The defending national champions welcomed the family back to Death Valley on Saturday for the conclusion of spring practices. The annual spring game drew a crowd of over 60,000 fans, which was more than 10,000 fans from the previous spring. As a result, Clemson currently leads the pack when it comes to spring game attendance, although that time at the top of the charts may not last very long if history is any indication.
A crowd of at least 60,000 fans is certainly nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to spring football, but Clemson should be expected to struggle to stay ahead of some of the annual heavy hitters in spring football attendance with upcoming spring games on tap. That begins this weekend when Ohio State holds its annual spring football game. Last year, the Buckeyes set a new national spring record with a crowd of 100,189, which topped the 99,391 Ohio State drew the previous spring in 2015. Hitting 100,000 fans may not be expected again in Columbus this weekend, but the history of the past few seasons shows Ohio State is among the top draws in the spring. In each of the previous three springs, Ohio State has had over 61,000 fans attend its spring game. Clemson may have won the battle on the field with Ohio State last January, but Urban Meyer may get the upper hand where it counts the most; spring game attendance (this is a joke, obviously. I’m clarifying that now because I know someone will get me on Twitter or in the comment section if I do not).
Ohio State is not the only spring powerhouse Clemson may slip behind in the coming weeks. Nebraska is another traditional leader in spring game attendance and the Huskers wrap up the spring in Lincoln this week. Nebraska has drawn over 72,000 fans each of the past two seasons and this year should see somewhere between 60,000-72,000 fans once again.
Next week will see Georgia (93,000 fans last year but roughly 46,000 fans each of the previous two seasons) make a push and defending Big Ten champion Penn State (65,000 last season) look to capitalize on the success of last season to fuel the enthusiasm for the Blue-White Game this spring. Not to be forgotten next week, of course, is Alabama. The Crimson Tide regularly pack in over 60,000 fans for its spring game and drew over 76,000 fans last season.