Big Ten Football: 9 Games with the Most Expensive Tickets in 2013

David Fitzgerald IICorrespondent IJuly 9, 2013

Big Ten Football: 9 Games with the Most Expensive Tickets in 2013

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    Although possibly not as rich-blooded as those fans down south, Big Ten fans show plenty of passion every season by jacking up demand and ticket prices for big games. 2013 will be no different, as there are plenty of high-value games on the football schedule.

    The primary information for determining this list comes from StubHub, which has become one of the biggest resale markets available to fans. After reviewing each Big Ten game, the top six games with the highest overall ticket prices and the top six games with the highest minimum ticket price (the lowest amount an average Joe can pay to get in the game) were each ranked.

    Of those lists, three games overlap and easily stand out as the most expensive games for all levels of tickets. The others make up the remainder of the list, with an emphasis on games with the most expensive minimum ticket price because those games cost everyone big bucks. Plus, there are some strange birds at the top of the overall top ticket-price list.

    When considering the top overall ticket prices, clear placeholders or outliers were removed if they were over twice the cost of the next most expensive ticket. At this point in the preseason, these placeholder prices are silly in some places ($9,999 for Ohio State at Northwestern? Not going to happen). So those outlier prices are not included here.

    In addition, the recent analysis of mean (average) ticket prices from multiple resale sources conducted by TiqIQ and reported by Jon Soloman of AL.com was also used to confirm the analysis on a national level.

    But let's get on with it. Which Big Ten games will set you back significant cash in 2013? Here's a hint: They include games with teams who went undefeated a season ago.

9. Nebraska at Purdue

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    Maximum StubHub Price = $1,117 (ranks sixth)

    Minimum StubHub Price = $30 (not ranked)

    The first rotation of the cross-division schedules will occur this year in the final year of Legends and Leaders. Nebraska ironically pays a visit to Purdue, which will be a West Division foe annually in years to come. However, this will be a first Big Ten meeting between the schools.

     

    Why This Game Is Worth the Money

    Purdue has a new coach Darrell Hazell and a new direction, hoping to steal a big home upset against a brutal schedule including the Cornhuskers, Ohio State and Iowa. Nebraska has been known to lay eggs on the road, and West Lafayette is one of those upset-special kind of towns.

     

    Why This Game Is Not Worth the Money

    The minimum price says it all, as $30 is a steal for a major conference football game. This meeting has blowout written all over it, as Nebraska looks to win another division title while Purdue tries to find itself. Questionable games like this at the top of the overall price list show that money can't buy everything.

8. Ohio State at California

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    Maximum StubHub Price = $1,750 (ranks third)

    Minimum StubHub Price = $39 (not ranked)

    Although the series with California has not ended up as huge as others scheduled by Ohio State recently (Texas, USC), the Golden Bears still gave the Buckeyes a mighty scare early in the season in 2012. Braxton Miller willed his team to a 35-28 victory, which was a harbinger of the shootouts to come during the 12-0 season.

    Meanwhile, Cal stumbled to another losing record, which did in Jeff Tedford. Now, California will move on with Sonny Dykes and hope to get back in the mix with the likes of Stanford and Oregon in the Pac-12 North in a few years.

     

    Why This Game Is Worth the Money

    Northern California is absolutely beautiful in September, and Buckeye fans may want to become familiar with the road to this state later in the season when the Rose Bowl hosts the BCS Championship.

    The first road test is always interesting for major national title contenders, and Cal has enough talent to knock off the Buckeyes if they are not careful in this cross-country trip.

     

    Why This Game Is Not Worth the Money

    The club seats listed for nearly $2,000 better be very nice because you can see this game for less than $40. Plus, the likelihood of Cal being as competitive as a season ago seems unlikely.

    This is a mismatch on paper and that makes the expensive club seats probably not worth your while unless you plan to ride in style to all 12 Buckeye games this season.

