The football season might seem in the distance but here at Vanquish the Foe we’re counting down the days until the first game against the Utes. To help ease out way unto the season we’re going to spend every day exploring a specific question pertaining to BYU Football. Some of the questions will focus on important topics (offensive play calling) and others will explore the subjects of a rather...inconsequential nature. Today we’re going to talk about the attendance at home games.
There is no arguing that LaVell Edward Stadium can provide a distinct home field advantage for the Cougars. Aside from the natural elevation change that the majority of visiting teams face, a packed house at LES can create quite challenge. The only issue for BYU is there have been very few home games in the past couple of seasons where the attendance has reached capacity.
We won’t dive too deep into why the attendance has dipped recently, but on the surface it’s obvious that poor performance overall and a weak slate of games are the key contributing factors. It’s hard to get people excited about a football team that isn’t playing well and even worse when they are playing teams that don’t really peak much interest. BYU has only sold out one home game in the last two seasons (against Utah in 2017) and they haven’t come close since then (the drew just over 58,000 for the Utah State game, about 5,000 short of a sell-out).
But 2019 is a new season and things should be looking up! And we’re not just saying that because we’re blue-goggled optimists.
For one, BYU has a great home slate against some quality opponents like USC, Washington, Boise State and Utah. The back half has some traditional November fluff that we’re accustomed to (Liberty and Idaho State) but this will be the strongest home slate for the Cougars in the independence era.
Also, after finishing the 2018 season with a beat down of Western Michigan in the Idaho Potato Bowl, fans should be a little more optimistic about the product they’ll see on the field in 2019. After a few years of offensive futility the Cougars will return a huge portion of their key contributors and the coaching staff will be settling in after their first year with the program.
So how many games will BYU sell-out in 2019? In a perfect world where good things happen we’d go six for six, but since we’re dealing with logic and reason, we’ll go with two.
The first game against Utah will most likely be a sell-out. Despite the eight-game losing streak, the rivalry game will still put butts in the seats (even if quite a few of them are wearing red). After that the USC game should also bring a long of fans to Provo. Even if the Trojans are somewhat of a mess right now, in more ways than can fit on the printed page, they’re still a marque college football team. The only thing that could put a dent in the attendance at the USC game is a poor showing against Utah and Tennessee. The first few games of the season set the tone and an impressive win or devastating loss could swing the pendulum in either direction.
The same goes for the Washington game. If BYU goes into that game with a 2-1 record then there is a good chance that game is a sell-out. At 1-2 is a lot less likely and if for some reason 0-3 happens then, well we just won’t think about that. The next home game after that is against Boise State and that game comes on the heels of two surprisingly difficult road games to Toledo and South Florida. Again, the momentum of the program will determine how many people attend that game.
If BYU can sell-out LES against either Idaho State or Liberty it means that the Cougars are undefeated, which is not within the bounds of reason at this point in time. We love the Cougs and are positive that we’ll see a better team this year but this ain’t the quest for perfection.
In fact, if BYU can fill LaVell Edwards Stadium to capacity against either Liberty or Idaho State, then VTF will buy anyone who comments on this article a breakfast burrito. That’s right, just leave a quick comment below and a delicious breakfast burrito could be yours if 63,470 show up to watch BYU deliver a righteous beat down on Liberty.
Here’s to hoping that we’ll see fewer empty seats in Provo this Fall and that many of you will be enjoying breakfast burritos courtesy of our SB Nation boss Matt Brown, who will definitely be happy to fund this burrito bet even if we forget to ask him.