I started thinking about what the attendance is probably going to be today for the season finale between the Syracuse Orange and Boston College. I don't think it would surprise anyone if the attendance today comes in under 30K.
However, for those who are still trying to comprehend why Scott Shafer was let go earlier this week, perhaps this statistical analysis will help clarify the off-field situation he was up against.
September 11, 1982 vs. Temple: 29,574
September 10, 1983 vs. Kent State: 24,605
September 17, 1983 vs. Northwestern: 25,979
September 21, 1985 vs. Kent State: 29,822
October 5, 1985 vs. Louisville: 26,922
September 20, 1986 vs. Virginia Tech: 27,466
September 27, 2008 vs. Pitt: 27,549
November 15, 2008 vs. UConn: 28,081
September 12, 2015 vs. Wake Forest: 26,670
September 19, 2015 vs. CMU: 27,949
October 24, 2015 vs. Pitt: 29,832
November 28, 2015 vs. BC: ??,???
What do you notice?
Well, firstly, Syracuse fans do NOT like coming to see Kent State play football.
Second, it's a minor miracle Dick MacPherson made it to 1987 (he took over in '81).
Third, assuming the Boston College game is a sub-30K game, four of the twelve worst-attended Carrier Dome home games of all time will have happened this season alone.
33% of the worst Carrier Dome attendances not only will have happened this season, but will have happened on Scott Shafer's watch.
Maybe that's not entirely his fault. For things to drop off so much this season required a lot of outside factors, some of which have been bubbling in the fanbase for years, to come together all at once. Syracuse has had bad seasons before and done well attendance-wise in the Dome. But string together enough bad seasons that overwhelm the few good ones, couple that with low expectations and a schedule that doesn't excite anyone and it's a recipe for disaster.
Orange fans stayed away this season and if you're Mark Coyle you can't help but see that as a statement, intended or not. You also can't help but see the way that affects the bottom line for SU Football and SU Athletics.
So when you consider all of the reasons Syracuse is looking for a new coach right now, don't forget to factor in things like this. Also consider that Doug Marrone's first game, which followed a 3-9 season, saw a 14K attendance bump. Money talks and so do numbers like that.