Today's question: straight up, will Boston College fans travel to the Independence Bowl?
Grant: Yes, Brian will bring a friend with him to Shreveport.
I mean, "travel"? No, there will probably be barely double-digit BC fans making the trip from New England down to Louisiana. But I do think any BC alums within a 3 hour drive will go, and that might be a decent number, particularly from Texas.
But no, I don't think we'll have much of a fan section. However -- I think we are going to look pretty great on 'tickets sold,' because of the athletic department's genius move of offering the ability to purchase USC tickets with the purchase of a bowl game ticket (which is a fantastic deal at just 20 bucks). That alone will at least make our travel 'numbers' not embarrassing.
New Guy: This is not going to be well attended by BC fans because Shreveport is such an awkward location. It's also at an awkward time of day, being a 12:30 eastern start, 9:30 western start, and 11:30 local time start on New Year's Eve. But I also don't think the goal of these bowl games is attendance, at least not anymore in the era of the 35 bowl games (or whatever it is). In 2007, the question was about if the team's fans would travel because the availability of games was a little different. But in 2013, in the era of ESPN3 and Internet streaming and different forms of watching the game, the goal is to get ratings and generate games that will draw and generate interest for advertising revenue. If you're at a BCS game or the Cotton Bowl or the Peach Bowl, then, yes, attendance matters because it's higher profile. But this type of bowl game is meant to showcase the football team and the product on the field, and given BC's current state of affairs, that's slightly more important right now.
I could write a book about how much this have changed; I'd be more interested to see the engagement online, on twitter, on facebook, in comment sections, and in ratings. The whole concept of the bowl game has changed, especially for a program that's rebuilding literally from the ground up, so attendance is going to be a deceiving number.
Coach: I don't think so, but what do you mean by travel? This won't be the 25,000 that made it to the Cotton Bowl in 1985 and I wouldn't consider Shreveport a destination city either, but I think there will be a minimal bounce achieved between Brad Bates' efforts, the turnaround of the program and AW's rush to the Heisman. BC won't travel well to a bowl game unless:
a) they get to the Pinstripe Bowl. It's just so close and so many NYC area alums they would do well there or
b) they make it to a BCS bowl game and even then, I would wonder.
As we've documented well in other stories, it will take years and years of high level success to get BC to the point where people outside of the students, alums and some diehards will be willing to travel to any bowl game, and that may even include playing in the college football playoff. I'll believe it, when I see it.
A.J: Unfortunately I do not believe that Boston College fans will be traveling to Shreveport. The bowl game is attractive enough, with two of the nations premier running backs facing off, but there are too many other variables that will prevent attendance. One, Shreveport. Who is going to spend $400+ a ticket to travel to that location. No offense, but it's not much of a destination. Secondly, the date. If this was a more prestigious bowl game people would want to travel on New Years Eve, but then again this is the Independence Bowl and our fan base is infamously fickle when it comes to travel. Finally, Spaz. While many of us are jacked up from the past three months of football, there is still a sizable group that has not returned. This group is very cynical about the program, and it is going to take more than a 7-5 season for them to return. They may not be the most level headed fans, but their resistance to embrace this team will also impact attendance.
Jeff: Unfortunately, BC fans will not travel en masse to the Independence Bowl this season. Since it is further away from Christmas that some of the bowl games BC has frequented in the past, there is a greater chance of a few thousand traveling reasonable distances to see the game. But, Shreveport is not exactly a hub for alumni and it is certainly not on most BC fan's travel wish list. Since it has been a few years now since the Eagles' last appearance in the football post season there might be one or two thousand more BC fans in attendance than would make the trip if we ended up back in the same bowl game again in a few seasons. But basically the answer is no.
Brian: Well, I'll be there. I'm not expecting a Champs Sports Bowl 2007 / USC 2013 or even a Fight Hunger Bowl 2009 showing, but we're not talking Humanitarian Bowl here either. The good news is the pressure is off for Boston College fans to travel to this game. The I-Bowl folks know that Shreveport isn't the easiest destination to get to and it's pretty far from every ACC program. This year's BC-Arizona matchup is a TV play. Nothing more.
That said, I think this game will be moderately well attended by BC fans. Maybe 3-4K total (out of a total school allotment of 6,000 tickets). This game has a lot going for it. One last time to see Heisman finalist and Doak Walker award winner Andre Williams punish would-be defenders. A rejuvenated coaching staff, athletics department and fan base following a 2-10 season a year ago. A mildly interesting matchup with a similar program out of the Pac-12. It's a New Year's Eve game with the pressure off of BC fans traveling to the game.
Or maybe I'm just deluding myself into thinking it's going to be more than me and 50 of my closest Eagles fans in the Independence Stadium stands.