ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WXYZ) – New Year’s Eve will be a big day for Michigan fans as the Wolverines prepare to take on TCU in the Fiesta Bowl. The game was in the semifinals of the College Football Playoff, and the national championship berth was up in the air.
Despite being nearly 2,000 miles from Glendale, Ariz., where the race takes place, downtown Ann Arbor businesses like The Brown Jug are bracing for busy crowds.
“Definitely hope it’s packed, it’s always packed on game days,” said Annabelle Hubbard, a server at The Brown Jug. “I think it’s definitely going to affect our business because everybody wants to see it.”
As the famous sports bar in town, the Brown Jug is ready for big crowds, as it has been on most game days this undefeated season.
“I watched the Ohio State game here, and after we won, everybody hit the street,” Hubbard said.
Michigan fan Logan Lajiness said he was visiting family in Colorado for the holidays, but made sure to be back in Ann Arbor for kickoff so he could watch the game with other Wolverines fans.
“I’ve got to make sure I have a flight back to watch this game,” Lajiness said. “There’s no other place I’d rather watch this game.”
The excitement was also felt at the M-Den on State Street. On Friday, some fans even drove from hours away to shop for last-minute costumes.
“I live in Rockford and just decided to come over and do some shopping,” said Michigan fan Sam Hargrove. “I’m a crazy fan, that’s all.”
“People are very excited about this year’s bowl game, feeling more optimistic and more confident than last year,” said M-Den Assistant Manager Rose Balzer.
Balzer said the store has been selling Fiesta Bowl playoff jerseys and many back-to-back Big Ten championship jerseys. She hopes bigger and better merchandise, like national championship gear, hits shelves soon.
“If we go all the way, we’re going to have a really busy couple of months,” Balzer said with a laugh.
The Brown Jug, also hoping for the title, advised people to show up early for the semis to break the queue.
“I’d say get here at 1 or 2 p.m. to make sure you get a table,” Hubbard said.
“We’re going to be there early on,” Raginis said, “and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens.”