SBD/May 2, 2013/Research and Ratings

SEC Schools Lead Spring Game Attendance; Records Fueled By First-Year Coaches

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SEC schools led the way in attendance for spring football games this year, with seven of the top 10 highest-attended events coming from the conference. Auburn led all games with a school-record 83,401 fans, with fans flocking to see the team's debut under first-year coach Gus Malzahn. The event also offered the final opportunity for Auburn fans to roll the Toomer’s Corner oaks, as the trees were removed following the event after being poisoned in '10.

FIRST-YEAR COACHES RULE: Several of the schools seeing record spring game attendance did so with new coaches experiencing their first real interaction with fans. Arkansas and Kentucky each set new school records under first-year coaches Bret Bielema and Mark Stoops, respectively. Texas Tech also set a school record with first-year coach and alum Kliff Kingsbury. Tennessee, with first-year coach Butch Jones, had the school’s second best spring game attendance on record (behind only ’76). Tennessee nearly doubled its figure from last season and ranked No. 3 overall.

FUELING RECORDS: Texas A&M, with reigning Heisman Trophy-winner QB Johnny Manziel, shattered its spring game attendance record with 45,212 fans, more than doubling the crowd for last season, which was its first in the SEC. Georgia drew 45,113 fans, marking the third straight record-setting crowd for the school’s spring game. Vanderbilt also saw its best crowd on record, with 14,000 fans on hand to see the team following its first nine-win season in nearly 100 years. Louisville, coming off its win in the Allstate Sugar Bowl, drew a school-record 33,000 to its game.

LOWER DRAW IN ’13: Ohio State, which normally plays its spring game at Ohio Stadium and drew 81,112 fans last season, moved its game to Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati and drew only 37,643 fans. Several schools also saw inclement weather affect their attendance. Penn State, with cold and snowy conditions, drew only 28,000 fans after seeing 60,000 last season. Georgia Tech saw about a third of last year's crowd as cold weather and rain in Atlanta kept fans away. Meanwhile, Mississippi State had a lower crowd this season, with attendance limited due to ongoing renovations at Davis Wade Stadium. Florida, with a host of injuries to its players this spring, canceled its traditional spring game and instead held a practice for fans, drawing less than half last year's crowd.

COLLEGE SPRING FOOTBALL GAME ATTENDANCE
FOR BCS AQ CONFERENCE SCHOOLS
SCHOOL
'13
'12
'11
'10
'09
Auburn
83,401
43,427
53,209
63,217
45,381
Alabama
78,315
78,526
92,310
91,312
84,050
Tennessee
61,076
34,421
35,891
35,000
51,488
Nebraska^
60,174
n/a
66,786
77,936
77,670
Arkansas
51,088
45,250
42,000
30,000
30,000
Kentucky
50,831
4,500
4,000
9,000
20,200
Texas
46,000
46,000
29,541
44,000
44,000
Texas A&M
45,212
15,000
16,500
15,000
8,000
Georgia
45,113
44,117
43,177
38,472
42,458
Ohio State
37,643
81,112
44,276
65,223
95,722
Oregon
36,588
44,129
43,468
25,211
12,400
South Carolina
35,218
34,513
29,541
22,000
25,157
Louisville
33,000
15,000
2,483
5,600
15,300
Notre Dame
31,652
31,582
27,863
27,241
31,104
Clemson
30,000
28,000
27,000
27,000
24,000
Oklahoma
29,200
20,509
25,598
16,000
28,592
Penn State
28,000
60,000
7,000
55,000
76,500
LSU
28,000
33,000
25,032
23,000
30,532
Ole Miss
28,000
25,000
28,000
30,229
28,357
Florida State
27,500
40,631
53,818
51,000
36,000
NC State
27,500
24,797
13,139
25,372
21,075
Virginia Tech
25,000
15,000
40,000
41,000
41,000
Michigan State
22,500
21,000
35,000
30,000
26,000
Mississippi State
21,000
22,604
36,357
34,127
31,606
Rutgers
21,000
15,000
21,120
20,114
15,899
UCLA
20,000
13,000
6,400
12,494
12,000
Missouri
18,384
18,614
10,000
15,000
13,122
Michigan
18,000
25,000
25,000
35,000
50,000
Iowa
16,500
15,000
8,000
25,000
n/a
Kansas State
16,383
18,048
8,594
13,696
12,804
Texas Tech
16,116
3,000
12,400
n/a
12,500
USC
15,284
15,515
16,850
15,000
22,565
Florida
15,000
38,000
51,000
51,500
65,000
North Carolina
15,000
17,000
15,500
29,000
3,000
Oklahoma State
15,000
11,000
16,000
7,000
12,000
Iowa State
15,000
5,000
4,000
10,000
7,000
Vanderbilt
14,000
8,500
7,500
n/a
1,000
Wisconsin
12,050
10,479
10,000
23,567
23,500
Colorado
10,244
7,100
15,655
9,100
11,700
Kansas
10,000
15,000
6,000
12,500
17,000
Washington State
8,340
10,713
4,076
1,000
400
Oregon State
8,263
1,000
5,519
7,141
5,000
Maryland
8,200
2,000
5,000
n/a
10,323
Miami
8,000
10,000
8,000
10,000
n/a
West Virginia
8,000
8,000
22,000
21,029
13,000
Minnesota
7,700
3,500
2,500
4,400
7,700
Virginia
7,500
8,500
10,545
5,000
8,000
Washington
7,000
11,802
10,000
15,000
10,000
Purdue^
6,427
n/a
5,500
5,000
5,000
Arizona State
6,386
5,142
6,400
6,000
5,700
Duke
5,831
n/a
n/a
n/a
4,162
Memphis
5,500
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
Northwestern
5,213
n/a
n/a
n/a
3,250
Cal
5,100
8,812
n/a
3,000
2,000
Georgia Tech
5,000
18,125
7,000
n/a
8,500
Indiana
5,000
n/a
2,564
5,325
3,500
South Florida
4,606
n/a
2,493
6,537
6,000
Stanford
4,350
5,000
6,800
4,000
1,500
Wake Forest
4,200
5,500
n/a
5,000
3,800
Arizona
4,095
5,000
4,500
6,000
6,850
Syracuse
3,822
3,716
4,206
4,752
5,184
Pittsburgh
3,642
4,607
1,507
6,532
6,160
Temple
3,530
2,500
n/a
n/a
n/a
Baylor
3,500
2,750
3,500
n/a
1,000
Connecticut
3,000
5,500
2,500
2,500
7,000
Illinois
2,100
3,000
6,000
5,832
10,000
Cincinnati
2,000
n/a
n/a
10,000
12,491
 

NOTES: Figures gathered from various media reports. Attendance not listed for Boston College as the school canceled its planned game in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. Other BCS AQ conference schools that did not track attendance were newcomers Houston, UCF and SMU. TCU did not have an official spring game in ’13. ^ = game was cancelled in ’12 due to adverse weather.

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