NCAA releases 2012 attendance figures

The NCAA rolled out its official 2012 football attendance figures on Thursday, and nearly 49 million fans passed through the turnstiles at the 644 NCAA football-playing schools.

The total attendance figure checked in at 48,958,547, the third-best figure in NCAA history. FBS accounted for 37,170,235 fans (45,440 per game), FCS drew 5,967,272, Division II hosted 3,006,297 fans and Division III drew 2,361,687 spectators.

With its expansion to 14 teams, the SEC became the first conference to top 7 million fans (7,478,304 to be exact), and averaged 75,538 per game. The Big Ten was second at 5.88 million fans and 70,040 per game. The SEC, Pac-12 and Sun Belt set league-wide attendance records in FBS, and the Northeast, Missouri Valley and Big South followed suit in FCS. The Sun Belt was the only Division I league to set a total attendance and average attendance record, jumping by an average of 574 fans to 19,766 per game.

Michigan won its 43rd home attendance title with an average of 112,252 per game, but Alabama took home the total attendance crowd by playing before 1,299,659 fans in 14 games. Appalachian State led all FCS programs for the fifth time in six years with a 26,358 average, and the SWAC won its 34th attendance championship in 35 years with 654,847 total spectators. In Division II, Grand Valley State (Mich.) won the crown for the second consecutive year, and St. John's (Minn.) won the Division III title for the 11th time in a dozen seasons. 

FBS Teams
1. Michigan - 112,252 average
2. Ohio State - 105,330 
3. Alabama - 101,722
4. Texas - 100,884
5. Penn State - 96,730
6. Georgia - 92,703
7. LSU - 92,626
8. Tennessee - 89,965
9. USC - 87,945
10. Florida - 87,597

FBS Conferences
1. SEC - 75,538
2. Big Ten - 70,040
3. Big 12 - 59,004
4. Pac-12 - 53,679
5. ACC - 49,910

Largest increase from 2011
1. California - 28,978 per game
2. UCLA - 19,930
3. Missouri - 14,224
4. Georgia - 13,321
5. Ohio State - 13,252

FCS Teams
1. Appalachian State - 26,358
2. Montana - 25,236
3. James Madison - 22,783
4. Old Dominion - 20,037
5. Delaware - 18,542

FCS Conferences
1. SWAC - 13,097
2. SoCon - 12,802
3. CAA - 12,155
4. Missouri Valley - 11,064
5. Big Sky - 9,852

Division II Teams
1. Grand Valley State (Mich.) - 12,034
2. Miles (Ala.) - 11,117
3. Tuskegee (Ala.) - 10,869
4. Kentucky State - 10,534
5. West Texas A&M - 10,379

Division II Conferences
1. Southern Intercollegiate - 7,429
2. Lone Star - 6,077
3. Gulf South - 5,029
4. Mid-America - 4,767
5. Great American - 3,841

Division III Teams
1. St. John's (Minn.) - 7,948
2. Wisconsin - Whitewater - 7,552
3. Hampden-Sydney (Va.) - 6,723
4. Wabash (Ind.) - 4,873
5. Concordia - Moorhead (Minn.) - 4,839

Division III Conferences
1. Minnesota Intercollegiate - 3,372
2. Old Dominion - 2,966
3. Wisconsin Intercollegiate - 2,943
4. American Southwest - 2,506
5. Ohio Athletic - 2,416

View the NCAA's in-depth PDF document here.

Video: Wisconsin football players take part in halftime show

Fun video here from Wisconsin of the football players joining the dance team at halftime of a recent basketball game.

After the dance team gets things started, about 17 football players storm the court to show off their moves.

We're still waiting to hear Gary Andersen's review of the performance, and if toe touches have been a staple of their winter workouts.

In all seriousness, it looks like the players had a great time, and this is definitely some good comic relief to pull you through the rest of the day, especially if you keep an eye on the big guys. One lineman, front and center at the end, even does the splits.

Mike Gundy has found his offensive coordinator, and it's a surprise

Nearly two months after Todd Monken departed Oklahoma State to become the head coach at Southern Miss, Mike Gundy has found his replacement, and it's not one that anyone saw coming. Gundy has stepped into the Division II ranks to pluck Mike Yurcich from Shippensburg University out of Shippensburg, Pennsylvania.

