I haven’t even written this post yet and I know it’s going to get at least 40-50 comments.
You write about something long enough and you know what topics are red meat and there are few juicier topics for Syracuse Orange fans to chew on than home attendance.
There’s a reason every beat writer posts a “Here’s what it looks like ten minutes before kickoff. Yeesh” tweet before every game. They know you’re going to react. And you don’t disappoint.
Less than 10 minutes before kickoff here at Carrier Dome. pic.twitter.com/qkzGY5LVma— Joey Knight (@TBTimes_Bulls) September 17, 2016
I’m as guilty as anyone. I’ve obsessed over the numbers, trying to figure out What It All Means and how we can return to the days of a full Carrier Dome. In almost ten years of doing this, I’ve come to two indisputable conclusions.
- Sustained winning is the only thing that matters. Everything else is window dressing.
- The modern world is not made for stadium sellouts in places like Syracuse.
Last year as the Orange sputtered to a 4-8 finish, Syracuse fans avoided the Carrier Dome like there was a plague inside. It was the lowest home attendance in any season since they built the place.
Much like Dino Babers’ offense, it looks like fans are moving fast to break their own records as well.
With 3 home games down and 3 to go, Syracuse football is on pace for worst Carrier Dome attendance ever https://t.co/g7ncz1Ll7R— Brent Axe (@BrentAxeMedia) September 19, 2016
Syracuse opened the 2016 season with three straight home games, drawing an average of 31,936 fans for Colgate (31,336), Louisville (32,184) and South Florida (32,288).
If Syracuse stays on that pace in its final three home games, it will fall below the mark of an average of 32,102 fans that attended seven home games in 2015, the lowest mark in Carrier Dome history.
If we know anything about casual football fans, the conveniences of modern society, and way Syracuse is losing football games right now, the odds look pretty good that SU fans will continue to stay away in 2016. Debate the merits of that all you like but it’s honestly not worth your time.
Aside from Florida State, none of the three remaining home opponents move them meter, and casual Orange fans have seen SU vs. FSU enough times to assume how that’ll turn out.
Maybe, much like the football team’s win-loss record in 2016, we need to just do our best not to assign value to it. On the field, this is a season about putting building blocks in place. It’s about preparing the program for what’s to come. And as for attendance, we know in our heart of hearts that people will come as soon as they start seeing results.
I do think there are things Syracuse Athletics could be doing to set their own building blocks. I can tell you that The Sound Wave is not one of those things and it concerns me that’s where their head is at. Regardless, if Dino’s Orange can pull off a surprise upset later this season and come out guns blazing in 2017, we’ll see the numbers rise.
Ultimately, for all the planning and complaining and anger and solutions, winning is only thing that matters.