Tuesday, December 9, 2008
A perennial knock on Big East Conference schools is that they don't travel well. I don't think that it's a totally unfounded complaint, but an exaggerated complaint nonetheless. I think if one were to compare the travelling bowl attendance of the average Big East school to the average ACC or PAC 10 school, they would most likely be comparable. Regardless, bowl ticket allocations for Big East schools are going fast.
Ry Rivard of the Charleston Daily Mail is reporting that "More than 9,000 of the 12,500 tickets made available to WVU's ticket office are sold. Some of those are reserved for the traveling party, which includes the band and family members of the coaches and players." Now, I'll grant you that West Virginia is one of the Big East's better travelling fan bases, but this has been a down year for Mountaineer fans and the similarly down economy might have hampered many fans from making the trek to Charlotte for the Meineke Car Care Bowl. It's going to be interesting to see the makeup of the crowd given the fact that WVU is taking on nearby UNC.
Greg Aumman on the USF Sports Bulletin indicates that Bulls fans have snapped up about 4,000 tickets to the MagicJack St. Petersburg Bowl. USF lucked out on this one being that they'll only have to travel about 30 minutes to see their team play, but this is by far one of the less appealing bowls out there, so getting fans to the game is impressive.
I don't think there is any question that Cincinnati Bearcats fans will suck up their full allotment of Orange Bowl tickets to see their team make history in Miami. Likewise, I expect UCONN fans to make the jaunt north of the border to see the Huskies take on media darling Buffalo in Toronto. What will be more difficult is getting Pitt fans to El Paso and Rutgers fans to Birmingham, AL. If I'm a Pitt Panther fan, I'm going to Texas for the match-up, if nothing else. They're taking on the Oregon State Beavers who beat USC earlier this season and almost won the PAC 10. Meanwhile, this is the most success Pitt has had under Dave Wannstedt thus far, so some fan appreciation would be nice. Getting the Rutgers faithful to Birmingham to see them take on a marginal NC State squad in the Papajohns.com Bowl will be a challenge. Rutgers has had one of the more formidable home crowds around, but convincing people to lay down coin to make this trip is a stretch.
Stay tuned for more information on Big East bowl news and look out for a possible future analysis on bowl attendance between the major conferences.