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Big Ten Attendance: Big games, big numbers in the stands

The last two weeks, Rutgers has played in front of over 190,000 people. That's only about 12,000 less than Rutgers has drawn at home through four games. Welcome to the big time.

Eric Francis

The first time Rutgers played Nebraska it was more or less a home game.  At least it was in the New York Metro area.  The game was played at New York's Polo Grounds, once the home of the New York football and baseball Giants as well as both the Titans/Jets and the Mets in their early days.

Rutgers University Archives

The game drew 15,000 people to the Polo Grounds that November 2.  It turned out not to be a very good day for the Scarlet, losing 28-0 to the much larger and physical mid-westerners. A post about the game from Wikipedia was prescient, being somewhat Delany-esque prophetic in its description:

The Cornhuskers outclassed and dominated the Scarlet Knights in the only game ever played between these teams. This was Nebraska's farthest trip eastward to date, and the large New York City crowd presented a rare opportunity to shine in a locale unaccustomed to Nebraska football. Rutgers went on to finish the season just 2-7, thus the high-profile game ended up being less about a contest between strong teams, instead ultimately mainly providing more exposure for Nebraska in the east. [emphasis added]

Neutral site games were a major draw to New York.  Here Army and Navy play at the Polo Grounds.

For what it's worth, Rutgers-Nebraska was a bigger draw in NYC than Nebraska-ttfp was in State College four days later.  That 20-0 loss for the Huskers drew 9,000 to "new" Beaver Stadium.  And the RU game at the Polo Grounds outdrew the Nebraska-Notre Dame game in Lincoln, a game that drew 10,000.  Jim Delany is simply building off of historical data.

Rutgers's Homecoming, folks

Through nine weeks of the season, Rutgers still has the 8th highest average attendance (50,876) in the B1G ahead of Illinois. Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Northwestern, and Purdue.

The Wisconsin Badgers are the Homecoming opponent this week.  After two tough road losses, will there be a drop off in attendance?  As of the writing of this article, there was no statement by Rutgers as to whether the game was a sellout, although earlier in the season it was anticipated to be one.  Weather for the noon start this Saturday is expected to be....not that good: High in the upper-40's, partly cloudy, and an 80% chance of rain.  But it's Homecoming, people.  Get out there.  Raincoats, ponchos, trash bags.

Attendance 'Round the Big Ten

The Big Ten has drawn over 4.1 million fans to home games this season.  That despite six teams averaging under 50,000 per game, including two averaging under 40,000 (Northwestern and Purdue).  Average home attendance is 66,213.

Last week's home attendance.

School Attendance Capacity % Capacity Result Opponent
Michigan State 76331 75005 101.77 W Michigan
Penn State 107895 107282 100.57 L Ohio State
Wisconsin 80336 80321 100.02 W Maryland
Nebraska 91088 92000 99.01 W Rutgers
Illinois 44437 65000 68.36 W Minnesota

Schadenfreude, or our weekly look at Syracuse football attendance

Syracuse did very well in their attendance this week.  They were, of course, on the road where they played at Clemson's version of Death Valley in front of over 80,000 people.

But if we're going to talk about schadenfreude for Syracuse, attendance is the least of their problems.  Syracuse attendance at Clemson was not the issue, but the ongoing investigation into Syracuse athletics by the NCAA is, as noted here and here. If that isn't schadenfreude, I don't know what is.

And Katy agrees.  Of course!