If there was excitement for the Pac-12 championship game, it wasn’t reflected in the crowd turnout, at least by kickoff.
Multiple pictures from the press box in Santa Clara, California showed a paltry turnout for Utah and Washington to decide the Pac-12, and a Rose Bowl berth.
The stakes for the pair of 9-3 teams were unusual. The Utes have never played in the Rose Bowl, and the Huskies were last there following the 2000 season. This is also Utah’s first trip to the title game ever, and Washington was last in it two years ago.
Washington won the first meeting 21-7 at Utah in September, but the championship game was scoreless midway through the first quarter.
In their defense, the location is a 10 or 12-hour drive from each campus, as each is more than 700 miles away.
Interestingly, a report from the Salt Lake Tribune suggested that tickets were in high demand early in the week. Utah reportedly sold nearly all of its 3,500-ticket allotment by Monday morning, athletics director Mark Harlan said.
Levi’s Stadium, which is home to the 2019 national championship, has a capacity of 68,500, and expandable to 75,000. But a tarp covered the upper deck of the stadium, so that figure likely dropped by thousands of seats.
It’s safe to say this will likely be the smallest crowd of conference championship weekend.
Six minutes until kickoff. A Rose Bowl berth on the line. pic.twitter.com/kE4Ps6itcm
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) December 1, 2018
The crowd for the PAC 12 title game is kind of what you would get in the NCAA tournament if (1) seed Duke played (16) North Carolina A&T in Moscow, Idaho. Kind of sparse. @komonews #Huskies pic.twitter.com/g3vlSqiMwT
— MIKE FERRERI (@MikeKOMOsports) December 1, 2018
PAC 12 Championship game!🏈🍺 pic.twitter.com/AjFBFLlJUA
— William Hewins (@HewinsW) December 1, 2018
getting avi-ón one at the pac12 championship pic.twitter.com/H5ZJXggMqI
— doug e. fresh (@dbrowne93) December 1, 2018
Lots of, uh, red in the stands for kickoff.
And we’re off. Winner gets the Rose Bowl. pic.twitter.com/1TP4eVwxgV
— Joel D. Anderson (@byjoelanderson) December 1, 2018
17) washington v utah
pac12 championship pic.twitter.com/wVgEEn4KRZ
— 7️⃣ (@SevenCostanzaa) December 1, 2018