"The Glass Bowl needs to be expanded not because they need more room for sell outs. ... the chances of getting a mid-level team from a top conference increases."
In my opinion, Toledo has done pretty well with attracting non-conference opponents to the current Glass Bowl.
I attended a lot of Rockets football games early last decade. I have been an occasional attendee since. With nothing but personal experience, it seems that the crowds were bigger 10 to 15 years ago at the Glass Bowl, especially against MAC opponents. I need to view attendance data for every home game to verify.
In 2014, Toledo hosted Missouri. The Tigers used to play in the Big 12 conference, but now they play in the SEC, which is a pretty good conference. Missouri was ranked #24 when they played UT.
I attended that game. It was an afternoon contest. The weather was great. And while the crowd attendance was decent, it was not packed.
I suppose that Missouri only agreed to visit Toledo because their head coach, Gary Pinkel, coached for Toledo back in the '90s.
Last month, UT hosted Iowa St who plays in the Big 12.
In 2013, Toledo hosted Navy, which is usually an enjoyable game and a fun fan experience. I have attended Navy games at Notre Dame and Toledo.
In 2012, UT hosted Cincinnati, ranked #21.
In 2011, UT hosted Boise St, ranked #4.
In 2010, UT hosted Arizona from the Pac 12.
In 2009, UT hosted Colorado, another former Big 12 school who now plays in the Pac 12.
In 2008, UT hosted Fresno State, ranked #25.
In 2007, UT hosted Purdue who plays in the Big 10.
In 2006, UT hosted Kansas who plays in the Big 12.
Back in 2003, UT hosted Pitt who was ranked #9 at the time, and the Rockets upset them.
In 2001, UT hosted Minnesota who plays in the Big 10.
According to the Glass Bowl Wikipedia page, the stadium's record attendance is 36,852, which occurred in 2001 against Navy. The current stadium capacity is 26,248.
The Navy-Toledo game occurred about mid-way through the 2001 season. Since it occurred after 9/11, one might assume that led to the large attendance for that game. Maybe it did.
But if you look at this 2001 UT Rockets football team Wikipedia page, the Glass Bowl attendance for the Aug 30 game against Minnesota was 34,950, and that was a Thursday night game. According to that same page, the Glass Bowl attendance for the Rockets game vs Northern Illinois on Sep 29, 2001 was 36,502. That's amazing for a MAC game.
The Rockets were also damn good in 2001.
If the Glass Bowl attendance of the 2001 season was typical, then it would make sense to expand the size of the stadium.
For 2015, the Rockets host Northern Illinois on Nov 3. It's an 8:00 p.m. start on a Tuesday night, and the game will air on ESPN2. If the game is important in deciding who wins the MAC west division, then maybe the attendance will be good.
Looking ahead ... (subject to change)
In 2016, UT will host Fresno St.
In 2018, UT will host Miami (Fl.) The Rockets play at the Hurricanes in 2017.
In 2019, UT will host BYU.
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