Looking at attendance in the Big East

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

There's been a lot of chatter about attendance lately in the Big East.

I mentioned the problems at Syracuse and Louisville last week in today's stock report. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Paul Zeise addressed some of Pitt's attendance issues in his blog. Cincinnati announced today that it had (finally) sold out all remaining home dates. And I'm always getting questions about why the Big East doesn't get better bowl tie-ins or bids, which is a direct result of fans' fannies in seats.

So here is how Big East teams stack up in attendance nationally, according to the NCAA. Numbers are through this past weekend's games and reflect average crowd per game:

32. West Virginia 57,952

45. South Florida 49,866

47. Pittsburgh 49,618

48. Rutgers 48,639

59. Syracuse 39,369

60. Connecticut 38,438

67. Louisville 34,514

70. Cincinnati 32,810

There are 30 FBS teams that average at least 60,000 per game. The Big East is not among that group.

Of course, these numbers can be skewed a bit by stadium size. Cincinnati, for example, only seats about 35,000 at Nippert Stadium. Pittsburgh and South Florida play in large NFL stadiums that they rarely, if ever, fill. Rutgers opened an expanded stadium this year but hasn't exactly wowed its fans with the home schedule or an exciting style of play.

Here's how the teams do according to stadium capacity:

West Virginia: 96.6 percent of capacity

UConn 96.1 percent

Cincinnati: 93.7 percent

Rutgers: 92.7 percent

Louisville: 82.2 percent

Syracuse: 79.9 percent

Pitt: 75.8 percent

(Note: I didn't include South Florida because the NCAA lists the Bulls as drawing 120 percent of their capacity at Raymond James Stadium. And I thought I was bad at math.)

Times are tough, and attendance is down a lot of places in college football and beyond. But remember these numbers the next time you wonder why the Big East isn't getting a second BCS team or why its No. 3 bowl is the Meineke Car Care Bowl.