Northwestern’s loss to Penn State on Saturday showed the importance of home-field advantage. Despite the setback, the ‘Cats are still in the hunt for the Big Ten Championship and possible Rose Bowl berth. With three road games left against Big Ten opponents, the team will need all of the support they can get against some of the loudest crowds in college football.
Traveling on road trips may seem like a complicated task, but there are many options for students to take advantage of.
The first step is purchasing the actual game tickets. Anyone can buy tickets from each school’s official athletic website, but ticket broker websites, such as StubHub, are selling tickets for as low as $29 for Minnesota, $65 for Michigan and $15 for Michigan State. Students can instantly download their tickets from their e-mail instead of waiting for snail mail.
Getting to the game, however, poses more of a challenge since most students don’t have cars on campus. Taking a train or bus is an affordable alternative. Amtrak runs from Chicago’s Union Station to stations in Ann Arbor and East Lansing, where Northwestern will be playing Michigan and Michigan State on November 10 and 17, respectively. The cost of tickets roundtrip is currently $64 to Ann Arbor and $48 to East Lansing.
Northwestern’s Wildside organizes bus trips for certain road games that students can purchase tickets for. Depending on the game, the cost is around $50 for the ticket and transportation. Last year, Wildside organized trips to Illinois and Iowa and is in the process of planning a football road trip this season.
“You get to see the most enthusiastic fans,” said Medill senior and Wildside Vice President Kelsey Stokes.
The trips last for one day with busses leaving early in the morning and returning after the game ends.
“It’s a long travel day, but it’s very rewarding,” said Weinberg senior and Wildside President Alex Wilcox.
If a quick one-day trip sounds unappealing, students can check into a hotel near campus. Rates start at $51 per night for the Michigan game and $44 per night for the Michigan State game. Students should purchase hotel rooms as early as possible since prices will likely increase and hotels will sell out rooms.
For larger parties, students can rent a bus for the day. Wilcox said that he knows of students that have rented buses in the past to travel to road games. Students can rent a bus from one of many bus companies, such as Chicago Classic Coach, the company that the school uses.
For road games that Wildside doesn’t plan trips for, the club still serves as a resource for students who plan to travel by obtaining tickets through the Northwestern Athletic Department and finding rides to away games. No matter the method, though, Wildside encourages students to make it to road trips.
“We always take it as our responsibility to get as many people out to the games, whether it’s a home game or an away game,” Stokes said.
While making arrangements may be stressful, students look back on their road game memories fondly.