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Group of Five Football Attendance Numbers: AAC, MW, MAC, Sun Belt & C-USA

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Despite coming off a two win season in 2014, us UTEP types showed up decently in 2015 compared to the rest of the G5 landscape.

Tom Gonzales (Miner Rush)

UTEP football and top-10 are two phrases you usually don't see together in the same sentence. Whether it be recruiting classes, overall wins, bowl appearances, or anything else that involves picking the top-10 best anything among college football teams.

Facing 48 years and counting without a bowl win and eight straight losing seasons the 2014 UTEP football team somehow managed to finish among the top 10 of the Group of Five attendance leaders. Out of 60 schools that participated in either the American Athletic, Mid American, Conference USA, Mountain West or the Sun Belt, UTEP finished inside the top 10. We have yet to reach our full potential but once we do, we will be battling for the #1 spot.

Just two years ago half of the top 10 belonged to C-USA and we had no teams outside the top 40. Now due to some questionable replacements by C-USA bossman Britton Banoskwy, seven of our 14 schools are in the bottom 25. The overall average for a C-USA stadium on game day is 19,934. The top three teams that fill seats keep the conference respectable, without them it would look really ugly. Times have changed and getting twenty thousand for a G5 game is considered good I guess.

The newly formed American Athletic Conference leads the group of five in total attendance. Including incoming member Navy, the AAC averages 29,447 per game. They have five schools averaging over 30k and three more who in the recent past have reached over 30k in Houston, UConn, and Cincinnati. Mix that in with the minimum coaches salary of 1.1 million and you can bet the house once the AAC finishes developing they will be bordering the Power Five in a number of facets.

TEAM Average Attendance Conference Record
1. East Carolina 44,786 AAC 8-5
2. Central Florida 37,812 AAC 9-4
3. Fresno St 34,876 MW 6-8
4. Memphis 33,581 AAC 10-3
5. Boise St 32,504 MW 12-2
6. San Diego St 32,294 MW 7-6
7. South Florida 30,694 AAC 4-8
8. Cincinnati 28,860 AAC 9-4
9. UTEP 28,377 C-USA 7-6
10. Houston 28,311 AAC 8-5
11. Air Force 28,161 MW 10-3
12. UTSA 27,576 C-USA 4-8
13. Marshall 27,461 C-USA 13-1
13. Connecticut 27,461 AAC 2-10
15. Hawaii 27,451 MW 4-9
16. Colorado St 26,575 MW 10-3
17. UL Lafayette 25,775 Sun Belt 9-4
18. Tulane 25,012 AAC 3-9
19. Arkansas St 24,861 Sun Belt 7-6
20. Nevada 23,862 MW 7-6
21. Temple 23,370 AAC 6-6
22. Appalachian St 23,166 Sun Belt 7-5
23. Southern Miss 22,739 C-USA 3-9
24. New Mexico 21,937 MW 4-8
25. #FreeUAB 21,841 C-USA 6-6
26. SMU 21,528 AAC 1-11
27. Ga Southern 21,502 Sun Belt 9-3
28. Texas St 20,598 Sun Belt 7-5
29. Ohio 20,515 MAC 6-6
30. Utah St 20,467 MW 10-4
31. Buffalo 20,403 MAC 5-6
32. Old Dominion 20,118 C-USA 6-6
33. La Tech 20,054 C-USA 9-5
34. Tulsa 19,647 AAC 2-10
35. Wyoming 19,599 MW 4-8
36. Toledo 19,548 MAC 9-4
37. North Texas 19,271 C-USA 4-8
38. RICE 18,562 C-USA 8-5
39. La Monroe 18,108 Sun Belt 4-8
40. South Alabama 17,445 Sun Belt 6-7
41. Middle Tennessee 17,408 C-USA 6-6
42. Troy 16,767 Sun Belt 3-9
43. Western Kentucky 16,306 C-USA 8-5
43. Central Michigan 16,306 MAC 7-6
45. Massachusetts 16,088 MAC 3-9
46. Miami (Ohio) 15,906 MAC 2-10
47. UNLV 15,674 MW 2-11
48. Western Michigan 15,625 MAC 8-5
49. Bowling Green 15,228 MAC 8-6
50. San Jose St 15,068 MW 3-9
51. Eastern Michigan 15,025 MAC 2-10
52. Georgia St 15,006 Sun Belt 1-11
53. Florida Atlantic 14,122 C-USA 3-9
54. Northern Illinois 13,563 MAC 11-3
55. Kent St 13,544 MAC 2-9
56. Charlotte 13,278 C-USA 5-6
57. Idaho 12,886 Sun Belt 1-10
58. NMSU 12,269 Sun Belt 2-10
59. Florida International 11,966 C-USA 4-8
60. Ball St 9,289 MAC 5-7
61. Akron 9,170 MAC 5-7

The Mountain West finished in second with an average of 24,855. Their top three teams of Boise State, Fresno State and San Diego State along with only two low averaging teams helped them stay above C-USA and the Sun Belt. With nobody else in the conference labeled as a big draw the MW might find themselves permanently in second place.

One would have expected for the MAC and Sun Belt to fight to stay out of last but that was not the case. The MAC clearly takes over last place with only 14,984 fans per game.

We have the AAC in the top spot, #2 goes to the MW, the MAC takes #5 so who took the third spot? In a war that was a lot closer than it needed to be the Sun Belt's 18,943 falls just a bit short.

Fortunately, for the Sun Belt, Conference USA went after flashy market names instead of snatching the best available football teams.  While we anxiously wait for the "great potential" that the big city schools have the Sun Belt is automatically capitalizing in seeing some of their weaker programs raided. They have supplemented their power teams(Arkansas State, Lafayette) with proven up and coming schools (Georgia Southern, Appalachian State)that might be small markets, but they sure do love their teams and fill up the stadium.

It all seems set in this new post BCS era in terms of attendance numbers. The AAC and the MW will always battle for the highest spot while C-USA and the Sun Belt combat for third place.