7. Buffalo at Ohio State

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    Maximum StubHub Price = $2,841 (ranks first)

    Minimum StubHub Price = $106 (not ranked)

    No, we aren't kidding. This little slice of MACtion to start the season for the Ohio State Buckeyes has a significant number of tickets in the same ballpark as the top price of over $2,800. Perhaps, Buckeye fans are so deprived since late November that any football with their team is worth the price of gold.

    There is absolutely no way this becomes the next Appalachian State upset. Ohio State scuffles sometimes early against a MAC team (just like the first quarter-and-a-half against Miami in the 2012 opener), but this will be another blowout for the home fans to celebrate.

     

    Why This Game Is Worth the Money

    You can say that you saw Urban Meyer go to 13-0 all time as Ohio State head coach. In a normal season, that would mean you saw a conference championship or a BCS bowl, but not after the shortened 2012 season.

    Instead, this is just another bump on the road, and maybe you can switch one letter and claim the Buckeyes beat an NFL team (Buffalo Bills). Now THAT would be worth the price of admission.

     

    Why This Game Is Not Worth the Money

    This is a MAC school in an opening game for a paycheck. Unless you hold season tickets for the Buckeyes, there is absolutely no legitimate justification for spending that much money for this game. Of course, you may argue you are supporting student athletes, so perhaps, there would be some justification.

    Of course, this game could not end up as the top game on the list, hence why we now turn to the second big factor for our next three entries: highest minimum ticket price.

6. Michigan at Penn State

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    Maximum StubHub Price = $999 (not ranked)

    Minimum StubHub Price = $154 (ranked sixth)

    The last two times these teams got together in Happy Valley, Penn State throttled the Michigan Wolverines, as Joe Paterno opened up the offensive guns against the porous Rich Rodriguez defense in 2008 and 2010.

    This series took a short two-year break, but will be a big game back on the docket in the final year of Leaders and Legends rotation before both teams anchor the East Division starting in 2014.

    These are true blue bloods of college football, and the schedule felt a little empty without the showdown in the past two seasons.

    Penn State is in a dark period right now, and Michigan is coming out of one, but both teams are expected to be competitive, especially in a game at Penn State. This will be a huge test for Michigan as the cross-division schedule gets much tougher for 2013.

     

    Why This Game Is Worth the Money

    Anytime you can see two legendary programs face off in one of the biggest stadiums in the country, it is a really memorable experience. Having been to Beaver Stadium for raucous night games on a couple occasions, I can attest to this being a lively place to see a game.

    You may want to invest in some binoculars and some earplugs, though, as the layout of the stadium leads to some long sight lines.

     

    Why This Game Is Not Worth the Money

    One circumstance in which this game would not be worth it is if Penn State starts to really feel the pain of the scholarship reductions this season. If 8-4 was a positive aberration, then the Nittany Lions could be ambushed by a strong Wolverines team looking to finally win a division title.

    There is some blowout potential, which would make for a long drive and a sad result (Happy Valley is not close to anywhere...drive there and see what that means).

5. Michigan at Michigan State

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    Maximum StubHub Price = $980 (not ranked)

    Minimum StubHub Price = $180 (ranked fifth)

    Mean Price from TiqIQ = $276.39 (national rank of 26th)

    The long Wolverine Nation nightmare finally ended in 2012, as the four-game losing streak to the rival Michigan State Spartans finally ended. The defensive slugfest in Ann Arbor was not pretty to watch, but four field goals was enough as Michigan eked out a 12-10 victory.

    One would hope that both teams improve on offense during this season, as it will be difficult to perform much worse overall than the 2012 teams did.

    Mark Dantonio would love to keep his recent hex on the Michigan program, especially with many major recruiting battles starting to slip the way of Ann Arbor instead of East Lansing. A win here would be a program builder for the Spartans.

     

    Why This Game Is Worth the Money

    State bragging rights are a huge deal, especially when the professional sports scene is somewhat disappointing with the Detroit Tigers losing the World Series and the Detroit Red Wings not overcoming Chicago during the playoffs.

