IOWA CITY — Iowa Hawkeye football fans didn’t luck out with a warm and sunny bowl destination this year.
In fact, those who traveled to the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium in New York faced much of the same weather as those who stayed closer to home: cold.
Except here, the only thing cold inside the sports bars where fans huddled Wednesday evening to watch the game on TV was the beer.
“It’s warmer,” said Laura Knockel, of North Liberty, who came with friends to watch the game at Joe’s Place in downtown Iowa City.
She was one of dozens of fans dressed in black and gold who lined the long, thin bar at Joe’s Place before the glow of a handful of TV sets.
Even on a weeknight some other time of year, the downtown streets would be buzzing with activity. But most University of Iowa students who pack the bars on other game days are on winter break until classes resume Jan. 16.
Knockel, along with friends Ashley Beckman and Hannah McManus, ruled out going away for the game — there is the busy holiday travel season, coupled with the cost of doing up a trip to New York right, exacerbated more by the cold. Forecasters said wind chill brought the temperature outside at the game around kickoff time down to the teens.
And Boston College?
“You don’t hear much about Boston College. Hopefully we can beat them. That’s I guess what matters,” Knockel said.
Indeed, Iowa did beat Boston College 27-20, clinching its first bowl game since 2010.
Su and Michael Zenishek, of Solon, brought their dog, Cody, who they said is a therapy dog at the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital, and a puppy, Chase, with them to watch the game at Joe’s Place.
They said they often watch away games at sports bars and tailgate with the dogs for home games. The couple said they didn’t really think about going to the Pinstripe Bowl.
“Might as well be here,” Su Zenishek said, adding that she’d like to go to a bowl game someday but has yet to attend one. “I feel like there’s too many bowl games. I would rather have a lesser number and have them be big bowl games.”
Like the group of friends and the Zenisheks, many Hawkeye fans chose to stay home this time. The university sold just about 1,000 tickets of its 7,500 allotment.
Boston College, on the other hand, sold all of its 7,500 tickets,
Those figures paint a very different picture from just a year ago. When the Hawkeyes played in the Outback Bowl last season in Tampa, Fla., Iowa said it was “very pleased” with its ticket sales, which reached almost 7,000 by mid-December.
Ryan O’Brien, a UI graduate, said he felt “lukewarm” about Iowa being picked for the Pinstripe Bowl. He said he had gone to the 2011 Insight Bowl in Tempe, Ariz., where Iowa ended up losing to Oklahoma. But he didn’t consider attending the Pinstripe.
“Not this year,” O’Brien said. “Just because of the distance.”
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