Rodriguez on sellout: 'It's like the Yankees'
Here's a parallel sure to strike a nerve with fans in the Tampa Bay area: West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez is taking at least some credit for USF's first-ever sellout, comparing the following for his No. 5 Mountaineers to another team with a strong following on the road in Tampa.
"We're highly ranked (No. 5) and when you go somewhere, they're going to sell out the stadium," he told the Charleston Daily Mail of West Virginia. " I think it's like the Yankees. Every game they get a big crowd."
Well, sort of. West Virginia played a similar weeknight game at Maryland two weeks ago, drawing a crowd of 53,107, which was the fifth-largest crowd ever at Byrd Stadium. Just the same, Maryland's home opener -- against I-AA Villanova -- drew 50,389 in the same stadium, so a I-AA team was drawing within 3,000 fans of what the Mountaineers pulled in.
West Virginia was allotted 4,000 tickets for the game initially and sold all those tickets, then requested another 250 earlier this month, which USF granted. The Mountaineers returned 150 of those on Monday, however, which were quickly sold on the USF end.
The same Daily Mail story quotes Rodriguez as saying Ray-Jay will be a "hotdog environment" -- I can only assume he said "hostile" and the reporter heard wrong. Otherwise, I'm not sure what a hotdog environment is.
When West Virginia came to USF two years ago, they were 9-1 and ranked 12th and drew 45,274 fans against a USF team that was 6-4 and hoping for an upset. That crowd is still the record for most ever to see the Bulls at Raymond James Stadium. The same stadium will have 20,000 more fans on Friday night, so my question is this: how many of those 65,000 fans do you think will be cheering for West Virginia? And for that matter, how many will be wearing Yankees jerseys?