

Not a fan of all this "devaluing the regular season" stuff. Sure, every game matters, but tell me that teams aren't rewarded for just scheduling cupcake non-conference teams, rolling through those games, and then just having to win out the conference. Look at OSU. Haven't played a team in the top 15, right? Sanctions aside, they had to have a pretty good shot at the BCS title game, or risk being Auburn 2.0, and I just can't see the human voters not putting an undefeated Big Six conference team at #2 in this scenario, just based on that perfect record.

Michigan, on the other hand. What if we beat Nebraska? Our only losses would be to the top three teams. How do we know we're not the 4th best team or somewhere in the top 8 still? Assuming we would have lost the B1G title game to OSU, would we have even been given a bid to the 8 team playoff despite that strength of schedule (4 losses to the top three teams ONLY)? Or would the SEC claim superiority and take it from us?

Lots of hypotheticals, but I think it's too well known that regular season SCHEDULING is already too important of a factor. It's why I'm for a playoff. If a team can win 3 games in a row against top teams, they deserve to be national champions. The challenge is then finding a way to get a big win or a conference title to earn your spot. If team X doesn't really deserve to be in the playoff, then they lose first round and nobody remembers or cares about it.




December 3rd, 2012 at 1:02 PM ^

Michigan had its chances against three of the best teams in the country and lost each time.  Why give them a chance to play ND, Alabama, or OSU again?  People treat a playoff as if it's more definitive than a regular season game, but why is that so?  The winner of a tournament is nothing more or less than the winner of  a tournament - it's not necessarily the best team.

College football is special in large part because a game in September can be as important as a game at the end of the year (that and rivalries).  Take that away, add a dash of conference realignment that matches up teams like Nebraska & Maryland, and college football is nothing but the NFL, Jr. 


December 3rd, 2012 at 1:21 PM ^

"People treat a playoff as if it's more definitive than a regular season game, but why is that so?  The winner of a tournament is nothing more or less than the winner of  a tournament - it's not necessarily the best team. "

I'm going to argue against your straw man and say that the idea of a playoff isn't to decide the "best" team.  It is an opportunity to give the best teams an opportunity to prove it on the field.  Human voters and computers probably can get much closer to getting the top 6-8 teams correct than they can the top two.  At least there is a little bit more wiggle room since the 7th best or 9th best teams have a much weaker argument that they deserve a chance.


December 3rd, 2012 at 12:48 PM ^

that is coming.  And it's speculative what an 8 team playoff would be like, and where'd they play.  So I don't know if it would solve any of these problems. What makes one think that a playoff with 8 teams wouldn't have an anti-trust requirement to allow a non-qualifier team in if they had a certain rank? And we've already seen the Big Ten and Pac-12 protect the Rose Bowl, so I'm not sure that keeps Wisconsin out.  Not to mention the multitude of problems it creates on top of that which are already pointed out.


December 3rd, 2012 at 1:16 PM ^

I'm always confused about this. If the Big Ten, SEC, ACC, Pac and BXII decide to form a league and play a series of postseason games against each other, is that an antitrust issue? I can't for the life of me understand how that's any different than AHL or KHL teams not getting a shot to play for the Stanley Cup, or how Western Michigan can't play for the Big Ten championship.


December 3rd, 2012 at 3:29 PM ^

It's more the threat of an issue that keeps them in line.  I don't know that if the Senator from Utah decided to try and bring hearings in front of Congress because Utah State was left out that any law they put out would even be upheld.  Or frankly, passed. But they don't want the fight, or more importantly, all the scrutiny. Because then people look at how "professional" the "amateur" NCAA treats all those $$$$. And they don't want that spotlight.  But the opening to make noise about it is there because unlike the NHL, these are mostly "public" universities receiving tax dollars. So that gives them an in to "protect our interests." (i.e., grandstanding)

User -not THAT user

December 3rd, 2012 at 1:33 PM ^

They honored the rules that were set at the beginning of the season.

If you want to tell me the rules are whack, that's fine.  But it's not NIU's fault that the level of competition in FBS play (particularly the B1G, unfortunately) is so godawful this year that they end up ranked in a position to be overcompensated for what was "a nice little season" in the MAC because there weren't enough other good teams in the BCS conferences to keep them out of the Top 16.

The worst thing about this isn't that it leaves "Big Game Bob" and the Sooners out of the BCS...it's that it effectively wrecks two bowls; the Orange (which with a Big East-ACC tie-in was always going to suck ANYWAY) AND the Sugar, which gets stuck with the Big East champ against one-loss ESS EEE SEE lurker Florida.

But again, them's the rules.  And the "playoff" we've got coming in 2014 isn't necessarily going to be any better. 

Arrogant MichMan

December 4th, 2012 at 11:34 AM ^

but a playoff will not work either.  I laugh at everyone who say NIU is a "joke" for being in a BCS game.  This is the exact same situation that can happen any given year.

