Trend: College football attendance down, TV figures up in 2012
A trend that has long been documented in the NFL is making its way to college football: more and more fans are spurning a Saturday at the stadium and choosing instead to stay at home and watch games on the couch.
Jon Solomon of AL.com reported yesterday that attendance figures were down throughout college football. Among the six power conferences, the Pac-12 was the only league to report increased attendance this fall. Not coincidentally, the Pac-12 is the only conference that plays a nine-game conference schedule and makes a league-wide effort to play home-and-home series with BCS foes. Across the board, BCS teams hosted an average of 45,724 fans per game, the lowest figure since 2003.
Meanwhile, college football's TV numbers continue to grow. The two highest-rated games of the season, the SEC Championship (9.8 rating, 16.2 million viewers) and Notre Dame at USC (9.4 rating, 16.1 million viewers) were the fifth and sixth-most watched regular season college football games in the last 20 years.
It's important to understand why this trend is happening. Part of it is simple fan economics. As more games pop up on television networks, fans feel they can get more out of their Saturdays at home watching six games instead of devoting a six-hour round trip to see one game. That's part of the world we live in.
But, as home entertainment improves by leaps and bounds seemingly every six months, schools need to think about meeting fans halfway. When a school charges the same amount for a ticket to see their team play Alabama and South Alabama, it's an easy decision for many fans.
Most importantly, though, is that if you noticed a slight increase in empty seats at your games this fall, remember that you're not alone.
'The Spartan way' explained
Good video here from Michigan State explaining the tradition and expectations in East Lansing.
After a disappointing year, we wouldn't be surprised if this video is being shown to recruits and their families to bring energy back to the program.
If that's the case, they'll really like the message that starts at the 6 minute mark.
"Everyone has a choice. A choice to follow...or a choice to lead. Not everyone has the opportunity to wear the ring of a champion, or raise their hands to the thrill of victory."
"But when opportunities come, to those who are ready...to those who are willing...pay heed."
VIDEO: Tuberville arrives at Cincy
If you needed any more proof of how excited the Cincinnati fan base and players are about landing Tommy Tuberville, consider this video.
The players give him a standing ovation upon entering his first team meeting and his introduction to the fan base, which was on very short notice (and two hours after a basketball game), drew quite a loud and excited crowd.
Tuesday TV- National champions will be decided later this week
No games tonight, but quality action from all levels will return later this week with multiple national title games, and two FCS semifinal games before the bowls get started. Thursday will feature the NAIA national title game, as well as the weekly NFL Thursday night NFL game. Friday we'll get the some semifinal FCS action, as well as the D-III national title game, and then bowl games start Saturday, along with the other FCS semifinal and the D-II national title game.
Eastern time listed.
Mike MacIntyre introduced at Colorado
Colorado formally introduced Mike MacIntyre as its newest head coach on Monday afternoon.
"I feel very blessed and honored to be the head coach at the University of Colorado," said MacIntyre.
MacIntyre was hired to mirror the success he cultivated at San Jose State. In 2010 he took over a program that had registered just two winning seasons since 1993 and went 2-10 in the year before his arrival. The Spartans went 1-12 in MacIntyre's first year, jumped to 5-7 in 2011 and leaped to 10-2 and the school's first BCS ranking this fall.
MacIntyre inherits a program that went 1-11 this fall, lost eight games by 25 points or more and ranked 94th or lower in 13 of the 17 official statistics tracked by the NCAA.
MacIntyre thinks he is just the man for the job, citing his turnaround of the San Jose State program on the field and in the classroom, boosting the team's APR from 930 to 981 during his tenure.
"If you get to know me, you're going to say one thing about Mike MacIntyre: He has passion," he explained.
MacIntyre said he plans on bringing a lot of his assistants with him to Boulder, and mentioned defensive line coach Jim Jeffocat by name. Jeffcoat was a finalist for the 2012 FootballScoop Defensive Line Coach of the Year award.
Like any head coach taking over a 1-11 program, MacIntyre knows the path to success lies in recruiting. He referenced the growing demographics of the state of Colorado and also noted that California is home to over 1,000 high schools and just seven FBS schools. "We're going to treat California like it's in-state," said MacIntyre.
MacIntyre touted his recruiting skill on a personal level, saying of his wife, "From the look of her, you can tell I can recruit. She told me no three times before she went on a date with me."
MacIntyre will be paid $10 million over five years, and was assured of a high-level of commitment from the CU administration. There are many similarities between his old job and new job to MacIntyre, including the task of entering a new conference while battling back from extended periods without sustained success.
"When I was growing up and playing ball, Colorado was special," said MacIntyre. "I definitely think they can get there again."
