The Stuben Travel Agency: Ball State and Temple

Hey, when was the last time I saw you? Oh yeah, I remember WHEN WE KNOCKED YOU OUT OF THE NCAA TOURNAMENT BWAHAHAHA SUCKER MASCOT OWNED!!!

Many of you might already know Mike Stuben, as he's been a USF Athletics ticket sales representative for the last 15 years. Mike left USF just last month, which is bad news for the Bulls as his passion and talents will be missed. But it's great news for us and our readers, because we're going to put him to work around here where we can.

Mike has been traveling to Bulls games wherever they are played since before we even had a football program. The overwhelming majority of the time, he's done it on his own nickel. But the travel bargains he's found over the years have become legendary amongst his friends. And if a bargain or great deal to a Bulls destination pops up this summer, we'll let you know about it... as soon as we book it for ourselves first.

September 22nd USF at Ball State

Closest Airport - IND Indianapolis, IN - lots of great deals into Indy. My target price for a roundtrip from Tampa to Indy would be $185, but at times it drops even lower.

Alternative Airport CMH Columbus, OH and CVG Cincinnati, OH and DAY Dayton, OH all can work, but no need to look very far, always great deals into IND.

Hotel Thoughts - Take some time to think about staying in Indianapolis vs. Muncie. Muncie will give you a college town feel. Indy will have lots more to do and many more hotel options.

Things to do - A tour of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a great couple of hours. The official tour includes a lap on the track (as a passenger on a bus). The NCAA is headquartered in Indy, so is their tourist attraction, The NCAA Hall of Champions. I'll also mention that downtown Indy is a great model of a thriving downtown with shopping, food, drinks and sports all in walking distance to each other.

And check out Stuben's advice for Temple after the jump:

October 6th USF at Temple

Closest Airport - PHL - Philadelphia, PA (non-stops from Tampa on US Airways and Southwest)
Alternative Airport(s) - BWI - Baltimore Washington isn't too far down the road, between these two airports tons of good deals exist. NY airports will work too. If you want to center your trip around Atlantic City, then take a look at Spirit too.

Hotel Thoughts - First you have to pick if you want this trip centered around Philly, DC, NYC or Atlantic City, plenty of hotels in each of those cities. Remember to consider parking costs if you stay downtown.

Things to do: You can run up the steps of the main branch of the public library, Rocky Balboa style. Be sure to see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, its both interesting and free! Take notice of Franklin Field on the campus of Penn, it is the oldest football stadium in America. (USF will visit the second oldest stadium later this season when the Bulls play at Nippert Stadium at Cincinnati.) Valley Forge is a very short drive away, and you can see where General Washington set up camp and battled the elements before leading his army to victory over the British. Gettysburg is about 2.5 hours away.

Atlantic City is a short drive away. You can gamble, take a stroll on the boardwalk or just drive around and read all the street signs (all the streets on the game of Monopoly are real streets in Atlantic City).
Eat like a local: Well, bring your GPS, roll up your windows and lock your doors. You are heading to South Philly to have a cheese steak or two. Icons Pat's and Geno's sit on corners just accross the street from each other. Plan to have one at both legendary stands. "Wit" means with onions, at Geno's the cheese is Cheese Whiz and Pat's you have some cheese choices (but the wiz is the best). If you still want more, stop by Tony Luke's where the cheese steak is great too, but the roast pork sandwich with cheese and broccoli rabe is to die for.

From Collin: I'm from Philly, and Pat's and Geno's have been living on reputation alone for decades. I told Stuben about the Tony Luke's roast pork, and it is amazing. But if you have to have a cheese steak, try Jim's or many other local places that will still do a great one. But don't trudge past the Capodimonte shops just for Pat's and Geno's. Not worth it. If you want to go out for a few beverages pre or post-game, head to South Street or Manayunk (the Brew Pub there is a personal favorite). Also by the stadium is the shiny new Xfinity Live: think Channelside but colder. Haven't been there yet, but have heard good things from my family.
Booking advice - PHL, BWI and NYC offer some great deals on flights. I won't pay more than $175 roundtrip for my flights for this trip, and you shouldn't either.


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