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Trip to Tallahassee can be tricky, expensive for OU fans

BY TRAVIS HANEY, Staff Writer, Modified: September 15, 2011 at 9:29 pm •  Published: September 15, 2011

Walker's group, which will include a friend, his 14-year-old nephew, brother-in-law and dad? It's heading from Dallas to Montgomery, Ala. – still 200 miles and about four hours from the FSU campus.

“Everyone's been ready for this game since Monday,” said Walker, who lives in Oklahoma City. “We couldn't wait for it to get here.”

They're not alone. The buzz for this weekend, the Sooner Club said, is approaching the level of the recent BCS championship games. It started a year ago, when Florida State visited Norman. It has only heated up since then.

OU has consistently scheduled a featured nonconference game early in the year. This one, though, tops even the Alabama, Washington or Oregon games, because of Florida State's similar standing in the polls.

“We have always felt that the traditional powers of college football share a responsibility to seek matchups of this magnitude to promote the rich history of the game,” OU athletic director Joe Castiglione said. “They're meaningful to the student-athletes and all participants, as well as fans who passionately support our programs.”

OU said this week it quickly went through its allotment of 7,000 tickets. That hasn't stopped a steady stream of calls into the Sooner Club offices, with fans looking for last-minute tickets. The school said its typical rule of thumb for big games is take the allotment and double it to determine the estimate for fans traveling.

Given the tricky trip this week, that number might be on the high side. It said about 10,000 Sooners fans are expected to be at Doak Campbell Stadium, which holds about 84,000.

OU fans are being asked to wear white, to stand out in contrast to Florida State's garnet and gold color scheme. The school did something similar for its 2003 game at Alabama, which features a similar hue to OU.

The location was a draw for 'Bama, as well as Washington and Oregon. This week is more about the game itself, which figures to shape the national championship picture.

“We get to watch two top-10 teams play, and all we've got to worry about is a test on Monday?” Walz said. “That's awesome.”

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