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Iowa, Iowa State Fans Gear Up for Bowl Trips

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Iowa and Iowa State football fans will be home for the holidays just long enough before many of them trade in their coats and snow pants for swimsuits and shorts as both teams head to bowl games in much warmer states.

The University of Iowa Hawkeyes will take on the University of Southern California Trojans on Dec. 27 in San Diego, California, at the Holiday Bowl.

The Iowa State University Cyclones will face off against Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Dec. 28 in Orlando, Florida, at the Camping World Bowl.

Cyclone fan Jimmy Inman said even though he can’t go to the bowl game, he is happy the team made it.

“I’ve been watching Iowa State for a while. They were bad for years, and now it's kind of cool that they are in the [postseason] every year, so it’s good to see at least,” Inman said.

Hawkeye fan Anthony Bianchi said he wishes he could escape to San Diego for the game to cheer on his favorite players.

“It’d be a lot better than being around here for sure. I think they’ve got a pretty good game and had a good year, so hopefully they enjoy the weather while we’re enjoying this snow,” Bianchi said.

The owner of HawkeyeNation, Joe Chmelka, said fans are already excited to cheer on the Hawkeyes at the Holiday Bowl, and seats on their trip are selling fast.

“I think life is kind of short and it’s a great opportunity to go out and go to a bowl game and be around a ton of people that maybe you don’t know but you obviously have something very, very cool in common with: the Hawkeyes. When you’re all there supporting your team, it’s a lot of fun. You meet new people,” Chmelka said.

He added that on their trip, they will be staying at the same hotel as the team, and it includes the plane ticket, a bus to take you around and the game ticket.

The owner of Cyclone Fanatic, Chris Williams, said Iowa State’s trip to the Camping World Bowl is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for Cyclone fans and they’ve already almost filled up an entire plane for their trip.

“There’s a lot of Iowa State fans who are probably Notre Dame fans because it’s such a big fan base and then just I think a lot of people are like 'oh, I can go check out Disney while I’m there.' There’s so much to do down there and it’s unique. Iowa State’s never been to a bowl game down in Florida, so for a lot of people it’s a once-in-a-lifetime type of deal,” Williams said.

And no matter who you root for or what side of the country you head to, fans say it means a lot to see their teams head to a bowl game.

“I’ve known a lot of these fans who follow my website for years and I've watched them suffer. Now they get to kind of reap some benefits, so that's the coolest part for me,” Williams said.

Chmelka said bowl games are a fun and unique opportunity.

“It’s like a reward for a great season. We like to take our kids, our family, go out and just have a great time,” Chmelka said.