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The 2014 National University Holiday Bowl will feature the University of Southern California Trojans against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The Trojans will be representing the Pac-12, considered by many to be the most talented and well-rounded conference this season. Meanwhile, Nebraska will be representing the Big Ten, a conference that has been ostracized right from the beginning of the season due to a few major losses in non-conference games.

Both conferences will be sending a representative to the 2015 College Football Playoff Semifinals, though both USC and Nebraska did not do enough to get them one of the four top seeds. After starting 5-0, the Cornhuskers fell at Michigan State in a primetime game that would have put them squarely in the national title conversation. Three straight wins following the loss got them to 8-1, but they limped down the stretch, losing to both ranked opponents remaining on the schedule, and narrowly beating Iowa.

sThe weak performance against ranked teams was enough to fire head coach Bo Pelini, a move that left many players frustrated and surprised.

So the Cornhuskers will face the 24th ranked Trojans without their coach of the past half-decade. USC had arguably the best win of the young season when they beat Stanford on the road on September 6th. But the era of good feelings lasted just a week as they traveled to Boston College and got upset by the Eagles. Their schedule down the stretch proved to be too tough as they were able to get quality wins against Arizona, and Notre Dame, but lost to Arizona State, Utah, and rival UCLA.

Despite the somewhat disappointing endings for each team, the Holiday Bowl is one of the most sought after tickets for any bowl game this season. The cheapest Holiday Bowl tickets available at TiqIQ.com start at $86. The current average price for tickets available on the secondary market is $193, far more expensive than any of the previous four bowl games. Last year’s Holiday Bowl, which featured the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the Arizona State Sun Devils, had an average price of just $71, fifteen bucks cheaper than what it takes just to get in the stadium this year.

Hotels near Qualcomm Stadium start at just $69, according to Hipmunk.com. Hipmunk has seven hotels with rates beginning for less than $100 per night, so staying near the stadium should not be too expensive for Nebraska or USC fans. Trojans supporters will luckily be able to get to the game just by driving, but most Huskers fans won’t be as fortunate. Flights at Hipmunk begin at almost $700 round trip from Omaha to San Diego so Nebraska will be hard-pressed to have as much support at the game due to the travel costs.

The high ticket price is most likely due to the fact that USC will be participating as the Trojans’ campus is just a two to three hour drive away from campus. The last time the Holiday Bowl featured a team in such close proximity was in 2012 when UCLA played Baylor. While tickets weren’t as expensive, the 2012 Holiday Bowl had an average price of $161 and was the only other Holiday Bowl of the past five years to have an average price exceed triple digits.

Of the two, only Nebraska has ever participated in the Holiday Bowl before. That came four years ago, when the Huskers faced off against the Washington Huskies. Tickets were much cheaper that game as the average price was just $95, just a little north of 50% what it costs – on average – for tickets this year.

The Trojans are a 6.5 point favorite with a week to go before the game, despite the fact that USC enters the game with an inferior record. USC has undoubtedly faced a much more difficult schedule this year, although Nebraska will have an opportunity to prove to the general public that the Big Ten wasn’t as weak as everyone made them out to be. As an underdog in what is essentially a “road” game, Nebraska will need to be extremely focused to get the victory.

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