Plenty of great seats are apparently still available for the 2009 Fiesta Bowl. The question on many minds is, "Why?"
Some are blaming the stagnating economy, while others are citing "Phoenix Exhaustion Syndrome" as the Buckeyes have been to desert five times in the last seven seasons. Five in the last seven!
My personal favorite excuse, from the article above, is that OSU's Winter Quarter starts on the day of the game (January 5, 2009), so some students may be shying away. Ummm...yea. As if. I will just throw out there that if the Buckeyes had run the table this year and were gearing up to play Oklahoma (or Florida, etc.) on SOUTH BEACH that most OSU students would suddenly be A-okay with missing "Syllabus Distribution Day, 2009." Call me crazy...
I think the most likely answer for the lack of interest, not in the game itself but in spending money on this game, is pretty simple:
Let's face it. You and I aren't the people buying up bowl packages. You and I can't swing $2,000-$3,000 every year to follow the Bucks to their bowl game. The people who could swing this trip this year are the same people who could swing it the last two years and are more than likely the same people who made the trip to USC in September. These folks, by the way, are also "recession-proof." When you have that kind of coin, dropping another $2,000-$3,000 (just like you did in September) is not a very big deal to you.
This boils down to disappointment over the outcome of the season (i.e. not playing in the National Championship Game), and the fact that the Buckeyes have gotten smoked the last three times they have been on the national stage (and failed to score a touchdown, if you count the Penn State game).
The fans who can swing a bowl trip, I am more than confident, would have had no problem forking over the dough had the Bucks landed in Miami or even Pasadena (assuming, if you follow my way of thinking, Pasadena was not going to be a re-match with USC).
It would seem then that the Buckeyes need, in the worst way, a win in Phoenix. If the outcome of the Fietsa Bowl resembles the outcome against USC, Florida, and LSU, then I will be saying the same (and then some) about USC next year (as being a "must-win").
Note, I am not saying, "OSU sucks because we can't compete when we play top tier teams." Not at all. I fully understand that there are about 10 teams in the Big Ten who would have gladly switch lives with us over the last 10 years.
However, the problem is that the traveling Buckeye fan is apparently starting to lose interest. This could mean that, long-term, "The National Stage" could become for Tressel (among the "what have you done for me lately/donor-types") what "Michigan" became for Cooper.
Let's hope not. It would be nice if the turn-around can start on 1-5-09. Go Bucks!