In his first year at Shippensburg, the Red Raiders finished 7-4 and ranked ninth in Division II in total offense and 14th in scoring offense. But it was this fall when Yurcich's offense stepped into high gear, as the team led Division II in total offense at 529.9 yards per game and placed second in passing offense (387.7 ypg) and scoring offense (46.9 points per game). 

The Red Raiders posted an 11-2 record, reaching the second round of the Division II playoffs. The squad topped 35 points 11 times in its 13 games, posted more than 40 points nine times, and beat the 50-point barrier on a half dozen occasions. Quarterback Zach Zulli was the star of the Shippensburg attack, ranking third nationally in total offense and fifth in passing efficiency. The junior connected on 342-of-544 passes for 4,747 yards with 54 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. Those numbers allowed Zulli to also lead Division II in total passing yards and points responsible for.

A 1999 graduate of California University of Pennsylvania who has spent all but two years of his decade-plus coaching career at the sub-FBS level, Yurcich undoubtedly takes a long ride on the career elevator with this move. Not only does he step into an offense which ranked fourth in total offense and third in scoring offense in FBS, it returns three quarterbacks that saw significant action in 2012 as well as four of its top five pass catchers. 

Most significantly, Yurcich arrives at a position where his predecessors include the aforementioned Monken, West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen and North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora. Gundy has a proven eye for offensive coaching talent, and he may have unearthed his latest gem in Yurcich. 

Shippensburg isn't exactly a fixture on ABC's Saturday Night Football package, so we reached out to our Twitter followers to see what those who knew Yurcich could expect Oklahoma State's offense to look like under his direction.

Thanks to KFOR reporter Nate Feken, here's Yurcich at Shippensburg breaking down a play using Star Wars legos. 

Edsall shares scaring recruiting story that had him dialing 911

For major college programs, recruiting some of the top talent can sometimes take you into some scary areas to be able to sit down and talk to a recruit and their family.

While we see the excitement in the war room on signing day, there's almost always a handful of interesting stories from the recruiting trail that coaches bring back to the office. Randy Edsall shared one of those interesting experiences from a recent trip on the recruiting trail in Florida with assistant Brian Stewart.

Patrick Stevens of D1scource.com has the full story here.

Here's what went down according to Edsall;

"So we’re driving up this road and it’s leading us toward Pahokee and I said ‘Brian, I’ve been down here. I’m just telling you, where we’re going isn’t where we want to be going.’ We keep driving and he says ‘The GPS says it’s right up here in a couple miles.’ I said ‘OK, I’m just telling you, this isn’t the right way.’"

“All it is is sugar cane fields. There’s no lights. It’s dark. It’s 7, 8 o’clock at night. It’s in December. I’m like ‘This isn’t right.’ There’s a railroad track there and alll the sudden there’s this development and there’s probably 10 houses. It’s like ‘OK, here it is.’ Take a left. Take a right. There’s a church and some nice homes there. You go down and take another left and he says ‘It’s on this street.’"

“It’s so dark out you can’t even see the numbers on the houses and he’s going real, real slow. I said ‘Brian, I’m telling you, this is not right, you know?’ So he gets on the phone — true story — and he says ‘Will, is your address this?’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Well, we’re here. Which one is your house?’ “We’re looking and sitting there for probably five, seven minutes and he said ‘It’s not there,’ so we start to go. We’re going to take a left and here comes a pickup truck in this development and they’re staring at us like ‘What the heck are you guys doing in here?’"

"Then we have a car that comes up behind us and I said ‘Brian, I think we ought to get out of here.’ “We go and take a left and the next thing you know, we have both of them on our bumper in this little development as we get out on thus highway. Brian says ‘Randy, hold on.’ So we come flying out of this development and take a right. The pickup truck tries to rear-end us. The other one tries to go outside of us. He says ‘Call 911.'"

“I’m calling 911 and I’m getting on the phone and I say ‘I’m the head coach of the University of Maryland, I’m out here. I know where we’re at. We’re getting chased. I didn’t do anything. We need a police officer to come out here and make sure nothing happens.’ We drive two and a half, three miles with these people chasing us and finally we get to this light and Brian outran them a little bit and get to the light and took a right and they stopped following us.”

Every staff comes back with some interesting stories from the recruiting trail (and we'd love to hear some more), but this gem from Edsall seems straight out of a scary movie. 

All Access at Michigan State's signing day

See coaches working the phones, welcoming the Spartan's latest commits in this short clip from Michigan State's signing day.

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