Troy Aikman calls UCLA's attendance at Rose Bowl an 'embarrassment'

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Troy Aikman calls UCLA football's attendance an 'embarrassment' originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

While the UCLA Bruins are 3-0, one program legend isn't completely satisfied.

College and Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman called UCLA's attendance, or lack thereof, at the Rose Bowl for Saturday's win over South Alabama an "embarrassment."

The game, which kicked off at 11 a.m. local time, had an announced crowd of 29,344, and even that seemed high based on pictures that circulated on social media.

It marked the second-smallest crowd for a UCLA game in Rose Bowl history, only besting the turnout of 27,143 for the Bruins' season-opening win over Bowling Green just two weeks prior.

UCLA, which is coming off its first winning season since 2014, had an average attendance of 30,072 for its first three games. Capacity at the Rose Bowl was reduced to 53,390 for Bruins games this season after a second matching tarp was added behind one of the end zones.

"This is an embarrassment, but we couldn't fill the Rose Bowl in 1988 when we were the No. 1 team in the country," Aikman, who played at UCLA from 1987-88, said in a tweet. "Anyone else at UCLA think it's time for an on-campus 30,000-seat stadium? Of course, if we can't play better than we did today, it would be half-empty too."

As Aikman alluded to, the Rose Bowl isn't an on-campus venue. It's located approximately 30 miles away from UCLA's campus.

The Bruins, who are set to move to the Big Ten in 2024, also didn't exactly play the most exciting non-conference schedule to start the season. They were big favorites in all three matchups against teams from non-Power Five conferences. And they just barely escaped with a victory over South Alabama on Saturday.

But the average attendance so far still marks a substantial drop from 2021, when UCLA averaged 42,232 fans over seven home games.

It will be interesting to see what kind of turnout the Bruins get for their next home game, which is a Pac-12 showdown with No. 18 Washington on Friday, Sept. 30.