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   Welcome to TSLMail #181 - Friday, June 24, 2005    
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On the Road in the ACC, Hokies Draw Above-Average Crowds
by Chris James, TechSideline.com

Since Virginia Techís rise to national prominence, a lot has been made about the Hokiesí traveling fan base, the ability to fill opposing teamsí stadiums, and to draw out opposing fans in droves. That was certainly true in the Big East, and the Hokie Nation did an excellent job of making their presence felt in opposing venues in 2004, but as youíll see from this edition of TSLMail, itís not quite as true in the ACC.

First of all, it is still true that Tech is a pretty big draw. Just take a look at the data in the following table, which shows attendance figures for each ACC team that Tech played on the road in 2004.

Attendance at 2004 VT Road Football Venues

Team

Capacity

Ave. Overall
Attendance

Ave. ACC
Attendance

VT
Attendance

Georgia Tech

55,000

46,817

48,556

48,398

Miami

72,319

59,134

59,342

62,205

North Carolina

60,000

52,458

55,563

58,000

Wake Forest

31,500

30,752

31,805

32,433

Crowds definitely came out to see the Hokies in 2004. Attendance for games in which the Hokies were the opponents drew more than the average attendance for the season for all four teams, and with the exception of GT, the Hokies drew more fans than the average ACC game. The Georgia Tech game being a Thursday night game probably held attendance down, or it would have been four out of four for average ACC attendance, as well.

Part of the high attendance numbers for VT road games is due to the fact Tech fans travel so well, and partly because Virginia Tech is considered a quality team, and with the exception of Miami was new on each teamís schedule in 2004.

When we take a deeper look however, we see that the Hokies were not the single biggest draw for any of their road opponents in 2004. Letís start with Georgia Tech.

Georgia Tech 2004 Attendance

Team

Attendance

Samford

43,100

Miami

55,000

Duke

46,856

Virginia Tech

48,398

Uconn

43,577

UVA

43,971

There was a pretty good crowd on hand to watch a dramatic fourth quarter comeback by the Hokies during the Thursday night contest in Atlanta, but only the Miami Hurricanes could draw a full house in Atlanta in 2004. Too badÖthey missed a much better game than the 27-3 snoozer against the Canes. Again, the VT game being played on a Thursday night was a factor. (The Miami-GT game was played on a Saturday.)

Speaking of Miami, the Hokies and Hurricanes are known for some epic matchups during the last ten years. That type of history, plus the ACC Championship on the line, would bring out a great crowd in the Orange Bowl to see VT vs. Miami, right? Well, I guess that depends on your definition of ďgreat crowd.Ē

Miami 2004 Attendance

Team

Attendance

Florida State

78,622

Louisiana Tech

53,721

Louisville

63,715

Clemson

55,225

Wake Forest

41,315

Virginia Tech

62,205

Naturally, the Florida State game was the biggest drawn for Miamiís home slate in 2004, because it's a long-standing rivalry, plus the crowd also included a lot of Seminole fans. But surprisingly, the Hokies were upstaged by a Conference USA Team, Louisville, for the #2 spot. The Louisville game was an out of conference Thursday night game, but the Virginia Tech game was nationally televised on a Saturday afternoon for the ACC Championship. Itís tough to figure out Cane fans.

North Carolina had a pretty attractive home schedule in 2004.

North Carolina 2004 Attendance

Team

Attendance

William & Mary

43,500

Georgia Tech

46,250

Louisville

49,000

NC State

60,000

Miami

58,000

Virginia Tech

58,000

Itís pretty easy to see who the attractive opponents on this schedule were. Miami and Virginia Tech visited on back-to-back weekends, while NC State is a great in-state rivalry. Itís a little surprising that Georgia Tech and Louisville did not draw more. It also says something about local rivalries when Miami and Virginia Tech did not draw more than NC State. Despite NC State having a down year, and UNCís bowl situation very much up in the air (and not looking good at that point), the Wolfpack still drew more fans. You have to figure that the crowd in Kenan Stadium that day included a lot of NC State fans.

