There’s nothing quite like the opening day of college football season. It means waking up early, putting College Gameday on the TV, finally wearing that jersey you haven’t worn in months, grabbing a 12-pack (or two) along with any other necessary munchies, and heading on down to the stadium with your buddies to begin one of the best days of the year! While college game-day traditions are something most college students (and alumni) long for… not all fans are as eager.
If you are one of those people... this post is for you, please pay attention. The USF football program has a fundamental problem -- fans only attend their games in big numbers when they are playing a big-name team, or are having a successful season.
Saturday night, the Bulls hosted the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga at Raymond James Stadium in front of an announced crowd of 41,285 fans. It seems like year after year, the Bulls home' opener has a less-than-desired crowd. Playing a no-name team from Tennessee doesn’t always help, but other schools around the nation do the same thing in week one and still manage to have sold-out crowds. While the number of Bulls fans is increasing every year, and this is a much bigger number than even a few years ago, USF is still struggling to sell tickets for their home openers.
If you regularly attend USF games and happened to be in attendance on Saturday night, one thing is already clear… that was NOTHING compared to the crowd that’ll be there on September 29. "Fair weather fans" is too harsh, but let’s just say our fans aren't always the most loyal.
It should be no surprise that fans are not rushing out to scoop up home opener tickets when the Bulls did just come back from a 5-7 season. While I'm sure we've all spent the last few months trying to get rid of the memories, the 2011 season did happen, whether we like it or not. I'm sure it directly translated into a lower attendance at the 2012 home opener than last year, when USF hosted Ball State in their 2011 home opener before a crowd of 45,113. That's almost 4,000 more fans than this year.
With B.J. Daniels' three touchdown passes and another TD rushing, fans had plenty to cheer about Saturday night. The Bulls improved their record to 11-0 when playing their season opener on their home turf.
Which kind of fan are you? Are you the one that is there rain or shine? Are you the one coordinating 7:00am tailgating extravaganzas for those noon kickoffs? Do you attend every game... including the home openers? Do you truly bleed green and gold? If so, congratulations... and we need more of you.