News With Commentary by TSL Staff

Friday, January 16, 2004
by Will Stewart,

Hokies Win Final Big East Football Attendance Crown

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In their final season in Big East football, Virginia Tech captured their third attendance title in the last five seasons, with an average of 65,115 fans per game. That bested #2 Pittsburgh by about 6,000 fans per game, as the Panthers had an average of 59,197 fans. Miami, the 2002 champions, averaged 58,135 fans per game in the Orange Bowl.

2003 Big East Football Attendance Figures
(ranked by ave. attendance)
VT (65,115) 7 455,805 65,115 65,115 vs. Seven Teams
Pittsburgh (65,000) 6 355,183 59,197 66,421 vs. Notre Dame (10/11)
Miami (72,319) 7 406,946 58,135 79,932 vs. Florida (9/6)
WVU (63,500) 7 365,436 52,205 67,715 vs. Pittsburgh (11/15)
BC (44,500) 6 255,622 42,604 44,500 vs. Two Teams
Syracuse (49,550) 7 288,169 41,167 48,170 vs. Notre Dame (12/6)
Rutgers (41,500) 6 164,032 27,339 32,382 vs. Navy (9/27)
Temple (68,532) 5 120,687 24,137 30,090 vs. Villanova (9/6)
OVERALL 51 2,411,880 47,292 79,932 - Miami vs. FSU (9/6)

The history of Big East attendance leaders is an interesting one. The Miami Hurricanes won the title from 1991-1994, with the exception of 1993, when WVU finished first.

From 1995-1998, the Mountaineers won the attendance title, with figures that ranged from 50,000 to 55,000. From 1999-2003, the Canes and Hokies have alternated winning the attendance title, with Miami tending to win it in even years, in which the Florida State Seminoles and Hokies came to town.

Big East Football Attendance Winners, 1991-2003
Season School Avg.
2003 Virginia Tech 65,115
2002 Miami 69,539
2001 Virginia Tech 53,662
2000 Miami 58,430
1999 Virginia Tech 52,519
1998 West Virginia 54,136
1997 West Virginia 52,854
1996 West Virginia 55,696
1995 West Virginia 50,297
1994 Miami 60,331
1993 West Virginia 57,786
1992 Miami 55,675
1991 Miami 57,964

It's interesting to note that Pitt's average attendance of 59,197 in 2003 would have won the title ten of the thirteen years the Big East has existed, and Miami's third-best attendance 58,135 would have won it nine times. Among those three -- VT, Pitt, and Miami -- they produced some of the best attendance seasons on Big East record. The 2003 Big East attendance total of over 2.4 million is an all-time record for the league.

But that's the past. How would the Hokies have placed in the 12-team ACC? The answer is, pretty well. If you add VT, BC, and Miami to the ACC, the Hokies would have finished third in average attendance, behind only FSU and Clemson.

"Future" ACC Attendance Figures, 2003
(12 schools, ranked by ave. attendance)





Florida State








Virginia Tech 7 455,805 65,115





Miami 7 406,946 58,135

N.C. State




Georgia Tech








No. Carolina




Boston College 6 255,622 42,604

Wake Forest








VT is unlikely to outdraw FSU and Clemson, who boast stadium capacities of 83,000 and 81,473, respectively, according to

Worth noting: of the ACC schools listed, only Florida State, Maryland, N.C. State and Virginia Tech finished at 100% capacity or greater.

Big Victory Over Villanova for the Hokie Women

Wednesday night's 63-50 pasting of Villanova by the VT women's basketball team was a big win in more ways than one:

  • It halted a two game losing streak for the Hokies, who were 12-2 and a precarious 1-2 in the Big East.

  • Villanova came into the game 12-2, but more importantly, 2-1 in the league.

  • The Wildcats ended UConn's NCAA record 70-game winning streak by beating the Huskies for the Big East championship last year, and Villanova advanced to the final eight of the NCAA tourney.

Villanova came into the game ranked 13th in the RPI ratings, and with the victory, (at the time of this writing) Tech now has two wins over teams in the RPI top 25 (#19 Villanova and #12 ODU) and three more wins over teams in the RPI top 50 (#38 Maryland, #47 Virginia, and #50 Alabama).

Those are two of the measures that the NCAA uses to determine NCAA Tournament bids and seedings. Another important measure is losses to teams outside the RPI top 100, of which Tech has none.

With their own RPI rating of #13, the Hokies are sitting pretty for an NCAA bid, with 12 games left, provided they win 8 or more of their remaining 12 regular-season games. Contests against RPI heavyweights Miami-Fla (#9), UConn (#11), and Boston College (#17) will help keep the Hokies' RPI rating high, win or lose.

But games against RPI dogs St. John's (#146), Syracuse (#166), Pittsburgh (#178) twice, and Providence (#203) will drag down Tech's RPI rating, win or lose, and losing would be particularly painful.

The Hokies are hosting a four-team NCAA Tournament sub-regional in Blacksburg next March, regardless of what happens from here on. If VT makes the tourney, they'll be one of the four teams to play in Blacksburg -- they will not be sent anywhere else.

Tech's next game is Saturday, Jan. 17th at Georgetown, at 3 p.m. For VT's schedule and RPI ratings of their opponents, click here. For VT's schedule info, including times, click here.


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