Maryland's football players are disappointed about their freefall in the bowl selection process.
So is coach Ralph Friedgen.
And so, especially, are Maryland fans.
So while Friedgen makes the argument fans need to show up to demonstrate there is support for his program, there's another take that needs to be offered up.
No one seems to be making it, though.
Let's suppose fans were willing to buy a roundtrip flight to Orlando (minimum $200), spend two nights around Disney (another $200), buy a ticket (most are $65 a pop, though some outside each school's ticket allotment are as cheap as $25), get around town somehow (go ahead and check out the rental car rates during that week) and buy a couple nice meals. That doesn't even account for things like parking at the airport and other travel incidentals.
That's a lot of numbers to toss around. How about a very conservative estimate of $550 for one person and $825 for two people to make that trip.
Meanwhile, at the Military Bowl, the best tickets are $90 (a bit pricey, and more on that in a bit) and upper bowl seats at $55. Parking is $20. One local fan could do that game in $75 plus concessions, while a couple could make it work for $130.
(There are $25 tickets available, but those don't appear to be included in Maryland's allotment. Crafty.)
The point is, if someone was willing to invest $550 or more (granted, for a nice getaway), why wouldn't they be willing to plunk down less than 15 percent of that for another game?
Sure, there are some obvious reasons. It will probably be cold, and that's valid. RFK Stadium is an architectural relic from a time cities believed seven-story cereal bowls could suit all their needs, though it's not unfair to describe the Florida Citrus Bowl as a Depression-era erector set. Facing a 6-6 team of any lineage doesn't generally feel like a great way to end a season.
But it's pretty clear economic reasons send Maryland reeling down the pecking order. And a rational economic argument --- if you would have been willing to pay seven times as much for another trip, why wouldn't you buy a ticket to this game --- probably should be considered.
That said, it's understandable why there might be some backlash to spending money on a pricey bowl:
|5.||Clemson||Meineke Car Care
(It should be noted Georgia Tech is selling half of its 10,000-seat allotment for $14; the other prices for the Independence Bowl are general public rates).
In any case, the best seats available as part of the school's ticket allotment are higher for Maryland than most of the other ACC fan bases. Sitting in the upper deck won't set Terps fans back as much as supporters of other teams in other venues.
Regardless of whether the Military Bowl tickets are costlier than they should be, Maryland is only going to do better in bowl selection in the future if it wins really big or its fans buy tickets now. And if they were willing to book flights and buy hotel rooms for a mini-vacation, it isn't unrealistic for Maryland to plead with those fans to spend a lot less money to provide the program a bump despite the general disappointment of playing in a cold-weather venue.