    These rivals will shift divisions together, and the Spartans would love to play spoiler, especially with a chance to compete for another conference title. At $180, that minimum is steep, but it will be a fun Saturday.

     

    Why This Game Is Not Worth the Money

    A mere 22 points is all these teams managed a season ago and only one touchdown. If you want some offense, this may not be the game to spend all that hard-earned money on. Plus, this game may have little effect or emphasis outside the state of Michigan if Northwestern and Nebraska stay solid.

4. Wisconsin at Ohio State

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    Maximum StubHub Price = $1,036 (not ranked)

    Minimum StubHub Price = $187 (ranked fourth)

    Mean Price from TiqIQ = $335.07 (national rank of 15th)

    Now the big games really start to hit, as this will be the top clash in the Leaders Division race for 2013.

    Wisconsin has picked up where the Jim Tressel decade of dominance left off, winning the last three conference championships while Ohio State went through a 6-6 season and a postseason ban. However, Ohio State has won the last two meetings, highlighted by the huge upset (at least in retrospect) in Columbus two years ago.

    It will be a real shame to see this budding rivalry go away when the divisions shift next season, as there is a real hatred building between these two powerhouse football programs.

    However, bragging rights for a few years are on the line, as Ohio State can claim domination even during Wisconsin's three-year run atop the conference if the Buckeyes keep beating the Badgers. A Wisconsin win would possibly lead to another appearance in Indianapolis, a remarkable achievement for the Badger program.

     

    Why This Game Is Worth the Money

    These teams typically play close games, with some high entertainment even if the offense only comes in spurts. Look for a lot of physical running between these teams and a ton of huge collisions if you like that sort of thing.

    The stakes will be enormous, and that means this ticket is likely worth every penny. That's also why this is the premium priced ticket for OSU athletics this football season ($45 more expensive than normal face value).

     

    Why This Game Is Not Worth the Money

    There's a slight chance Wisconsin undergoes serious growing pains under new coach Gary Andersen. If that happens, then the Badgers could possibly be falling out of contention by the time this game arrives. The Badgers will not lie down without a fight, but there is some blowout potential if Wisconsin comes in as unprepared as the 2010 Buckeyes were for a trip to Madison.

    That takes us to the final three games on the list, each of which ranks nationally in the top 15 for mean ticket price as well as in the top six for maximum and minimum ticket prices on StubHub. These following games are the biggest in the conference in 2013.

3. Michigan State at Notre Dame

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    Maximum StubHub Price = $1,324 (ranked fourth)

    Minimum StubHub Price = $222 (ranked third)

    Mean Price from TiqIQ = $348.36 (national rank of 13th)

    Well, it might not be a Big Ten game, but nothing screams Midwest big-time football like the September showdowns with Notre Dame. Purdue and the Michigan schools have made a killing playing against the Irish over the past decade, and hopefully, these series continue as much as possible in the new scheduling world post-2016.

    These two combatants have brought us some great memories, such as the "Little Giants" fake field-goal play that won the Spartans the game back in 2010. Mark Dantonio was not thrilled to see Notre Dame walk all over his Spartans in 2012, and he will have his team ready on the road in this one.

    Notre Dame may be a little weaker at quarterback without Everett Golson, but Brian Kelly will have another good team ready to compete for another BCS bowl again this year.

     

    Why This Game Is Worth the Money

    Usually a Saturday night showcase, these teams know how to put on a good show in the early weeks of the season when not much else is going on.

    The Spartans know that beating teams of this caliber will be required if real competition is to be had for the Legends Division crown, and this has upset alert written all over it. If the Spartans keep it close, do not count out the wily play-calling of Dantonio.

     

    Why This Game Is Not Worth the Money

    This series may be on a bit of a decline unless Michigan State can keep pace with the program Brian Kelly is building in South Bend. Michigan State was lifeless on offense a season ago, and Notre Dame is not losing every good player on that defense.

    Therefore, another low-scoring game that makes 20 points look insurmountable may occur again here. This is also a lot of money for an annual (non special event) non-conference game.

