It wasn’t pretty. But as some people say – and I’ve come to accept – I’d rather win ugly than lose pretty. And doing it in front of friendly faces is a bonus as a pretty big contingent of Rutgers fans made it to Lincoln Financial Field to see the win over Temple. Per nj.com Johnny Langan said, the RU fans were the "12th man on the field". Take that, Texas A & M! Oh, yeah, we'll get to them later.
And Aaron Lewis commented, "I want the fans to know they do an amazing job for us. We all came out, we looked to our right, we saw not cherry red, but we saw a lot of scarlet red out there, and it was an amazing sight to see. Credit to the fans. They’ve done an amazing job this season and I want them to keep going."
And, now, sports fans, it’s time to do that at home. Saturday night, 7 pm. Iowa. Be there! ‘Nuff said.
So, the Scarlet faithful were pretty numerous among the 33,297 fans in Philly last Saturday. That was the largest Temple crowd since October 12, 2019 when then-No. 23 Memphis came to town. A Temple win, by the way, in a season that saw the Owls go 8-5 and go bowling in the postseason.
As for the rest of the Big Ten, there were nine home games – seven wins – and just short of 590,000 people watching at the stadiums. It ranged from a high of 109,639 at Michigan (101.9 % capacity) to a low of 23,146 (49.1%) at Ryan Field to watch Northwestern drop a 31-24 game to Southern Illinois. That Northwestern total was less than even UCLA; more about that later, too.
The big guys drew fans, with the Wolverines and Ohio State well over 100,000 in attendance. Iowa again had a full house and Nebraska – for the 385th straight game – sold out plus. That capacity crowd showed in a depressing 49-14 loss to former rival Oklahoma, the first game following Scott Frost’s firing. I know there are people who will say, ‘What else is there to do in Nebraska?’ but they turn out. Give them their due!
For my money, the big disappointment – maybe even question - is Maryland. The Terps are 3-0, they average 40 ppg, and they’re advertising pretty heavily on BTN for ticket sales. Yet, against a pretty good SMU team, they only drew 31,194 to College Park. That’s just 60% of capacity. That has to be bothering the UMd administration.
What’s doing out on the left coast? How are the soon-to-be Big Ten members doing in attendance. USC won it’s third game moving to 3-0. They had 67,226 at the Coliseum for a 7:45 kickoff. That’s just over 86% of capacity. Meanwhile, just 18 miles away in Pasadena, the Bruins of UCLA drew….wait for it….29,344 to the Rose Bowl. That’s short of one-third full. For a team that, like USC, is 3-0. It is not a good look as can be seen in the pics from this Outkick story. And, even legendary UCLA quarterback Troy Aikman is bemoaning the UCLA attendance, calling it an "embarrassment". There are reasons, as covered in the stories, but that number – and the season numbers for UCLA – are depressing.
Did you know that there are eight Power 5 schools that ESPN’s College Game Day has not visited? And three of them are in the Big Ten: Maryland, Illinois, and "The Birthplace".
And we now know that the most recent installment of CGD originated from Boone, NC, the home of the Appalachian State Mountaineers. App State earned that honor by traveling to Texas, collecting a million dollars from Texas A & M for the effort, and then beating the then-No. 6 Aggies, 17-14. The opening lines of the story on the Mountaineers’ football site?
Howdy from College Station, where App State has once again seized the national spotlight.
With its latest signature win, there's reason to celebrate all the way back to the High Country.
And guess what? ESPN's College GameDay is joining the party.
Yeah, App State, wa-a-a-ay out in Boone (population 19,466), led the FBS Sun Belt Conference in home football attendance in 2016, 2017 and 2019, averaging 25,787 fans in Boone during the 2017 season, 23,351 fans per regular-season home game in 2018 and 23,806 fans per home game during a 13-1 season in 2019. Its home field, Kidd Brewer Stadium, has a seating capacity of 30,000. And ESPN went there.
And give App State credit for taking care of business, both before and during the game. The school announced a poster contest to offer free tuition to the winner for best sign during the ESPN broadcast. They ended up giving away three!
Then, just to keep the magic going, the Mountaineers scored the winning touchdown on a Hail Mary on the final play of the game. That’s how you build excitement, gain notoriety, and build a brand.