BOWL GRIDIRON: The road to Memphis

Alex Halsted

Some 664 miles southeast of Ames lies Memphis, Tenn., the home of the 2012 Liberty Bowl and Iowa State’s 12th bowl game in program history.

In late December, many will pack their cars and start south with friends and family to take in the Cyclones’ third bowl game in four seasons with Paul Rhoads as their ISU football coach.

On the mind of many — especially college students who are already burdened with student loans, rent payments and things of that nature — will be the details of each little cost that will be racked up during the course of a trip to the Volunteer State.


Using AAA’s gas average of $3.23 in the Midwest region, which will likely go up during the holiday season, a 664-mile trip at 20 miles per gallon would cost $107.24 both to Memphis and back to Ames. That brings a round trip on the highways to around $215 for gas.


Factor a hotel in between $90 and $130 per night, which a modest hotel in the area seems to go for. Most people will stay at least the night before the game Dec. 30 and probably after the game Dec. 31 since kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m.

Staying Dec. 29 would add an additional cost to the trip. 


For tickets, students are in luck.

While Iowa State’s ticket allotment to the Liberty Bowl is set at $55 apiece, the ISU athletic department is subsidizing $30 of that cost for students for up to two tickets. That means anyone with a student ID can go to the game for $25.

Driving alternatives

Instead of driving, there is the option of flying. Most people would fly out of Des Moines International Airport and, according to Orbitz, a round-trip flight from Des Moines to Memphis would cost around a minimum of $670. 

The cost with some airlines is closer to $800, making a trip through the air an expensive option.

A Greyhound bus round trip from Ames to Memphis would cost $265 for an advanced purchase and $345 for standard fare. One problem with this option is the long travel time, which Greyhound estimates at more than 21 hours due to its routes and stops.

One big package

The ISU Alumni Association is offering students the opportunity to purchase one big package to take in the bowl game.

Students would take a bus to Memphis, stay in a hotel from Dec. 29 through Jan. 1, 2013, and would receive a ticket to the game. 

The prices on this trip vary depending on how many people are going in a group: One person is $664 per person, two people would be $459 each, three people costs $399 each and four people would come in at $364 each.

‘Walking to Memphis’

For anyone who is curious, it would take 208 hours to walk to Memphis, according to Google. 

That would take just more than 8.5 days to get to Memphis from Ames without sleeping or taking breaks.

ISU fans have a few options when deciding how to travel to the Liberty Bowl. But, when they get there, in the words of Marc Cohn:

“Then [they’ll be] walking in Memphis… walking with [their] feet ten feet off of Beale… walking in Memphis.”