CORVALLIS - In the past two weeks, nearly 6,000 Beaver football fans have registered with the university's official bowl Web site - despite the fact that there was no guarantee of where Oregon State University would be playing its post-season bowl game.

Now that the Beavers have been invited to Tempe, Ariz., to face Notre Dame in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1, university officials expect a rush for tickets and tour packages. The official announcement was made during the broadcast of the Bowl Championship Series pairings show on ABC Television at 12:30 p.m. Sunday.

"It's about to get crazy," said Steve Smith, associate director of the OSU Alumni Association. "People have been excited for the past two weeks and they didn't even know where we were going. Now that we're playing Notre Dame on New Year's Day, they're really going to be excited."

Smith said more than 250 Beaver fans paid for the university's official bowl tour before it was announced where and when OSU would play.

"Playing Notre Dame on New Year's Day - it just doesn't get much better than that," Smith said. "I'm sure the phones will be jammed tomorrow."

Smith said the most up-to-date bowl information for OSU fans can be found online. It includes detailed information about how fans can purchase tickets, travel packages and souvenirs. Fans who don't have access to a computer, or would like to speak with someone personally, can call 1-877-305-3759.

Smith said one of the easiest ways to watch the Beavers play in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl is to register with a tour package through the OSU Alumni Association. He said there are different packages to choose from which include round-trip air service, accommodations, transfers, game tickets, pep rallies and even a New Year's Eve party for OSU fans. A complete package can run from $1,703 while a "no frills" two-night tour without air travel costs $538 based on single occupancy.

"You don't have to worry about getting to the stadium or game tickets or comfortable accommodations," Smith said. "We've taken care of that."

The OSU Alumni Association will work with Dodds Athletic Tours of Champaign, Ill., to provide the official university bowl tour package. Dodds has organized university athletic tours since 1963 and worked with OSU last year to provide the official package for fans attending the O'ahu Bowl. Smith said the OSU Alumni Association's goal is to make traveling to a bowl game as easy as possible for Oregon State fans.

"It's an exciting time for everyone associated with Oregon State University," Smith said. "There are going to be a lot of Beaver fans spending New Year's in Tempe this year."

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Stephen Smith, 541-754-1314