When word came that the Iowa Hawkeyes were going to play Louisiana State in the Outback Bowl at Tampa, Fla., Joe Chmelka could look out the window at a consistent snowfall with a temperature of about 18 degrees.
He expected the weather to motivate Hawkeye fans to follow their football team to the Sunshine State for the school’s fourth appearance in the Outback Bowl.
“Well, it’ll definitely be warmer there,” joked Chmelka, president of the Polk County I-Club chapter. “I don’t think you need a much bigger reason than this weather to want to go.”
Chmelka expected plenty of Iowa black and gold at Raymond James Stadium.
“We didn’t go anywhere last year,” he said, referring to the Hawkeyes’ disappointing 4-8 campaign in the 2012 season. “I think people are excited. The wins over Michigan and Nebraska and the end of the season were outstanding. People are happy with how things are going with football, basketball and the whole program.”
BOWL PACKAGES: The University of Iowa, I-Club and U of I Foundation all plan to offer packages to the Outback Bowl. Other sports travel groups also planned trips to Tampa. Details of packages were not available Sunday, but check hawkeyesports.com, the official Iowa athletics website, for details today.
TRAVEL: One round-trip plane ticket between Des Moines and Tampa, Fla., leaving on Dec. 31 and returning Jan. 2 costs between $544 and $763, according to a search of online travel websites Sunday.
By car, Tampa is roughly 2,700 miles from Des Moines. In a vehicle that averages 25 mph for the trip with a national average of $3.26 per gallon of regular gas, expect the fuel cost for the trip to be about $705.
Also, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report, Florida has some of the highest gas prices in the nation, as high as $3.93 per gallon. Factor in higher fuel costs in Florida if you plan to do a lot of driving in Florida.
THINGS TO DO: Tampa is one of the premier vacation destinations in the U.S., so there’s loads of action.
Attractions include: Busch Gardens amusement park, Florida Aquarium, Lowery Park Zoo, Saddlebrook Golf & Tennis Resort, Ybor City Historic District, a high-end shopping and restaurant area, and Splitsville, a restaurant, bar, dance club and bowling alley all rolled into one on the Channelside Bay Plaza entertainment complex in downtown Tampa.
WEATHER: As previously mentioned, the best argument for a bowl trip is the weather. The average high temperature in Des Moines during January is about 30 degrees with a low of about 14.
In Tampa, however, the average January temperature is 70 degrees with a low of about 52.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football