Thank you, Ohio State.
The announced crowd at High Point Solutions Stadium on Saturday of 46,328 was Rutgers’ largest crowd of the season. Not saying very much. And with the score getting out of hand pretty quickly, it’s a good thing they don’t count heads at the end of the game or the number would be excruciatingly small.
Yet, even that relatively small attendance - by Big Ten standards - was the fourth largest crowd among the six home games played in the conference last Saturday. #Painful #Really?
And the PJ Fleck effect at Minnesota, despite doing some winning this season (they’re 3-1), isn’t necessarily converting into seats getting filled by the Golden Gophers.
Then there’s Maryland
When you’re struggling the way Rutgers is, we need to find someone - anyone - to pick on. Enter the Terps.
We talked about how Maryland drew a rather poor crowd for its UCF game. And someone commented that Maryland had always been like that. Uhhh, not so fast my friend.
The last time Maryland won the ACC championship outright was 2001. And that year they drew an average of 43,564 to Byrd Stadium. And the momentum kept going the next few years as attendance rose for about four years. Then the malaise set in - not to mention Virginia Tech and Miami joining the conference - as attendance started to fall.
It actually hit a low around the time it was announced that the Terps would be joining the Big Ten; there were more than a few traditionalists who wanted them to stay in the ACC. But joining the Big Ten boosted attendance tremendously....for one year. And then the drop started again.
Last season, the Terps didn’t even reach their average for their last year in the ACC and had their third worst attendance since their last ACC title. As noted by 247Sports, “According to information obtained by CBS Sports, the Terps suffered the fifth-largest attendance drop-off among Power Five teams, averaging 39,615 fans per home game, an 11 percent decrease from last year.”
Around the Big Ten
The bigs are still big. The also-rans are....well, you get it. It’s always interesting to see places that are exceeding capacity. I guess the fire marshals are all alums.
Minnesota was 3-0 when it hosted Maryland. Yet, no sell out. It seems, as I keep doing these posts, that there are only certain schools - or maybe certain situations - that will get full houses. And maybe that is just how things are.
Season long trends
In an earlier attendance post, someone asked about the season trends of each school. Let’s see what we can find about a third of the way through.
With the exception of Indiana, Maryland, and Northwestern, every Big Ten team has had at least three home games, with Penn State, Michigan State, and Rutgers having had four.
In the table below, games highlighted in green indicate a season high for the school. Those in red are season lows. And, yes, Rutgers is in all red because, well, you should know why!
Purdue, with its strong start, has shown the most growth and drawing power, going from a season low in the first week to a season high last week. Northwestern has the smallest stadium capacity and, despite that, is pretty consistent in its draw.
I got thrown off by that first Michigan figure but then realized it actually was a neutral site game. Take that game out - which I probably should have - and the Wolverines would lead the conference in home attendance. Of all the teams, I never expected to see Ohio State on a downward trend, albeit wuth over 100K ezch time. And Rutgers and Maryland are the drags on the overall conference attendance. RU’s two largest crowds were the opener against a ranked Washington squad and then the Big Ten home opener against Ohio State.