While the Aggies will be cheered on in Winston-Salem North Carolina by a few loyal Aggie fans, BYU fans are expected to flock from the Midwest as the Cougars host 10th ranked Wisconsin and plenty of fans from the Bay Area will be expected to come watch the Utes host San Jose State.
Last week was plenty busy as Utah State had plenty of traffic between the Idaho/Utah border as the Aggies hosted the Bengals of Pocatello. There was also plenty of traffic near the point of the Mountain as many of the Ute faithful flocked down south for the Holy War rivalry in Provo. Driving services like Uber and Lyft were especially busy as people flying in needed a ride to the game.
Weeks like these will still bring plenty of traffic to the Beehive State. While the Aggies are back east, the attendance of these two games in the state will be largely affected by the following variables:
1. Game time: The Cougars start in the middle of the day at 1:30 PM which could deter some who are going to an afternoon wedding luncheon or shopping for groceries. However, the hard core Cougar plans will come up with excuses to get out of these duties and come rise and shout in Provo.
The Utes have a later game at 8 PM but the spreading out of the games will create continuous traffic on I-15 from dawn until dusk on College Football Saturday. On Friday night fans from out of state will land in the airport and head for their hotels. There will be some earlier tailgating at BYU and after the BYU game, Ute fans will be starting to arrive at their tailgating party. The traffic will then likely be heavy at the start of the fourth quarter at 11 PM with the game in the bag and fair weather fans trying to beat traffic.
2. The opposing teams: The Wisconsin Badgers will also travel well as their faithful fans are known to “Jump Around” in Madison and for the Green Bay Packers despite being in smaller towns and routinely having inclement weather. If they can overcome these odds and have better attendance than big cities like San Diego, then some fans will certainly make the trek from Madison to Provo. Fans from out of state have reportedly maxed out Holiday Inns in Utah County for weak teams like Uconn and fans came all the way from Mississippi to watch their Bulldogs lose to the Cougars in Provo last year.
While the Utes don’t have as big of a matchup with a basement Mountain West team like San José State coming to town, the Spartans still come from a big market like the Bay Area. Hard core Ute fans will also want to travel to watch the Utes continue on likely another undefeated September that might result in a third straight hosting of college gameday in October. Hopefully the Utes will continue this momentum and play clutch against their real tests such as Stanford, Washington and USC in Pac-12 play.
3. The Wisconsin Badgers are ranked 10th in the whole darn nation: Seriously, when is the last time a top 10 ranked team has come to Provo? The Utes have hosted plenty of top 10 teams such as the then undefeated Washington Huskies for College Gameday last year. However, most ranked Power 5 teams make BYU play them on the road. Without this game the College Football mood this weekend would likely be ho hum in the Beehive State with possibly two cream puff games. However, BYU isn’t going to schedule easy cream puff schedules as long as they remain independent and continue the TV deal with ESPN. Expect BYU to continue to bring buzz to the college football world of the Beehive State as they continue to schedule Power 5 teams early in the season, with most of the hype dying off when they play the MAC and Mountain West basement teams of the world in a November where the greatest snow on earth keeps most of the less loyal fans either watching at home on TV or on the ski slopes.
From Silicon Valley to the Silicon Slopes, from the cheese of Wisconsin, to the “Whoosh Cecil” ice cream at the BYU creamery, college football was made for the Beehive State and all that visit it.