This is the type of post you probably wouldn't see on, say, the Big Ten or SEC blogs here at ESPN.com.
But the Big East continues to be an up-and-coming league that needs to prove itself not only on the field but in the stands. The key for the conference to keep getting better bowl tie-ins is to keep bringing lots of fans to its postseason games.
So here's a look at how many fans each school brought to its prospective bowls this year. These are estimated figures, based on the number of tickets sold through the bowl allotment for each school. Sure, more fans may have purchased tickets to these games directly through the bowl or through other means, but the allotment numbers is the only one that bowls can really count as hard evidence.
Allstate Sugar Bowl: Cincinnati sold 18,000 tickets.
Konica Minolta Gator Bowl: West Virginia sold 15,000 tickets.
Meineke Car Care Bowl: Pitt sold 5,000 tickets.
Papajohns.com Bowl: Connecticut sold 4,500 tickets.
International Bowl: South Florida sold 1,000 tickets.
St. Petersburg Bowl: Rutgers sold 9,600 tickets.
A few thoughts:
Cincinnati had a strong showing -- the Bearcats greatly outnumbered Florida fans in the French Quarter all week in New Orleans -- that should help the school's reputation going forward. West Virginia always brings lots of fans and might have had more in Jacksonville if Florida State backers not gobbled up so many tickets to see Bobby Bowden's last game.
Pitt did nothing to change its reputation as a poor traveling fan base. But it's hard to knock Panthers fans too much since the Meineke game was held the day after Christmas. More fans could possibly have driven down the day of the game, but I'm not going to blame anyone for not wanting to spend Christmas in Charlotte instead of with their family.
You probably would like to see a bigger showing from UConn, especially with the Jan. 2 date against an SEC opponent. But that still represented one of the bigger traveling parties in Huskies' history, and you'd have to pay me to sit in the run-down modern ruin that is Legion Field, much less in frigid temperatures.
No one could be surprised by South Florida's turnout. In fact, if 1,000 actual fans -- not band members or administrators -- actually made the trip all the way to Toronto, I'd be stunned. The International Bowl's attendance of 22,185 was the smallest of any bowl this year. Good riddance.
My initial numbers on Rutgers were off but have been fixed. The Scarlet Knights had another good turnout and have shown to be one of the bigger traveling fan bases in the Big East.