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Cotton Bowl tickets tank -- and other travel tips for WMU

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Western Michigan quarterback Zach Terrell (11) celebrates with Austin Regan (93) after beating Ohio University for the MAC championship Friday night at Ford Field.

Hold your horses, Broncos.

Before you head over to the Western Michigan box office to purchase your Cotton Bowl tickets, you might want to consider your options.

Most notably, you might want to consider the secondary ticket market, which has crashed on the New Year's Six bowl because of a matchup that isn't exactly moving the needle -- Western Michigan vs. Wisconsin on Jan. 2 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Tickets at StubHub are going for as little as $6, and there is no shortage of cheap seats. Compare that to face value at WMUBroncos.com, which is selling its allotment for between $50 (students) to $200 a ticket.

Now, of course, the cheaper tickets are for the nosebleeds, and Jerry's World is huge. From those seats, which are technically in the fourth deck but might as well be on the moon, you'll be watching most of the game's action on the Jumbotron, which really gives new meaning to the word jumbo. But, hey, at least you're in the building for less than the cost of a fast-food value meal.

First-level sideline seats on StubHub are selling for well more, most upward of $200-plus, but end zone seats are in the $25-$35 range.

The Cotton Bowl was a big draw last season, but then again, it was a national semifinal, with Michigan State against Alabama.

Western Michigan is a neat story, at 13-0 and the Group of Five representative in the New Year's Six, but nationally, there's not a big draw there. And Wisconsin is 10-3 and arguably not even one of the top four teams from the Big Ten. Certainly, it's not among the sexist football teams from the conference.

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Here are some other travel tips:

Flights: They're not cheap. It appears the best value comes if you fly out of Detroit (DTW) on New Year's Eve and return Jan. 3. You can get a flight for a little more than $500, though those seem to be running out. The price is a little steeper on New Year's Day, unless you stay an extra day in Dallas; then you can get a flight for around $400, though you'll be paying for an extra night's hotel -- unless your friend can stand you crashing on his couch for 24 more hours. For West Michigan folks, you could save some money by flying out of Chicago O'Hare.

Things to do: Dallas is a neat city, and the John F. Kennedy tour is said to be outstanding. George W. Bush also has his presidential library on campus at SMU -- and regardless of your political affiliation, it's really well done. You can also check out a Dallas Mavericks game (home against the Washington Wizards on Jan. 3), or a Dallas Stars game (home against the Montreal Canadiens on Jan. 4).

Hotels: There are a bevy of options, at all price points -- from under $100 if you're just looking for a crash pad, to slightly higher for an assortment of Marriotts, to over $200 if you're looking for more amenities. The Omni is the absolute gem, and isn't far from Jerry's World.

'Dream come true': Western faces Wisconsin in Cotton Bowl

Souvenirs: Shops will be set up in several locales with WMU and Wisconsin gear. One tip: If you want to save a bundle, and don't need to wear a Cotton Bowl shirt to the game, do your shopping the day after the game. Items were marked way down last year following MSU's loss.

Transportation: Dallas is an Uber city, and that might be more convenient and cost-effective than a car rental.

Of course, you could just go for convenience and order a travel package through WMUBroncos.com. It'll cost you $795 (double) to $1,289 (single) for three nights in the team hotel (Gaylord Texan Resort), a game ticket, ground transportation to and from the tailgate and game, a commemorative souvenir and tour guides. That cost, however, does not include your flight.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter @tonypaul1984