Let's say we end up with 4 Mega-conferences like everyone tells us we will have.  Then the winners of each conference gets seeded 1-4.  Take Wisky this year.  They would be a number 4 seed.  1) ND 2) Bama 3) Stanford 4) Wiskey. 

Wiskey is playing very well.  Lets just say they continue their hot streak and win it all in this situation. 

Does anyone really think a 5-loss Team is the "best" team?  We will call them National Champions.  They will get to hoist the trophy.  But are they the "best" team?  The hottest team?, yes but not the best.

The BCS gives us #1 vs #2.  There is not debate about it.  This is guaranteed to happen.  There cannot be any suprises.  NIU cannot get into the title game.  Wiskey could not get into the title game regardless of how hot they are.

So do we want the "hottest" team or the "best" team?

I am actually taking some schadenfraude with this situation.  NIU is a joke but we will get this same situation with a playoff.  So everyone who supports a playoff, get ready to start bitching again.


December 3rd, 2012 at 12:25 PM ^

I couldn't care less that OU (or whatever team you choose) is a more powerful team full of 4- and 5-star studs. There's only one game that I'll have a stronger rooting interest in than UM-SC, and that's this game.


December 4th, 2012 at 11:40 AM ^

with you Don.  This is is going to be my 2nd favorite game.  I have said for several years on this board that a playoff will not "solve" anything.  This is a perfect example.  The method of choosing the top 4 teams will guarantee not to pick the 4 best teams everytime.

Then when there is a really hot team that gets in and kicks ass, everyone will be saying "we need an 8 team playoff to stop this from happening"


Ali G Bomaye

December 3rd, 2012 at 3:19 PM ^

Other than their inexplicable loss to NC State and a loss to #3 Florida in which FSU led in the 4th quarter, FSU beat 9 of their other 11 opponents by 13 points or more.  On the other hand, NIU lost to Iowa and beat Army, Kansas, Toledo, and Kent State by less than one score each.  NIU is going to get smoked.

Avant's Hands

December 3rd, 2012 at 3:57 PM ^

Just like Utah was going to get smoked by Alabama. Not saying it definitely won't happen, but that's why they play the game. And yes Florida State does have a reputation for blowing games they shouldn't, much like Clemson does.

Ali G Bomaye

December 3rd, 2012 at 10:01 PM ^

That Utah team was undefeated against a much tougher schedule than NIU played, including wins over #7 TCU, #18 Oregon State, and #25 BYU.  NIU's only win over a ranked team was last week's OT win over #25 Kent State, and as I previously mentioned, they lost to an incredibly crappy Iowa team.  Claiming NIU has a chance because this one upset happened a few years ago is disingenuous, because they don't have much in common with 2008 Utah.


December 3rd, 2012 at 12:33 PM ^

http://www.collegefootballpoll.com/bowl_games - this site lists the per team (and by extension, in many cases, per conference since they split the money) payouts this year, and the Orange Bowl is listed at an estimated $17 million, so I imagine they are very excited for an over $1.3 million payday, assuming the MAC splits the money between the teams. This is a conference that doesn't walk into those opportunities on a regular basis.

In reality though, this is a great gesture by NIU, and hopefully they represent their school as best they can in Sun Life Stadium. This is nice opportunity for them and it seems like they will make the best of it.


December 3rd, 2012 at 12:54 PM ^

Last night on the bowl selection show Jesse Palmer said straight up that so many other teams deserved the BCS over northern Illinois. Then he started naming teams and the first on out of his mouth was Michigan. Smart guy, smart bachelor.

Moonlight Graham

December 3rd, 2012 at 1:09 PM ^

didn't set the threshold at 12 or 14. Didn't Michigan need to move up above 14 to be considered for the Sugar Bowl last year? Perhaps I'm mistaken, but in the case of these non-AQ conferences I'm surprised the bar wasn't set at 12. That would guarantee only undefeated teams with a strong win over an AQ'er would get in. I suspect it would not have locked out Utah, Hawai'i, Boise State or TCU in the past either. 


December 3rd, 2012 at 2:39 PM ^

Since schools are forced to eat tickets to bowls, they might as well give them to students and make a better showing.  It creates goodwill all around, and the adults who are going to "travel" still do.  

It would be interesting to know how much revenue they are actually losing by this.  I am guessing it isn't nearly as much as it looks.  The only true lost revenue would be from tickets given to students who would have paid for them.  

I like the move, though.  The NCAA constantly tries to feed the public a line of BS about how sports is really "all about the students."  NIU is putting their money where the NCAA's collective mouth is.  


December 3rd, 2012 at 4:50 PM ^

Amazing how cheap the tickets are on stubhub! Looking forward to making the trip down to check out the game. Would love to be able to hit the Outback Bowl earlier that day and then the Orange Bowl at night. I think the times of the games may be 1pm and 8:30pm. Would be a great day! Just depends on how long it would take to go from Tampa to Miami. Would probably be too tight to make both.