CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- After eight consecutive bowl trips, a mid-week, pre-New Year's Day bowl seems to have tempered the enthusiasm of some Mountaineer football fans. But the West Virginia University Alumni Association's executive director said there will be plenty going on in Orlando next week.
Steve Douglas said there will be all the traditional fan events, and some new touches, leading up to the Champs Sports Bowl on Dec. 28. But he acknowledged it will be "a compressed series of events," as the bowl game falls immediately after the Christmas holiday weekend.
While ticket sales and fan enthusiasm have not been on a par with previous bowl trips, Douglas said he believes interest will pick up as the game nears, particularly with a large contingent of WVU alumni in central Florida.
"I'd be surprised if we didn't have 10,000 people there," he said.
The major event before the game will be the popular Mountaineer Connection fan event on Monday evening.
This year, the event will be at Legend's sports bar in Orlando, owned by former WVU and NFL kicker Charlie Baumann.
Douglas said Baumann plans to have many former players on hand for the event, which runs from 6 to 9 p.m.
He's invited many former players, from Darryl Talley on," Douglass said.
The event will also feature appearances by the Pride of West Virginia marching band, Mountaineer mascot Brock Burwell, and the WVU cheerleaders.
Another bowl game tradition will be the pre-game Fan Zone and the Tailgate Tent Party, both next to the Florida Citrus Bowl.
Admission to the Fan Zone, featuring entertainment, games and concessions, is $10. Admission to Tent Party, featuring a barbeque ribs and chicken dinner, a beer garden and a wine bar, is $65 for adults.