TCU remains a favorite target for its sometimes sporadic attendance at home football games, despite whatever number the school reports at the bottom of a box score. All teams that are not at capacity inflate attendance figures. It's standard practice.
This picture from a TCU home game in 2013, specifically the dog against Kansas, is fodder and provides the can't-miss line of, "Nobody goes to their games!"
With an enrollment of less than 9,000, TCU football games will forever remain a challenge to fill up Amon G. Carter Stadium's 45,000 seats. Despite its inclusion in the Big 12, numbers are not in this team's favor for a good crowd. There are reportedly more Texas Tech alums in DFW than TCU alums.
Throw in the possibility of the awful 11 a.m. kickoffs and/or bad weather, plus the chance to drink booze at the tailgate, capacity crowds are a bad bet. It does not help that participation/attendance from TCU's student-body is erratic.
Attedance is only never an issue when TCU hosts Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Texas, etc.
Attendance is not a lack of effort on the part of the athletic department, or head coach Gary Patterson. Do not believe any "ranking" that the renovated Amon G. Carter Stadium is anything other than a wonderful place to see a college football game.
One of the details that frustrated former TCU head coach Dennis Franchione in his tenure at the school was the constant struggle to fill the stadium. All coaches notice when there are large section of empty seats.
Do the players?
"I'll be honest, and you can ask my parents, I don't look up in the stands," safety Sam Carter said. "If you are worried about the fans, then you are not worried about the game. Fans should not want you to make good or bad. Even on road trips, I don't notice the stands."
"The fans do not ignite me or want me to play better," he said. "Now, some guys it makes a difference. A lot of these guys played at Lake Travis or Katy High where the place was packed. They are used to that. Me, I didn't play at that type of program. Fans never impacted me. Once I get to the game, my mind is set on the other team. I do believe I am different in a lot of ways."
Carter does not speak for the majority. Most players notice the atmosphere, and play with greater sense of urgency when the place is full.
"You notice when you walk out of the tunnel," junior defensive tackle Joey Hunt said. "They get the environment going, and people do feed off of attitude. If you are around sad people, you are down. If you are around happy people, you are happy. It can definitely help us. It gets the sideline going, and then we get going. The more people the better."
I asked Hunt if he could ask anything of TCU fans what he would ask of them.
"I want it to sell out and come to the game and stay for the whole game," he said. "I know it can get hot, but we're hot, too."
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