UCLA’s football squad will go up against the Houston Cougars on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. The Bruins will have home-field advantage over the now-lowly Cougs and are currently 18-point favorites.
Of course, just how much of a home-field advantage will it be for these Bruins?
Attendance at the Rose Bowl is always wacky, because LA fans are always so sporadic. Of course, last week saw a huge bump in attendance with the Bruins opening at home against Nebraska, whose fan-base travels like freaking cockroaches.
The result? A crowd of 72,000, which is entirely respectable for a UCLA football game these days.
But with Nebraska fans out of the equation this week, UCLA will cater to Houston, a team that doesn’t exactly have a dedicated fan-base outside of the Houston area and one that is actually pretty terrible coming into the game.
Should UCLA expect a crowd of 70,000 on Saturday?
That’s impossible to predict because Los Angeles is an unpredictable city. Fans go hot and cold often but it wouldn’t be unreasonable to see a fan-base react to the relevance of these UCLA Bruins.
So that’s the over/under for attendance at the Rose Bowl this weekend: 70,000. Will it be over? Under? Let’s give reasons for both because we have nothing else to talk about.
Why more than 70,000 fans will show up to the Rose Bowl on Saturday to watch UCLA-Houston
UCLA is ranked #22 in the nation. I still haven’t gotten over the fact that UCLA is the 22nd best team in the nation, a huge jump from the college football blogosphere giving us a ranking of 70 preseason. And UCLA fans tend to react to this. The last time the Bruins were top-25 and played at home was against BYU in 2007, and the attendance was 73,000. Of course, BYU has a bigger following than Houston does, but not that much. Perhaps a ranked UCLA team could spark interest with the locals.
UCLA has the most exciting offense in the Pac-12. There’s no reason to think that Noel Mazzone has put together one of the most fun offenses in the conference, putting this UCLA squad ahead of Oregon’s. UCLA plays a fast-paced, spread-the-ball-around, big-play-potential offense that can bust out 70-yard runs with regularity or play a no-huddle, hurry-up offense with 12 minutes to go in the first quarter. UCLA accumulated nearly 650 yards of total offense two weeks in a row with this formula, so it’s not as if they’re doing something wrong.
#Franklin4Heisman. Franklin has gotten massive love from the national and local media for bursting onto the Heisman scene so early. He’s the leading rusher in college football and is on pace to entirely wreck UCLA’s all-time rushing record (he’s 637 yards away from Gaston Green). Franklin’s been super exciting to watch and he could bring a lot of fans along so they can get a glimpse of what a Heisman contender really looks like.
Seeing is believing. UCLA is supposed to have undergone a massive culture change and is supposed to be a more explosive, well-run team as a result. UCLA has been on the back of LA fans’ minds and now that they realize that there are, indeed, two football teams in Los Angeles, they might want to see what this Mora business is all about.
It’s a late-night game at 7:30 p.m. on a Saturday. A game at noon would be tough for LA fans to get to, because they’re likely to be hung over from the night before. Either that, or they just don’t want to wake up. A 7:30 game will allow them to send the oh-so-LA text of “yo u wan go c ucla?” (errr, or is this just me?) at 1 p.m. and still be able to put together a decent tailgating party.
The game will be held on the Pac-12 Network, which not everyone has. As our man Dexter Fishmore of SB Nation noted, the game will be held on the Pac-12 Network, which is still working out a deal with DirecTV and might not be readily available for others.
Why less than 70,000 fans will show up to the Rose Bowl on Saturday to watch UCLA-Houston
It’s UCLA. There’s no doubt that UCLA has lost a lot of credibility in football over the past ten years. It’s been a disastrous decade for this team in every aspect, and any semblance of stability will be taken with 10 pounds of salt and a huge-ass charbroiled steak. Rick Neuheisel ruined the Bruins and people might be skeptical that Jim Mora has saved them.
It’s Houston. Seriously. This team blows.
It’s a late-night game at 7:30 p.m. on a Saturday. I know, I know, this is double-dipping. But still, a late-night game might see fans be burned out from a long day of checking out yard sales or eating a sandwich or whatever LA people do on Saturdays. Plus, it’s either a UCLA football game or a party. Yes, there are dumb people who’ll choose the party, but whatever.
Seriously. It’s Houston. I can’t stress this enough guys.
Do you think UCLA will hit 70K at the Rose Bowl this Saturday?