Power programs travel to atypical venues in Week 3


It’s hard to fully appreciate just how passionate college football fans can be just by watching games on television. One has to witness a game-day atmosphere firsthand, particularly with games on college campuses, to get the true experience.

And this isn’t just the case for games at the big-name schools, the ones that are always ranked in the Top 25 and are perennial national championship contenders. Most FBS programs have their own loyal following, which makes for a fun day of football no matter where you are.

Last week, the spotlight was on those name brands, with games at places like Clemson, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Oregon that were must-see occasions (and garnered top dollar on the secondary ticket market). The slate of college football games this week still has plenty of big matchups at such venues, but instead of highlighting those again, we’re turning our attention to some lesser-known locales.

Using pricing figures provided by TicketCity, here’s a look at some great options for the savvy college football fan who might be interested in checking out a quality game off the beaten path:

College football’s best Week 3 ticket options

No. 12 LSU at Mississippi State

  • Where: Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, Miss.
  • When: Saturday, 7 p.m. ET
  • Average median ticket price: $104
  • How much to get in the door: $65

If you’ve never been to a game in “StarkVegas,” here’s a key piece of advice: bring earplugs. They won’t completely drown out the sound of Mississippi State’s famed cowbells, but it will help.

Artificial noisemakers are prohibited at pretty much every other college football stadium in the country other than here, thanks to a “cowbell compromise” rule the SEC has had in place since 2014. They can’t be used when action is underway, defined by “the time the offensive center is over the football until the play is whistled dead,” but at pretty much all other times you’ll hear tens of thousands of Mississippi State fans rattling the cowbells in solidarity.

It’s truly a unique experience, though not one that LSU’s players, coaches and fans aren’t used to. The Tigers visit Starkville every other season and have won eight straight in Davis Wade Stadium, their last loss coming in 1999.

Notre Dame at Boston College

  • Where: Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, Mass.
  • When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Average median ticket price: $141
  • How much to get in the door: $68

Notre Dame’s scheduling agreement with the ACC has taken it — and its far-reaching fan base — to some non-traditional locations in recent years. But the Fighting Irish had been visiting Boston College long before that, playing there eight times between 1994-2012.

And much like on those previous trips, tickets for the game are in high demand.

The last three Notre Dame games played at 44,500-seat Alumni Stadium were sellouts, and since 2008 those are the only games to sell out other than the game against eventual national champion Clemson last October.

Oregon at Wyoming

  • Where: War Memorial Stadium, Laramie, Wyo.
  • When: Saturday, 7 p.m. ET
  • Average median ticket price: $122
  • How much to get in the door: $70

It’s not every day that a power-conference program shows up at the stadium with the highest elevation (7,120 feet) in major college football. The last time it happened was 2011, when Nebraska played there in front of a crowd of 32,617, or about 3,500 more than War Memorial Stadium’s normal capacity.

More than 31,000 crammed in there for a 2009 visit from Texas and a similarly oversized crowd was on hand for the 2007 opener against Virginia. How many will show up when Oregon makes its first visit to Laramie?

Wyoming still has tickets available on its website starting at $80, though the secondary market has some available for a little less. Either way, the price is vastly higher than for other home games, even rival Colorado State.

No. 10 Wisconsin at BYU

  • Where: Lavell Edwards Stadium, Provo, Utah
  • When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Average median ticket price: $83
  • How much to get in the door: $33

BYU broke away from the Mountain West in 2011 to become an independent in college football, its goal to be like Notre Dame thanks to its religious affiliation and expansive alumni base. To that end, the Cougars have scheduled aggressively, lining up as many power-conference opponents as possible, resulting in some big names coming to Provo.

That started in 2013 with Texas and Georgia Tech, with Virginia visiting in 2014 and UCLA and Mississippi State coming in last season. The big non-traditional draw this fall is Wisconsin, which brings not only a top-10 team but a fan base that travels extremely well.

The last time the Badgers headed west for a regular season game was in 2013, when they lost at Arizona State. That game drew 66,155 to Sun Devil Stadium, the third-biggest crowd for ASU that season behind games against rival Arizona and the Pac-12 title game against Stanford.

Blue Blood Game of the Week

Texas at No. 4 USC (Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ET)

Arguably the greatest title game in college football history, it was nearly 12 years ago that Texas and USC met in the Rose Bowl and played an absolute thriller. The Longhorns prevailed 41-38 thanks to quarterback Vince Young’s game-winning touchdown run in the final seconds, preventing USC from repeating as national champs.

These blue-blood programs haven’t met since, since but thanks to a home-and-home series agreed to in 2010, they’ll face off this weekend at the Los Angeles Coliseum and next September in Austin, Texas.

Not surprisingly, the Texas-USC game is the most expensive ticket in the country ($188) based on median ticket price on the secondary market. That’s $43 more than the median price for Clemson’s game at Louisville and $59 more than the media price for the renewal of the Tennessee-Florida rivalry at The Swamp in Gainesville, Florida.

TicketCity has seats for as low as $72 for USC’s rematch against Texas, though most options will set you back at least $106.

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