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Big 12 watch: Crowd size matters; BYU and Houston should top the list

Brigham Young Cougars fans cheer in Phoenix on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. BYU leads 9-0 at half.
Brigham Young Cougars fans cheer in Phoenix on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. BYU leads 9-0 at half.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Plenty of people are focused on the pitches schools have to make to the Big 12, while others were looking at how the candidates performed on the field. Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times looked at the crowd.

While talking critically of South Florida's opening game attendance and what it might mean to Big 12 decision makers, he writes, "an actual attendance of only 22,626? For the season opener? If you're a real football program, you should be getting twice that for your spring game."

He continues, "As the Big 12 mulls expansion, and a slew of teams line up, the last thing you want to do is give the conference an excuse to pull the seat out from under you. And USF's low attendance and a dull atmosphere give the Big 12 reasons to look elsewhere."

Jones wasn't the only one looking in the stands of Big 12 candidates during the opening weekend.

USA Today's Dan Wolken tweeted out attendance figures for Cincinnati and UConn, and he wasn't impressed.

Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports took a strong stance on who the Big 12 should invite to join the league.

He writes, "At this point in the proceedings, the Big 12 needs to invite Houston and BYU or explain why not. Either that or don't expand at all because little else makes sense."

He then talks about what BYU brings to the table, saying, "BYU is clearly the best football option with a brand, a budget and a history (1984 national championship)."

Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman is also a proponent of BYU and Houston after the opening weekend.

He wrote, "As we all know, there really are only four candidates. The others have either been reported crossed off the list or should be. The real candidates are Houston, BYU, Cincinnati and UConn."

He continues, "Two showed Saturday why they belong in the Big 12. The other two made us wonder why the Big 12 would want them."

Jay Yeomans is a sports writer for Contact him at