Fans Continue to Pack the Jones

As Jones Stadium has, in piecemeal fashion, expanded, Red Raider fans have certainly upheld their end of the bargain by filling it up, or close to it, on a regular basis. The trend of huge crowds, some of them topping 60,000 souls, continued last week against Oklahoma State when a colossal throng nearing 62,000 packed the Jones. And this despite the fact that Tech was coming off a loss.

As Jones Stadium has, in piecemeal fashion, expanded, Red Raider fans have certainly upheld their end of the bargain by filling it up, or close to it, on a regular basis. The trend of huge crowds, some of them topping 60,000 souls, continued last week against Oklahoma State when a colossal throng nearing 62,000 packed the Jones. And this despite the fact that Tech was coming off a loss.

Unfortunately, the backing of the black mass didn't seem to spur the Red Raiders on as they quickly fell behind 21-0 and ultimately lost 52-34. Sadly, this combination of a huge crowd and a disappointing loss has become all too common with Tech football. In fact, six of the seven largest home crowds in Tech football history have witnessed losses. And truthfully, most of those losses weren't even close. The lone Tech victory before one of the seven largest home crowds came earlier this season when the Red Raiders stuffed Texas State.

There are, of course, logical explanations for Tech's poor showing before massive home crowds. Most obvious, people show up to see the Red Raiders take on great competition. They flock to the stadium to see Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, not Indiana State, Sam Houston State and the University of Massachusetts. And, when you play good teams, you are more likely to lose, home-field advantage notwithstanding.

Another explanation is that the expansion of Jones Stadium occurred simultaneously with Tech football's decent into mediocrity during the Tommy Tuberville years. Had the stadium expanded during the later years of Mike Leach's reign, the results doubtless would have been better.

But explanations aside, there can be no doubt that the Red Raiders must do better at home when the chips are down. Attendance at sporting events around the country is on a downward trajectory. So far, Texas Tech football has been a striking exception to the rule. But if the Red Raiders continue to drop the big games at home, those loyal customers may decide to play it safe and watch from their own living rooms.

Additionally, big home games very frequently coincide with big recruiting weekends. Football programs like to showcase full stadiums and electric atmospheres. But when the home team continually spits the bit in these situations, much of the benefit of bringing in recruits at that time is lost.

Kansas State comes to town on Saturday, and it is entirely possible that the crowd will be one of the seven or eight largest in school history. Saturday, November 7 would be a fine time for the Red Raiders to reverse Tech's history of disappointing the faithful precisely when most of them are on hand.

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