No conference brings 'em in like the SEC, and the figures for 2012's spring games are no exception. But it's a Big Ten team that has once again led the nation in spring attendance.
That team is the Ohio State Buckeyes, which, according to the figures compiled Tuesday by Sports Business Daily, took the crown with a crowd of 81,112 -- some 2,500 fans ahead of second-place Alabama's 78,526. Both marks are actually lower than the Buckeyes' and Tide's numbers in recent years, which have regularly topped 90,000. Ohio State set a record in 2009 with better than 95,000 attendees.
Despite the impressive turnout from both Buckeye supporters and those at Penn State -- 60,000 Nittany Lion fans filled Beaver Stadium to rank No. 3 on the spring attendance list -- the SEC nonetheless easily drew the most fans as a league, claiming eight of the top 13 schools on the list. Every school in the conference drew 15,000 fans or more, save for Vanderbilt and Kentucky, with the SEC's 14 teams averaging 31,819 attendees. The Big Ten averaged 27,386 fans for the eight teams reporting figures.
The only non-SEC, non-Big Ten teams in the top 15 (and at 28,000 fans or more) were No. 4 Texas (46,000), No. 6 Oregon (44,129), No. 9 Florida State (40,631), No. 14 Notre Dame (31,582) and No. 15 Clemson (28,000).
How much any of those numbers have to do with on-field success in the fall is highly debatable, but there's no doubt that looking at those for the Buckeyes, Tide and the SEC at-large suggests that they may indeed be roughly associated with a boost in prestige, then recruiting, and then wins -- good news for the likes of the Ducks and newly Mike Leach-led Washington State, which set a school record at 10,713 fans.
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