Coming off one of the most successful seasons in program history, the Clemson Tigers saw the largest crowd attend its spring game during the second weekend of April. With an estimated 50,000 fans coming out to see the defending ACC champs in action, Clemson narrowly edged division rival Florida State for the top spot in the early going of the spring football game attendance leader board.
If history is any indication, Clemson will not remain on top for very long unless Mother Nature gets involved. Ohio State set the record last year with nearly 100,000 coming out to see the defending national champions. Urban Meyer is hoping to cross the 100,000-fan barrier this year. Alabama, Tennessee, Nebraska and Penn State are all traditionally big draws for spring football games as well, and they each have spring games still to be played.
When evaluating spring game attendance it is important to keep a few things in mind. First, every school handles the number differently. Some keep an actual count, while others merely give a rough estimate. Some do not even bother to keep track at all, which is why not every spring game attendance can be accounted for. Second, some spring games are held in a different venue than the football stadium. For example, Stanford held a spring scrimmage in a soccer stadium with a much smaller capacity. So take some of these numbers for what they are with all of that in mind.
Here are the most up-to-date spring game attendance numbers as of April 12, 2016 as provided by each school (note: schools with no attendance tracked are not included, as are schools that did not respond to College Football Talk via email on the subject);
- Clemson – 50,000
- Florida State – 49,913
- Florida – 46,000
- Auburn – 45,723 (read more about Auburn’s attendance)
- Oklahoma – 42,436
- Michigan – 35,000
- South Carolina – 32,916
- Texas A&M – 27,412
- BYU – 18,000
- Boise State – 6,100
- Colorado – 5,100
- UNLV – 2,800
- Stanford – 2,500
- Wake Forest – 2,100
- Nevada – 600
- Air Force – 500
All updates to this year’s spring game attendance database can be viewed HERE, and you can break the data down by conference.
Boise State’s depth at quarterback just got a little more shallow, which is somewhat to be expected. On Saturday in Boise State’s spring game, freshman Brett Rypien played well and made a case for the starting job heading to the summer. On Tuesday, Boise State announced Ryan Finley will pursue a transfer to play elsewhere.
“We wish Ryan the best,” Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin said in a released statement. “He is going to leave Boise State with a degree, and that is what this is all about.”
With Finley earning his degree from Boise State, that qualifies him to play right away in the fall at another FBS program as a graduate transfer. It is unknown if there is a short list for Finley to consider, but there will be no shortage of options.
Finley completed 46 of 70 pass attempts last fall for 485 yards and a touchdown with four interceptions in three games. Rypien appeared in 11 games and led the offense with 3,350 yards and 20 touchdowns as he grabbed a firm grasp on the starting quarterback job under Harsin. There was likely not much that would stand in the way of him being named the starter again for 2016.
Many teams offer up a nice meal to the winning team of a spring football game. At Boise State, the winners get treated to a nice steak dinner. On Saturday, the Broncos offense went home knowing they would be getting a rich steak meal after clipping their defensive counterparts by one point in an adjusted scoring system. The defense attempted to call a late timeout to setup an opportunity for a fourth-down stop at the end, but the timeout was not credited and the offense escaped with a 49-48 victory.
Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien had a productive afternoon for the Broncos offense in leading his team to three touchdown drives. Two of those touchdowns came through the air off Rypien’s arm with Sean Modster pulling in each, each from outside the red zone including a 52-yard play. Running back Devan Demas ripped off a 21-yard touchdown run as well as the offense finished the spring on a positive note after reportedly being somewhat sluggish this spring leading up to the game.
“That’s been kind of the theme all spring. We’ve been back and forth with the defense; you don’t really want one side of the ball to be dominant,” said Rypien, according to The Idaho Statesman. “Today, we got them a little bit more, but our defense has been doing a great job all spring. That unit, there was a lot of questions about them coming into spring, but they’ve been doing a really good job.”
If the Boise State offense needed a little motivation to get focused to perform the way they did on Saturday, maybe it was the thought of a steak dinner. But what did the losing team get to eat? Hot dogs wrapped in foil.
Boise State actually has one more practice to hold before wrapping things up for the spring. The Broncos will hold their final practice on Monday.
Each of the past two summers, Joe Martarano has left the Boise State campus to play professional baseball. This summer, and while the rising redshirt junior is not giving up the stick-and-ball sport entirely, the linebacker’s focus will be solely on football ahead of the start of summer camp in early August.
“I’m a junior now and I think it’s time to pick a sport and be a leader here for my team,” Martarano (pictured, No. 7) said according to the Idaho Press-Tribune. “I’m not giving [baseball] up; I’m putting it on hold.
“My (other) dream is to play in the NFL, so if that doesn’t work out, maybe after two years I can try to give baseball another shot and see how it goes.”
In the 2014 Major League Baseball amateur draft, Martarano was a 22nd-round pick of the Chicago Cubs. He’s spent the last two summers at the club’s spring training facility in Arizona, and played a total of 18 games at the Low-A level of minor league ball in Eugene, Ore. According to the Press-Tribune, Martarano hit .275 with four doubles, a triple, five runs scored and 13 RBIs.
On the football side, Martarano started four of 13 games for the Broncos last season. His 53 tackles were tied for fifth on the team.
Given the fact that his focus will be on football this summer, Martarano will be penciled in as a starter heading into camp.
In a shocking turn of events, the NCAA has displayed some benevolence. And (gasp!) some common sense. For once.
A little bit of a kerfuffle arose back in May of 2014 when it was reported that the NCAA would not allow Boise State to provide assistance to Antoine Turner, a Broncos defensive tackle who was essentially homeless when not enrolled in classes. The Association reversed course a short time later, ruling that BSU could “provide immediate assistance to [the] football student-athlete.”
Turner went on to play in 13 games in the 2014 season. Shortly before the start of the 2015 season, however, a potential eligibility issue in regards to Turner was discovered and the player sat out the year while the situation was investigated. Just what the specific eligibility issue was that caused the probe wasn’t detailed.
That investigation found that, because of what was described only as a “transfer eligibility matter stemming from his time in junior college,” Turner never should have been eligible to play in that 2014 season. However, because there was, as determined by the NCAA, no way for BSU to have prior knowledge of the issue, The Association decided that the university would face no sanctions, including no forfeiture of games in which Turner played.
Turner, though, was “rendered permanently ineligible” by the NCAA.
That said, Turner remains on scholarship and is expected to graduate from Boise in the summer of this year. He also took part in Boise’s Pro Day this past week.