FROM: Doug Doughty and The Roanoke Times
Conferences these days (it seems to change every day) but here are the teams I found under the 40,000 threshhold:
Washington State -- 24,532; Duke -- 28,750; Wake Forest -- 30,474; Vanderbilt -- 33, 269; Cincinnati -- 35,067; Northwestern -- 36,449; Boston College -- 38,369; Maryland -- 39,168. Most of the poorest-drawing BCS teams are from the ACC and Big East, but here's one that surprised me:
Orange Bowl champion Stanford, known for its high-powered offenses, averaged 40,042 fans over six games. The 2010 NCAA leader was Michigan, where the average home crowd was 111,825 for a team that finished 7-6, losing six of its last eight games and got rid of its coach.
The top five in order was Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Alabama and Texas. Tennessee, for you Vols fans out there, was sixth.
Other things that jumped out at me:
Virginia Tech was 24th with an average crowd of 66,233. That was second in the ACC behind Clemson (17th, 77,469). When counting all crowds -- home, away and neutral field -- the Hokies were 20th at 63,925.
Virginia's average crowd was 45,459. Utah also had an average draw of 45,459. Other schools in the 45,000-50,000 range included Arizona State, Colorado, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, Kansas, Minnesota and Oregon State. That makes sense (well, maybe not Oregon State).
East Carolina (49,665) outdrew six ACC teams: Duke, Wake, Boston College, Maryland, Virginia and Georgia Tech. The Pirates came close to outdrawing Miami (52,575).
In coach Charley Strong's first season, Louisville had the largest attendance increase (18,198). Northwestern was second (12,259). That means Northwestern drew 24,190 fans per game in 2009. Ouch! Eastern Michigan had the fourth largest increase in Division I-A, with its home crowds jumping from 5,016 per game in 2009 to 15,885 last year.
At some point, don't they take away your Division I-A classification if you're drawing 5,016 per game?
Ball State had the lowest per-game home attendance out of 120 Division I-A teams in the country last year at 8,947 and was the only I-A school under 10,000.
Appalachian State, with an FCS (Division I-AA) high of 25,715 fans per home game, outdrew 38 FBS (Division I-A teams). Old Dominion, with an average home crowd of 19,782, outdrew the seven other FCS programs in the state. ODU did not have a varsity team until the past two seasons.
James Madison (ninth; 16,597), Liberty (15th; 14,630) and Norfolk State (26th; 11,879) also were in the top 30 in FCS.
Hampden-Sydney was second in Division III in average attendance with 7,024 fans per game and Emory & Henry was sixth at 5,391. The next in the state was Christopher Newport in 22nd place with 3,378. The Old Dominion Athletic Conference is the nation's highest-drawing D-III conference. (Never would have guessed that).