By Andy Staples, SI.com
Ohio State fans sure their team is headed for another shellacking in the BCS title game can lock down their tickets now for the extravaganza in Miami on Jan. 8. So, too, can Oklahoma fans, Air Force fans and even Buffalo fans -- for a fee they'll never see again if their team doesn't make the game.
Chicago-based FirstDibz.com has created a futures market for sporting event tickets. Just as a trader will place a bet on the future price of crude oil or pork bellies, an Alabama fan can plunk down $25 for a futures contract that states he is allowed to buy a face-value ticket ($250) should the Crimson Tide make the game. Just think of it as a bet on the availability of a barrel of light, sweet football tickets for January delivery. If Alabama doesn't make the game, the company keeps the fan's $25.
If you want an idea of where your team falls in the college football pecking order, just check out the prices. Futures contracts for the heavy favorites to reach the game -- Florida, LSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma and USC -- cost $156 a ticket. Preseason No. 1 Georgia, meanwhile, is a relative bargain at $82 a ticket. Frugal Notre Dame fans will be happy, but the rest of them will feel disrespected that a contract on the Fighting Irish costs a mere $25. Want to take a flier on Buffalo, Colorado or Idaho? That'll cost you $10 a ticket.