Thursday, September 15, 2005

Pickin' a fight, again.

Heismanpundit writes about how awesome it is that LA has two good football games this weekend. It's great to be excited about good games, and I can understand that he's a bit defensive about others saying there aren't lots of college football fans in LA.

However, this comment I think overstates the case:

No other city will have that many fans attending college football games on this or any Saturday.

Factually, I guess that's right. But what does it really say? Considering that no single stadium seats more than 110,000, you need to have two or more major programs in the same city to approach that number. So really LA is only comparable to the following cities or metropolitan areas which have more than one Division I-A programs:

San Francisco Bay Area (Stanford, Cal, San Jose State)
Houston (Houston, Rice)
Dallas/Fort Worth (SMU, TCU and North Texas - HT - Kevin)
Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill (UNC, NC State, Duke)
ADDED: Miami/West Palm Beach (Miami, FIU, FAU)

I think the Bay Area is even pushing it, since it probably takes longer to drive from Palo Alto to Berkeley than it would to go from Clemson to Georgia Tech. And just to be an annoying fact nerd, I'd bet Dallas would top 150,000 fans on a day when UT-OU is at the Cotton Bowl and SMU and TCU both play home games (it'd be close, at least).

The point is that USC and UCLA have more fans in their city than a bunch of mid-majors and basketball schools. Not saying all that much, I'd say.

Most major college football programs aren't in major urban areas, and if they are, they rarely have a crosstown rival. In that instance, LA is unique, not necessarily football-mad.

And, as Heismanpundit says in his comments, it's pathetic that a 2-0 UCLA team playing at home in the second largest metropolitan area in the US and favored over a team that's played for the BCS Title 3 times in the last 5 years can't fill 2/3rds of their seats, let alone sell out their stadium. Weak. Cf: Athens, GA will double in size Saturday for the arrival of juggernaut Louisiana-Monroe. Some might even say, QED, MFer.

And I'd also say that more than 150,000 Atlantans watch a college football game in person each weekend. They just so happen to travel to Athens, Knoxville, Clemson, Auburn, Tuscaloosa and even Atlanta to watch those games rather than stay at home.