January 13, 2011
Over the holidays, Prep Rally mentioned that the Texas Class 5A state championship game between Pearland and Euless Trinity at Cowboys Stadium actually outdrew the first three bowl games of the holiday season.
As it turns out, that memorable Texas title tilt performed just as well against much of the college bowl slate. By the time all the paid attendance at Monday night's title tilt between Auburn and Oregon was tabulated, the Pearland-Trinity matchup's 43,321 fans beat out 16 of college football's 35 bowl games.
While none of the strongest traditional bowl games were among those 16, three notable college games beaten were the Independence Bowl and the debutant Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium and TicketCity Bowl, held at the Cotton Bowl on New Year's Day. Despite the TicketCity Bowl including a Texas team (Texas Tech) at a historic stadium, it still fell short of the state 5A game's numbers.
Perhaps equally amazing, there's no reason to believe that the Texas high school attendance figures might not improve next year, too. The 2010 title game was the first in which a series of three consecutive state-title games were held at the same venue, with fans allowed to stick around from game-to-game. With one successful year under that program in the book, the University Interscholastic League has made it clear it will look to duplicate 2010's success, and even build on it, in the future.
"It's been incredible. You get the championship atmosphere," UIL athletic director Cliff Odenwald told the Dallas Morning News. "We consider it a major success. We think the attendance number is great for the first year, and we think this has a chance to grow."
Hear that Poinsettia Bowl, Hawaii Bowl, Champs Sports and -- amazingly -- Holiday Bowl? A Texas high school event is gunning to beat your annual attendance, and it just might pull it off.