2. Notre Dame at Michigan

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    Maximum StubHub Price = $1,250 (ranked fifth)

    Minimum StubHub Price = $269 (ranked first)

    Mean Price from TiqIQ = $423.17 (national rank of ninth)

    Notre Dame was the king of the big escapes in 2012 on the way to a 12-0 regular season, and the 13-6 win over Michigan ended up being one of those great escapes.

    Michigan turned the ball over again and again, with Denard Robinson throwing five straight interceptions at one point in the middle of the game. Yet, the Wolverines kept it close and tight until the very end in this battle between bitter rivals.

    Although this game is still $200 short of the top national game, as far as mean price goes, anything in the top 10 likely indicates a great game between two huge college football powers.

    Considering Notre Dame is coming off a BCS Championship appearance and Michigan is on the rise, this will be a nice measuring stick for the Michigan program. Getting this game in front of the home crowd also means this will be an incredibly raucous and memorable game in Michigan Stadium.

     

    Why This Game Is Worth the Money

    It sounds like Michigan and Notre Dame will be taking an extended break soon from this series, so get in while the getting is good. Michigan has the opportunity to avenge three of the four losses from 2012, and this will be the first of those payback games (all in Ann Arbor).

    The Big House for a big game on the second college football Saturday will be hard to turn down, if you have the money to afford the tickets.

     

    Why This Game Is Not Worth the Money

    There are not a lot of reasons why this game is not worth the high asking price, although it is a non-conference, relatively meaningless game. Still, one of these teams will be effectively eliminated from the national title chase after this second weekend, so the highest dreamers in each fanbase will find the game important.

    The super-high price tag may be just a bit much, but there's a reason the tickets are so expensive.

1. Ohio State at Michigan

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    Maximum StubHub Price = $2,500 (ranked second)

    Minimum StubHub Price = $235 (ranked second)

    Mean Price from TiqIQ = $380.38 (national rank of 10th)

    "The Game..."

    Well over 100 meetings between these teams and each game has significance as a result of the important rivalry between these states and these programs.

    Michigan may hold the overall edge by a wide margin, but that margin was built early in the series, and Ohio State has dominated the last 12 years, only losing twice.

    This could be the first of two meetings in two weeks between these teams, but you cannot replace the passion of over 100,000 screaming home fans compared to the split crowd in smaller Indianapolis.

    Plus, it stands to reason that one or both of the teams will need this victory to secure that division title, which means the stakes will be huge for at least one team. If Ohio State (or Michigan) is playing for an undefeated season, so much the better.

    I do have some bias, having attended seven games between these two schools in the past 12 years. However, you simply cannot replace the atmosphere and greatness of this rivalry until you have seen it yourself firsthand.

    This is, quite frankly, the best game the Big Ten has to offer once again in 2013. The ticket prices reflect this return of the greatness of The Game.

     

    Why This Game Is Worth the Money

    Division and conference-title implications are likely for one or both teams, and possibly, a critical game on the path to the BCS Championship for either team as well.

    SEC fans are passionate, but they cannot pack the punch of over 110,000 screaming fans in "The Big House." The fans on both sides are pretty respectful overall, considering the significance of the rivalry, so it can be a fun trip no matter who you cheer for in the Big Ten.

     

    Why This Game Is Not Worth the Money

    On the high end, $2,500 is a little steep for three hours of entertainment. Although most fans on both sides are classy, there are some sleeper cells of the worst fans in the conference for both teams, and they unfortunately can come out for a big game like this.

    Getting in and out of Ann Arbor and paying this much money might not make sense when you can go see a dozen games, including some good ones, for the price of the ticket here.

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    Thanks for reading! You can contact me on Twitter @DA_Fitzgerald and see my other articles from my profile linked above. Please comment below and let me know which of these high-priced games you plan to attend, or which ones you are surprised aren't on the list.

    Until next week, enjoy those early college football previews. The season is only a few short weeks away!