A similar pattern can be found when looking at Wake Forestís 2004 attendance.

Wake Forest 2004 Attendance

Team

Attendance

North Carolina A&T

27,893

Boston College

29,463

Virginia Tech

32,433

Florida State

31,403

Duke

25,762

North Carolina

37,623

While Virginia Tech and Florida State drew very well, the local battle with North Carolina was easily the most sought after ticket in Winston-Salem this past fall. Not bad, considering official stadium capacity is 31,500 fans, and much like the NC State/UNC game in Chapel Hill, the crowd probably included a large number of UNC fans.

The NC State/UNC and UNC/Wake games show one thing. Despite the national name that Miami brings, and the regional notoriety that the Hokies have in ACC country, nothing tops the Tobacco Road showdowns, at least for ACC football fans from the state of North Carolina.

It is interesting to compare Virginia Tech with Miami and Florida State, the teams that most believe will remain at or near the top of the ACC standings for many years. Miami and Florida State are rich in tradition, and generally find themselves residing somewhere in the Top 10, or higher.

Virginia Tech was a higher draw than Florida State on one occasion in 2004Öat Wake Forest. A little over 1,000 more fans showed up in Winston Salem for Techís game than that of the Seminoles. And that was only because thousands of Tech fans made a very short drive to see the game. On the other hand, no ticket could be had for the Miami vs. Florida State matchup in the Orange Bowl, due to the nature of the rivalry and the closeness of many Seminole fans. The Hokiesí game at Miami didnít even approach a sellout, even though thousands of VT fans made the trip.

Miami drew about 7,000 more fans to Georgia Tech than the Hokies did. In fact, the Yellow Jacketsí only sellout of the year came against Miami. So the Hokies, who arenít quite considered to be on the same level as Miami or Florida State, have a little catching up to do when it comes to filling stadiums.

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   TechSideline.com Updates From the Past Week


Ahoy Matey! ECU Pirates, Others Fill Hokies Non-Conference Schedules
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com, 6/24/05, 12:55 am
The Virginia Tech athletic department announced its non-conference football schedules through 2011 on Thursday, including dates, and the centerpiece of the future schedules is an 8-game series with the East Carolina Pirates. The schedules include a myriad of opponents, ranging from 1-AA William and Mary to LSU. Notably absent? The West Virginia Mountaineers.
in News and Notes

Big Plays, Epic Battles, and Eye-Gouging: Ten Years of the VT-Miami Rivalry, Part 1
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com, 6/22/05, 1:50 pm
In the last ten years, one of the fiercest, most competitive, meanest rivalries in college football has blossomed between the Miami Hurricanes and the Virginia Tech Hokies. While it still flies under the radar when compared to rivalries like Ohio State-Michigan, Miami-Florida State, and Texas-Oklahoma, there's no doubt that in the last ten years, no matchup can beat VT-Miami for drama, excitement, and eye-gouging nastiness.
in TSL Pass

A Gym Rat's Notebook: A Look Ahead to the ACC, Part 2
by Elijah Kyle, 6/21/05, 9:10 am
While the ACC returns the menís NCAA defending champion in North Carolina, that team will look quite a bit different, as well as much younger than the edition that head coach Roy Williams guided this past season. But, the ĎHeels arenít the only team in North Carolina that will see substantial turnover in their roster, as Wake Forest loses several key components as well, while Durhamís finest is bringing in perhaps the best recruiting class in the conference while only losing one vital member from last year's team.
in TSL Pass

Where Would an Injury "Hurt" the Most?
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com, 6/17/05, 11:50 am
Injuries. No one likes to think about them happening to a player on their favorite team, but it's an undeniable fact that injuries can derail a game or a season just as fast as poor coaching, poor talent, or poor team chemistry. Virginia Tech has a lot of talent heading into the 2005 football season, but one unknown that can slow the Hokies down faster than anything is a key injury. Or two, or three.
in TSL Columnists

 
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