So sorry for the lack of activity on the blog over the last week or so. In addition to the holidays I went down to Birmingham for the game and my laptop is having some issues; I am just now getting back to something that resembles a normal life.
I’ll have more from Birmingham later, but I just wanted to start off with a big shout out to Wolfpack fans for their awesome support of the program. The Wolfpack’s presence in Birmingham was fantastic. The only thing that saved Rutgers from major embarrassment was that their colors are identical to Wolfpack red.
(Update: We’ll also be posting a huge gallery of tailgating and inside the stadium when I get time to dump the cameras and put it together. — Alpha)
In the midst of a deep economic recession and a season when a bowl trip was not naturally ingrained into the fanbase’s psyche, it was a fantastic testament for NC State to take over 10,000 fans to a destination as lackluster as Birmingham. (I guess we should expect nothing less from fans who sit in the rain over the holidays just to watch practice).
The draw of this year’s game will go a long way to helping the PapaJohns.com Bowl to live to fight another day. The announced attendance of over 38,000 was the highest in the bowl’s three year history despite last year’s game that featured Southern Miss whose campus is approximately 250 miles from Birmingham.
The first PapaJohns.com Bowl announced a grossly inflated attendance of 32,000 fans for East Carolina vs South Florida game. The game was attended by so few fans that the bowl attempted to force most fans to sit on only one side of the field so television wouldn’t show the large number of empty seats.
Rob Daniels shared the following in the Greensboro News & Record:
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The N.C. State football team didn’t win the Papajohns.com Bowl, but its fan base staved off potential disaster for the three-year-old game.
With an estimated 10,000 State supporters in attendance, the contest announced a crowd of 38,582 — a slight increase from the 35,258 figure of 2007. The Pack was a late replacement for the SEC, which was unable to provide a team when it placed two clubs in the BCS and everybody moved up a spot in that league’s pecking order.
Some context for the 10,000 figure:
* ACC champion Virginia Tech had sold 4,700 of its allotted 17,500 tickets for the Orange Bowl as of Tuesday.
* Miami distributed 4,000 of its 10,000 allocated seats for the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco.
* About 5,000 Southern Mississippi fans attended last year’s Papajohns.com Bowl against Cincinnati. The Golden Eagles’ campus is 235 miles from Legion Field. N.C. State is 553 miles away.
A lot of you younger fans have never known the Peach Bowl (aka Chik-Fil-A Bowl) as anything other than a resounding success. So, you will be surprised to learn that in the mid-1980s the Peach Bowl was so close to the edge of extinction that the Bowl committee was throwing hail maries by re-branding the game ‘The NEW Peach Bowl” with the hopes of attracting enough local support to breathe some life into the bowl’s death spiral.
After five consecutive years of announced attendance under 51,000 fans, the 1985 Peach Bowl match-up between Army and Illinois generated attendance of only 29,857 and left the game financially reeling. Then came NC State.
The Peach Bowl hit a financial home run with their selection of NC State and Virginia Tech in 1986 as the two schools combined for an attendance figure of 53,000 fans – almost exclusively comprised of out of town visitors. The success provided the Peach Bowl the opportunity to live to fight another day and ultimately evolve into its current-day success. The 1992 Peach Bowl between East Carolina and NC State was the last bowl played in Fulton County Stadium before the game moved to the Georgia Dome. That game generated more attendance (59,322) than any Peach Bowl in history at the time (23 games).