Growing up in Texas, we had all heard the stereotype that football was considered a religion in the state. To an extent, the aforementioned isn’t too far from being a reality. Smaller towns all across the state of Texas shut down on Friday nights during the fall and the place to be is at the local high school following the local team. Hollywood has even perpetuated the notion with films such as Friday Night Lights and the eventual television series with the same name.
This year, the UIL did something that it had never done before – the organization scheduled all 10, 11-man championships in one central venue over a three-day stretch. From Dec. 15-17, the eyes of Texas descended upon Cowboys Stadium in Arlington with the finale featuring the Class 5A Division II championship game that concluded with an unexpected runaway golf cart.
Over the three day stretch, attendance was a resounding success as record crowds were on hand. The Class 4A Division II championship game between Aledo and Manvel took home the attendance record for the weekend with an announced crowd of 43,369. The Class 5A Division I championship between Southlake Carroll and Fort Bend Hightower drew a crowd of 42,822.
On the day after Christmas I found myself watching the Advocare V100 Independence Bowl between Missouri and North Carolina and couldn’t help but notice the small crowd on hand in Shreveport, LA. To be fair, a non-premiere bowl game on the day following Christmas and poor weather were factors in the small crowd but it got me thinking – are there too many bowl games?
Through the first eight games of the college bowl season, the average bowl attendance has been 31,430. Attendance numbers should pick up as the bowl season progresses as the more tradition-rich bowl games are still on the docket. But to put things in perspective – Aledo and Manvel outdrew the first eight bowl games with Southlake and Hightower outdrawing all but the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.
Calling football in Texas a religion might be a stretch. However, football in Texas is King.
2011-12 College Football Bowl Game Attendance Numbers:
Gildan New Mexico Bowl: 25, 762
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: 28,076
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: 42,841
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg: 20,072
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl: 24,607
Maaco Bowl Las Vegas: 35,720
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: 32,630
Advocare V100 Independence Bowl: 41,728
Little Caesars Bowl: 46,177
Belk Bowl: 58,427