We know how Big East teams fared on the field in 2010, but how about in the stands?
Once again, the league lags behind some of the sport's superpowers in attendance, without a single team in the top 33 in average home attendance this season, according to NCAA statistics. Here is how the league stacked up:
34. West Virginia: 56,325 per home game
40. Pittsburgh: 52,165
42. Louisville: 50,648
48. Rutgers: 47,013
58. South Florida: 40,849
60. Syracuse: 40,064
66. Connecticut: 38,248
69. Cincinnati: 35,067
Overall, average home attendance was up slightly (1.2 percent) league wide, but that increase can basically be credited to one school's massive jump. Half of the league saw its attendance decrease, while a fifth school had basically the same numbers as a year ago. To wit:
Louisville: 56 percent increase over 2009
Syracuse: up 2.6 percent
Cincinnati: up 3.3 percent
Connecticut: up 0.05 percent
West Virginia: down 1.7 percent
Pittsburgh: down 2.4 percent
Rutgers: down 4.3 percent
South Florida: down 22.3 percent
Louisville's leap is easy to understand, as the school expanded Papa John's Cardinal Stadium and saw a spike in interest with the hiring of Charlie Strong and a better team on the field (and understand that the NCAA figures are from the school's official listed attendance; there were plenty of empty seats at Louisville games this year). Syracuse had much better crowds for its first winning season since 2004. Cincinnati's increase is understandable when you factor in the Oklahoma game at Paul Brown Stadium. West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Rutgers all dealt with some level of fan disappointment. South Florida's large decrease is harder to explain. The Bulls did have a bad home schedule early and didn't have a marquee team come into Raymond James Stadium like Miami did in 2008.
I think we will see better attendance figures in 2011. Excitement is already high for the new offenses at West Virginia and Pitt, while Rutgers figures to rebound. USF will be helped by a home game against Miami.
Oh, and in case you're wondering, TCU ranked 56th in home attendance, with 42,466 per home game. The Horned Frogs officially filled their stadium to 95.7 percent capacity in 2010.