Last week we looked at the numbers for the games through Christmas weekend, including the Quick Lane Bowl where Rutgers throttled UNC. Take a minute.....savor it....smile....think about the bowls that Syracuse and UConn went to....smile again.
So what happened after Christmas, after the Quick Lane, Pinstripe, and the Heart of Dallas Bowls? How did the Big Ten do?
Obviously, there were the bigger name bowls over the last week, but not all of them were in the "elite" category. We had something new in the New Year's 6 Bowls, doled out by the CFP Committee. And then you had other long time, "name" bowls that also were played around New Year's Day.
The New Year's 6 drew an average of 71,380; those games included the Rose (91,322) and the Sugar (74,682) CFP semi-final games. Except for the Orange Bowl (58,211), no New Year's 6 game drew under 60,000.
Bowls that had ranked teams in them (and there were 14 such games) drew an average of 59,382, again including the Rose and Sugar.
The Big Ten vs. The Evil Empire....and others
There were ten teams from the conference in bowl games including, of course, Ohio State in one of the CFP semis and Michigan State in a New Year's 6 game. The average attendance at a bowl with a B1G squad participating was 48,115. That number is behind the SEC (53,675) but ahead of the ACC (45,361). Those averages include games in which a B1G, SEC or ACC team faced each other (five times).
As for the individual B1G games, it was an uneven performance. The chart shows the games in chronological order. As expected, the earlier games involving Illinois and Rutgers didn't draw well compared to other games. The New Year's 6 and CFP games drew the most, again not unexpected. Of all the other games involving Big Ten teams, the Foster Farms Bowl featuring Maryland and Stanford was the only game to draw under 40,000.