Which city will football take the band to?

By Allyson Kloster

Shockingly enough, Illinois’ bipolar weather wasn’t the main topic of conversation during the Saturday Illinois-Iowa football game. Instead, it was Christmas.

No, it had nothing to do with how retail stores already lined their shelves with Santa Claus paraphernalia.

What Illini fans tried to understand was why anyone would want to spend Christmas in Detroit. Unless you have family there or are obsessed with cars, the prospect of attending the Motor City Bowl the day after Christmas is not too exciting.

Still, it’s a bowl game. Although many of my friends in the Marching Illini are considering going on a “family vacation” on Christmas to avoid spending the day on a bus or in rehearsal, it still could be fun.

But as we were trying to keep our hearts from attacking us as the Illini barely maintained its lead over the Hawkeyes, my fellow “bandos” and I discussed the possibilities of how we could avoid going to Detroit but still go to a bowl game.

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We’d like to say we only care about the football game, but that would be a lie. Sure, the Rose Bowl was awesome, but the trip would’ve felt like a hit-and-run had we hopped off our chartered airplanes to march eight miles in a parade, play at the game and then return to Champaign.

Our visit would’ve been shorter than the In-N-Out menu. Although the items on the menu speak for themselves, it never hurts to have other options to choose from.

That said, I think the bowl experience involves more than just football.

Let’s take a look at where the Illini could potentially go, and whether there’s much to do outside the stadium.

If the season ended today, the Illini would be sixth in the Big Ten, with Penn State nabbing the top bill.

Penn State would end up at the Rose Bowl, since the BCS Championship Game would be reserved for No. 1 and No. 2, Alabama and Texas Tech.

That leaves six bowls for the other Big Ten teams to fight for. Of the remaining six slots, we’d slide into the fifth one, the Insight Bowl in Tucson, Ariz., Dec. 31.

Phew. The game is the day before New Year’s, which means that after we win, we’ll be able to enjoy News Year’s Eve without worrying about waking up at 4 a.m. the next day for a parade.

Without leaving Tucson, Ariz., I’m not sure what there is to do. But if you’re up for it, I recommend visiting the cheesy but awesome city of Tombstone, Ariz. For every resident, there are 300 tourists.

If every Illini fan visited, imagine how we’d mess up those stats and help out a struggling town. Heck, you can see famous Wild West sights like the O.K. Corral and Boot Hill Cemetery.

If the Illini finish in fifth, we’ll go to the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando, Fla., Dec. 27.

Although Orlando has Disney World, Disney is so last season. I’d rather spot Juice wearing Ugg boots than go to Hannah-Montana-World again.

Who am I kidding? The best thing about Disney is that as you get older, it stays the same age. It’s classic.

If for some reason we end up edging out Minnesota and Northwestern for the fourth spot in the Big Ten, we’ll be heading to the Valero Alamo Bowl in San Antonio on Dec. 29.

I was in San Antonio this summer, and I’d love to go back. The city has Texas’ No. 1 tourist attraction, the River Walk. You can Google it, but it won’t do it justice.

Don’t forget the Alamo and Austin, Texas, is an hour away, so there’s no excuse for missing the state’s hippy capitol.

I won’t waste time commenting on the Capital One Bowl or the Outback Bowl. We won’t make second or third place.

But that doesn’t matter. No matter what city our team takes us to, we’ll all come up with something fun to do.

Who knows, maybe Christmas in Detroit won’t be so bad after all.

Allyson Kloster is a senior in Media. She can be reached at [email protected].