* It occurs to me that there may be several NIU grads out there who might want to gloat a bit about the Huskies…
Dave LaCerra’s Mount Prospect basement is covered in Northern Illinois University football memorabilia, including a piece of the goal post from a big 1983 game (in which he played for the NIU Huskies), framed prints, a collection of hats from every NIU bowl game, and game ticket stubs stapled to the ceiling. This week, he added a small Christmas tree decorated with Huskies ornaments.
“I bleed Huskie red,” said LaCerra, 48.
Naturally, LaCerra will be traveling to Miami to watch NIU play Florida State in the Orange Bowl Jan. 1.
Whether there’ll be enough Huskies fans to fill the other 17,499 seats allotted for NIU in Sun Life Stadium remains to be seen. On average, an NIU football game draws about 16,000 fans, a school spokeswoman said. The university has about 22,000 students, along with an estimated 190,000 alumni in the Chicago area alone.
Getting them to the team’s Bowl Championship Series debut isn’t a question of ticket price or availability. Student tickets are free, and non-student tickets start at $75. But booking a last-minute trip to Miami over the New Year’s holiday isn’t cheap, with airfare from Chicago to Miami running around $500 and rooms getting harder to find.