Give props when they’re due
We’ve talked about USF having poor attendance. They were averaging in the mid-20,000s for their home games.
That was then, this is last Saturday. When the 6-0 Bulls hosted Cincinnati at Raymond James Stadium, they pulled in an announced crowd of 43,708. Well done, USF Fans.
USF hasn’t drawn a crowd in excess of 35,000 since 2011. Now, according to the Tampa Bay Times, the crowd was actually only 38,121 (per the Tampa Sports Authority) and USF has been marketing the daylights out of the area. From another Times article:
The Bulls are undefeated. It's homecoming. Kickoff's at night. The weather has cooled off mildly. And the school has made a diligent -- almost desperate -- attempt to promote this game.
A number of ticket discounts are being offered to various groups, including first responders and military personnel. The first 400 cars with four or more USF students park for free. The school even rented a plane to fly over campus with a banner hyping the game.
It’s a much better situation for Rutgers’ former Big East Conference mates. Although a little sad with the need to hype that much.
So what’s happening closer to home?
Yes, I’m filling....but there is a point.
Matt Rhule had Temple cruising. They even beat Notre Dame a few seasons ago. Rhule decided he wanted to move on a chose Baylor as a new home (and Rhule seemed like such a nice, decent guy!) Temple is in a rebuild mode (3-4, 1-3 AAC) and fans are still not coming out in droves. Against a then-1-4 UConn team, the Owls drew 29,849 to 69,176-seat Lincoln Financial Field this past weekend on a pretty decent day for football. On the year, Temple is averaging just 27,975 fans, helped by its largest crowd of the year, 35,117, versus local rival Villanova.
Up at West Point (one of the most beautiful venues for college football) Army hosted Eastern Michigan. Remember them? The 5-2 Cadets saw 34,333 in the stands at Michie Stadium, a 38,000 seat venue. The Cadets average 27,954 at home.
So, why bring those two up? Because they are the closest FBS schools to Rutgers, the “competition”, if you will. Rutgers has long had issues recruiting in South Jersey, something Temple has feasted on of late (Temple has 17 players from South Jersey on its roster). Army is in a different category, but it is still close enough that people have a choice of where to view their college football and Army draws people for multiple reasons. Can Rutgers offer a product - and let’s face facts, that’s what it is - that will attract casual football fans?
And personally, I’m glad Army is doing well again. It wasn’t pretty seeing those athletes getting drubbed week after week over the last few years. And if you ever have a chance to see a game at West Point, go! Spectacular place. And you’ll feel inspired, for football and for those players.
Around the Big Ten
Not a good week to be a home team in the Big Ten, as our Jim Hoffman detailed earlier. Five of the six hosts took L’s for the day.
There were two teams off this week and the two biggest stadiums in the conference were idle. Penn State was on a bye and Ohio State was at Nebraska. As a result, the Big Ten had its smallest total attendance of the season along with its smallest average crowds.
Yes, it was Homecoming, but nice job by the Hoosiers to fill their place. And it was a big time finish to a big time game.
Maryland is the team I keep coming back to about attendance....because they are, sort of, our measuring stick as newbies and because it’s so easy to want to dump on them. The team is currently 3-3, 1-2 at home with three more home games, including Homecoming versus Indiana; guess the Terps thought that one was going to be a win. However, the other two home games are versus Michigan and Penn State. I’m thinking their attendance picks up in those last two contests, although the likelihood of it being a “Blue Out” for both is pretty good.
Just because we can....
From verse IX of Maryland, My Maryland:
She is not dead, nor deaf, nor dumb
Huzza! She spurns the Northern scum!
She breathes! She burns! She'll come! She'll come!
Maryland! My Maryland!
Northern scum, huh? Like from Michigan and Pennsylvania? My work here is through.