Call it a case of overconfidence, but some Badgers football fans are already booking tickets to the Rose Bowl.
Oh sure, the football team still needs to beat current-nemesis Michigan State in the inaugural Big Ten Conference title game before securing a Rose Bowl berth, but that's just a mere formality in some fans' eyes.
"I'm very confident they're going to win on Saturday," said Linda LeCoultre, of Waunakee, who reserved a spot to Pasadena with her husband through Burkhalter Travel. "I really am. I feel that they've got something to prove and they're going to do it."
For LeCoultre — a season ticket holder who has never been to a Rose Bowl — it's a low-risk strategy. Burkhalter and other travel agencies promise a refund on a down payment if the Badgers lose on Saturday.
But for those who are focused on the task-at-hand, beating Michigan State, some companies are also offering trips to Saturday's championship game in Indianapolis.
Badger Trips, a student-started company, will take fans by bus the six hours to Indianapolis and put them up at a hotel for $150, as long as they're willing to share a room (ticket prices go up to $400 for your own room). Game tickets are not included but can be added on.
Taylor Horsager, a UW-Madison sophomore and manager at Badger Trips, said students see this game as an opportunity for redemption after a heart-breaking loss on a Hail Mary pass against Michigan State. That, plus the loss against Ohio State, ended early-season dreams of playing in the national championship game.
"A lot of students are seeing this as a chance to take hold of the potential season we'd seen earlier this year," he said. "Now's our chance to repay Michigan State and prove to the country we're a contender."
Student tickets for Saturday’s game are sold out. The university had approximately 2,000 tickets remaining from its allotment of 15,000 from the conference, which will be sold through Ticketmaster beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday. Student tickets sold for $40. Seating for the public ranges from $80 to $175.
The Wisconsin Alumni Association sold out spots on its round-trip tour to Indianapolis on Monday. It will host a pep rally, along with UW Athletics and the National W Club, before the game at the Indianapolis Convention Center featuring Bucky Badger, the UW Marching Band and spirit squad.
The alumni association is waiting until after Saturday's game to open up sales to a bowl game, but not so for other agencies.
Both Burkhalter and Middleton Travel have already started advertising Rose Bowl packages, ranging from $2,195 to $2,445 per person.
"I think we're all betting on the Badgers," said Scott Mast, executive vice president at Burkhalter.
Mast said the company doesn't expect as much of a response this year as last year because it would be the Badgers second trip in a row. He said he noticed a dramatic drop-off in interest for the 2000 Rose Bowl after the Badgers went the prior year.
But fans like LeCoultre, 61, who has never been to a Rose Bowl, the possibility is still a prize.
"I have a good feeling that they're going to do well and that we'll be going," she said.