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Big Ten Attendance: Rutgers repping the B1G pretty well

Non-conference schedule is just about over for the Big Ten, with five conference games coming up this week. Anyone showing up for the non-con contests?

The 'Shoe still fills up on football Saturdays
The 'Shoe still fills up on football Saturdays

There still seems to be -- despite the NCAA trumpeting higher attendance -- a trend to have smaller crowds at college games. But the NCAA's claim of increased numbers may be due to more schools playing football rather than more people attending games.  This is a somewhat alarming trend, and it is happening to schools that you might feel have a fairly strong fan base.  Take Boston College. ( dum dum).

The Eagles may have regretted leaving the Big East for the ACC, since they really haven't had the kind of success on Tobacco Road that they had previously.  But on the same day that RU was battling ttfp, the Eagles' recorded their first victory over a top 10 team in a decade, beating USC at home.  Their reward from their fans the following week?  Well, they played an FCS team, Maine.  Not a great opponent, but regional in nature, there was the buzz still there from the USC win, and, hey!  We are...B-C.  Or something like that.  The crowd was 28,676.  Or almost 16,000 under capacity.  Does anybody care?  BC Interruption, the Eagles' SB Nation site, even ran a poll to guess how many would show up to the Maine game, already predicting - and giving reasons - for a poor turnout.

It seems that even in the Power 5, fans don't turn out just because there is a game being played.  Are there exceptions?  Sure.  Ohio State, Aabama, Texas A&M, LSU.  But it isn't the old days when TV wasn't omnipresent and if you wanted to see a game, you had to go to the stadium.

Big Ten Attendance Week 4

Nine conference members had home games, all against non-con foes.  Except for Nebraska (vs. Miami) and Michigan (vs. Utah), no one played a P5 team.  And Michigan probably wished they had scheduled someone else, both for the score and the less than capacity crowd at the Big House.  Purdue and Northwestern continue to trail the conference in average attendance, both having played three home games and both averaging less than 36,000 per home game.

Average Big Ten Home Attendance through games of September 20

School Average Games
Illinois 38,605 3
Indiana 38,006 1
Iowa 67,200 3
Maryland 46,617 2
Michigan 106,742 3
Michigan State 74,487 2
Minnesota 46,435 3
Nebraska 91,369 3
Northwestern 35,794 3
Ohio State 105,961 2
Penn State 98,255 2
Purdue 34,958 3
Rutgers 50,907 2
Wisconsin 78,487 2

As for last week's games, the rich stayed rich and the poor just looked at a lot of empty seats.  Michigan is concerned about its relatively lackluster home schedule impacting attendance.  That's not how many viewed the big boys, figuring that the loyalties of the fan base would come out regardless of the opponent.  Guess we were wrong.

School Attendance Capacity % Capacity Result Opponent
Nebraska 91585 92000 99.55 W Miami
Wisconsin 79849 80321 99.41 W Bowling Green
Michigan State 73846 75005 98.45 W E Michigan
Michigan 103890 109901 94.53 L Utah
Minnesota 47739 50805 93.97 W San Jose St
Penn State 99155 107282 92.42 W Umass
Northwestern 32016 47130 67.93 W W Illinois
Illinois 41019 65000 63.11 W Texas State
Purdue 31434 62500 50.29 W So Illinois