Bobby Petrino: WKU is "like coming home"
The science behind the Western Kentucky - Bobby Petrino marriage was evident from the start. Western Kentucky got instant credibility, a proven winner and unprecedented publicity in hiring Petrino. Monday afternoon's press conference hosted hundreds of onlookers, including a number of national media no doubt making their first trip to Bowling Green, Ky., and a national telecast via ESPN News.
And Petrino got a second chance eight months after being ousted at Arkansas and a season spent on the figurative sidelines instead of the literal ones.
"I basically have spent the last eight months working with my family, trying to make things right with my wife Becky and my children," Petrino explained. "We've been in counseling, and I've learned a lot."
Western Kentucky athletic director Todd Stewart said Petrino was his first choice in replacing the outgoing Willie Taggart. "The name Bobby Petrino is synonymous with consistent success at the highest level," said Stewart. "He is the guy to lead our program to a place it's never been, I'm convinced of that."
"This is the United States of America, and we're a country of second chances," said Stewart. "I was confident in talking to him and to other people that he deserved a second chance, and we're happy to give him that.
"There is no doubt he is a better man and a better coach because of it."
Petrino said that the decision to take the Western Kentucky job was a family one, stating that returning to the Bluegrass State after his tenure at Louisville was "like coming home."
"Football has never been a job for me, it's been a way of life and it's been that way for my wife Becky and our children," Petrino said. "It was time to get back into it."
Petrino listed off the standard goals for any new coach at a non-BCS program, expressing the desire to consistenly reach bowl games, compete for the Sun Belt title and ultimately reach the top 25, a BCS game. Petrino event went as far to say he hopes to turn the Hilltoppers into the next Boise State.
Petrino thanked Taggart, and with good reason. Taggart sheperded Western Kentucky into FBS, jumping from 2-10 in their maiden voyage to consecutive 7-5 seasons in 2011 and 2012. Petrino inherits a roster built in the Harbaugh Way, where running the ball and playing tough defense is the chief goal. "The fact that there's such a good base of tight ends and offensive linemen, that makes your job easier," said Petrino.
Petrino and Stewart both fielded the obvious questions of how long a coach that jumped from Louisville to the Atlanta Falcons to Arkansas can possibly be expected to stay at Western Kentucky.
Stewart cited his confidence in the contract that WKU offered Petrino, which instantly makes him the highest-paid coach in the Sun Belt at $850,000 a year.
After eight months of self-reflection, Petrino gave the most honest answer he can reasonably be expected to give: "You can't know what the future is going to hold, but we hope that we can be here as long as possible."
Bielema's letter to Jeff Long in September
This, folks, is what we refer to as a "signal".
Back in September, Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema wrote the following letter to Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long:
Just wanted to say that this note is long past due. As I watched your press conference this past spring I wanted to reach out and say how much I respected your actions but more importantly your words. As a head coach I know that my comments are looked at in every way possible. Here at UW I have a great AD because he is a man of his word and asks the same for all of us. Best wishes moving forward and say strong. It was the right call!
P.S. One thing I have learned through my time here at UW is that today’s society wants to win them all, but as Coaches and Administrators we need to balance the Big Picture for all our student athletes!
Arkansas released a copy of the hand written letter today in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.
What Bobby Petrino's hiring could mean for Western Kentucky
Just a little while ago, Western Kentucky beat writer Chad Bishop broke news that Bobby Petrino will be named head coach at for the Hilltopper's at a 4pm CST press conference. We have confirmed the hire.
For Western Kentucky the hire provides a couple important things for the program.
First of all they get a proven winner with a track record of on the field success. He has won over 75% of his games at the college level (75-26 overall) and has proven that he can compete against the biggest and best in the country week in and week out in the SEC. Upon his exit from Arkansas, Petrino had led the team to an 11-2 record just three seasons removed from a 5-7 finish in his first year.
Next season the Hilltoppers open up with SEC teams Kentucky and Tennessee back to back.
In a recent interview with Bishop, former Western Kentucky head coach Willie Taggart told him that in order for Western Kentucky to continue their success, they would have to hire a proven recruiter who could energize the fan base. Petrino does both. He brings an offense that is nothing short of exhilarating (to both watch and play in), and has proven that he can match wits with some of the best defensive coaches in the country. It's very possible that his offenses will put up video game like numbers every Saturday in the Sun Belt, and that in turn will pack the stands and garner plenty of attention.
The move will also play very well with recruits. Petrino is one of the top offensive minds in all of college football and his knack for directing offenses that put up gaudy numbers will attract players that the program would have previously struggled to attract before his arrival.
Not only will he bring a ton of exposure and excitement to game days in Bowling Green, but he will also solidify their status as an up and coming program, regardless of whether he stays for a season or a decade. There's no doubt that this is a huge hire for the Western Kentucky program.