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Oklahoma State Football

TV Numbers Have Been Measured, But How About Passion Between Big 12 and Pac-12 Fans

July 28, 2022

STILLWATER – This past week the PR folks (media) have been working overtime, and we will raise our hand and gladly admit that we participated in the battle for supremacy between the recently wounded Pac-12 Conference and the year removed from defection Big 12 Conference. In the immediate aftermath of USC and UCLA bolting to the Big Ten on June 30 the prevailing thoughts were the Big 12 might absorb some of the Pac-12. Others felt there might be a merger. Still others felt the Pac-12 would still be able to stand on it’s own merits. 

We still don’t know the outcome, although recently Stewart Mandel of The Athletic and Jon Wilner, the most informative reporter on all that is Pac-12 writing for the San Jose Mercury-News have pushed the Pac-12 as still being a self-suficient power conference. 

Pat Kinnison - Chief Photographer
Boone Pickens Stadium striped.

I’m not saying one or the other, but I am bringing in a different measuring stick. Passion on college football Saturdays is driven by full or near capacity stadiums full of fans wearing school colors and making noise.

Sirius-XM producer Robbie Triano gave me the idea when he talked about how fans in the Big 12 region and middle America seem to be more passionate and love their college footbal more. I went to Phil Steele’s College Football Preview 2022 magazine. You see in every school’s preview, Phil includes stadium, stadium capacity, and last season the percentage of seats that were full in that stadium. 

I had to bring in a pair of newbies in the Big 12 as I left off all of the departing schools, Oklahoma and Texas in the Big 12 and USC and UCLA in the Pac-12. Honestly, the Trojans and Bruins are in big stadiums and have a high percentage of empty seats, so leaving them out helped the Pac-12.

Big 12 Conference vs. Pac-12 Conference Head-to-Head Match-Ups
Big 12 Conference Pac-12 Conference 
School Stadium/Capacity 2021 Pct. Seats Filled School Stadium/Capacity 2021 Pct. Seats Filled
Baylor McLane Stadium/45.140 99.1% Washington Husky Stadium/70,083 89%
Oklahoma State Boone Pickens Stadium/55,509 96% Oregon Autzen Stadium/54,000 92%
Iowa State Jack Trice Stadium/61,500 99% Utah Rice -Eccles Stadium/51,444 113%
TCU Amon Carter Stadium/46,000 88% Stanford Stanford Stadium/50,000 71%
West Virginia Milan Puskar Stadium/60,000 86% Oregon State Reser Stadium/26,407 71%
Texas Tech Jones AT&T Stadium/60.454 87% Arizona State Sun Devil Stadium/53,599 88%
Kansas Kansas Memorial Stadium/47.223 56% California California Memorial Stadium/63,000 60%
Kansas State Bill Snyder Family Stadium/50,000 93% Arizona Arizona Stadium/57,400 69%
Houston TDECU Stadium/40,000 70% Washington State Gesa Field/32,952 71%
Cincinnati Nippert Stadium/40,000 93% Colorado Folsom Field/50,183 93%

I tried to get close in the head-to-head match-ups, but I think these numbers tell a story. Overall, the Big 12 is slightly more rabid about being in the stadium and cheering on their teams on fall Saturdays.

Utah Athletics
Utah fills their stadium.

Baylor, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Kansas State, and Cincinnati are the most rabid in the Big 12 and Utah, Oregon, Colorado, and Washington are tops in the Pac-12. 

If I was Brent Yormark the commissioner of the Big 12 and I’m looking for a school to add I’d start with Utah.

Discussion from...

TV Numbers Have Been Measured, But How About Passion Between Big 12 and Pac-12 Fans

1,082 Views | 5 Replies | Last: 19 days ago by Eclectic
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I agree RE Utaaaaaah as we used to say in the old skiing days. It would be good for newcomer BYU but also because they're not all the way to the Pacific Ocean. I'd also be kicking the tires on Zona and AZ State. I said Colorado before but the powers that be there don't sound like they want to rejoin the Big XII so let them enjoy being a part of the mighty Mountain West Conference if the Pac-10 doesn't survive. It's likely UW and OreGONE will get B1G invites.

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Don't be too hard on Oregon State their stadium is under renovation so they only have about half of it available.

Still a good portion of the attendance in the PAC is tickets sold/given out, not rears in seats.
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it might have been more interesting to line them up by stadium size and then look at attendance

or simply look at number of games with over 50,000 fans in attendance

after all, what good is a "rabid fanbase" if there are only a couple thousand of them? I don't think that tells the story that you were aiming for.

Just lining the teams up by stadium size probably tells the same story.... i.e., if your stadium is under 45,000, then you don't have a rabid fanbase, regardless of how full it may be.

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Interesting analysis Robert and indeed a different slant on the overall debate ...thanks for compiling /presenting it!
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I don't necessarily agree with the way the Athlectic/SB Nation/ Analyst conducted the analyses. However, in statistical analyses you should remove anything that confounds the data. I understand why certain games were removed; however, you can't just separate the cream from the top and forget about everything else at the bottom.
The way the study should've been designed was to take the mean audience of all the games by school, on each network, and at each different time interval. Anything plus or minus 3 standard deviations of the mean should be removed. It shouldn't just be that these teams are leaving the conference, so they're left out of the data.
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