MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Many Minnesota Gopher football fans are rowing the boat to Florida to ring in the New Year.

The University of Minnesota takes on Auburn in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1 in Tampa Bay — and they’ll be joined on the field by some local high school students, too.

Gopher superfan Chelsea Breza-Berndt booked her ticket to Tampa — the night before the Outback Bowl team announcement.

“After the game got announced, I’d say within two hours flight prices jumped up,” Breza-Berndt said.

She paid $616 for her ticket on Saturday. That same trip Monday was $1,557.

But after attending every home and away game this season, except for one, she wouldn’t dream of missing this game.

“When we started the year, I think this was the hope that we would end up here,” Breza-Berndt said.

As of Monday evening, game tickets for fans and students are going for $80 on the University’s website, but WCCO saw tickets as low as $69 on third-party sites Monday.

If you want to fly nonstop to Tampa, round trip tickets start at about $700. But keep in mind, Orlando is just over an hour drive, and Fort Myers takes about two hours. Those prices are much more reasonable.

Armstrong High School Marching Band (credit: CBS)

Robbinsdale Armstrong High School’s marching band will also be heading to Tampa Bay with the Gophers. Musicians from the school, located in Plymouth, will perform during the Outback Bowl Halftime Show.

This may be the first trip the Gophers will make to the Outback Bowl, but this will be the fourth trip made by this band. They will be joined by several more school bands, and hundreds of dancers, during the “Coca-Cola Halftime Show.”

“Armstrong will be proud to not only represent Robbinsdale Area Schools, but also the entire state of Minnesota,” said band director Todd Burkholder

They actually committed to going a whole a year ago.

READ MORE: Gopher Football Head Coach P.J. Fleck Named 2019 Big Ten Coach Of The Year

“Even before the season we were like, ‘Could they be good enough to play a premiere New Year’s Day game?’” Burkholder said. “It’s so cool we’re going to be down there with the Gophers.”

Drum Major Rile Raddohl was flabbergasted by news that the Gophers would be joining them in Tampa Bay.

“She was like, ‘The Gophers are going to Florida!’ I was like, ‘No way!’” Raddohl said.

Looks like the Maroon and Gold will have plenty of support, hundreds of miles from TCF Bank Stadium.

“The pressure’s on now that Minnesota is going to be there,” Raddohl said.

There are official fan travel packages people can book through the university. There are also local watch parties around the metro if you can’t make the trip this time. Click here for more information.

Erin Hassanzadeh

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