We all profess to love the U, but back before Mark Richt, not a lot of people proudly boasted their allegiance. After Miami embraced and created the turnover chain on route to a 10 win season, fan enthusiasm is back.
Former Notre Dame tight end, Durham Smythe, recalled when rowdy Miami fans shattered a window to Notre Dame’s team bus after ND’s 41-8 defeat last year. Smythe referenced the atmosphere at Hard Rock Stadium as “incredible.” He went on to describe how the team had to ride a different bus as a result and that in five years at Notre Dame, Hard Rock Stadium was the loudest he’d play in.
New #Dolphins TE Durham Smythe recalled the Notre Dame bus windshield being shattered by things thrown at the bus at #Canes game last year. Also said we didn’t expect that tyle of atmosphere and it being that loud. @NBC6Sports pic.twitter.com/i1PzUVoLhZ— Chris Fischer NBC6 (@FischerNBC6) May 12, 2018
In 2018, 58572 fans attended Miami home games on average. That’s the most since 2004. Hard Rock can fit about 65,000.
Looking toward the future, this is a list of 2018 Miami home games in order from lowest to highest fan attendance.
6. Savannah State
Even though this is technically Miami’s home opener, given the likelihood of an epic blowout, I don’t expect Hard Rock Stadium to be sold out. And to be truthful, the place will look reasonably empty by the 4th quarter. The Savannah St game has the makings of a pre-season scrimmage, where we might get to see Nkosi Perry’s first game action. My guess is attendance around 52,000. The Bethune Cookman game last year brought in a similar number.
Miami destroyed Duke last year 31 to 6. Its the type of game during Al Golden’s reign of terror, by which fans probably passed on going because who knew what type of effort Miami would bring. If we’ve turned the corner literally, fans will flock to these games. Duke is Duke (not that great) and we are Miami (elite). The 2017 Georgia Tech and Syracuse games brought in around 55k. I expect the same for this year’s Duke matchup. 56,000 to watch Miami destroy Duke again.
4. North Carolina
With the last two matchups against UNC being separated by just 13 points, Miami fans will be watching a barn burner on Sept 27. UNC will be tough to beat and we will need our fan base extremely energized. UNC is also the week before the FSU game, so there could be a lull in attendance. What’s more, this game is on a Thursday. The one 2017 game in which we played a team on “short” notice ended in defeat against Pitt. We could be seeing a slight decline in attendance for UNC. Around 58,000 would be reasonable.
A welcome home for former Canes coach Butch Davis. FIU finished last year a respectable 8 and 5 given its less than rich football history. I expect this game to be a blowout as well, which could curb attendance somewhat. But all week long heading into game day will be the whole Butch Davis coming home party. The FIU game will feel like Miami’s home opener. I expect the attendance to be around 60,000.
In what could be a pivotal ACC Coastal matchup to end 2018, Miami fans will be looking for blood when Pittsburgh comes to town. That’s because Pitt beat Miami resoundingly 24 to 14. Also, this slug fest is two days after Thanksgiving. You’d think Miami fans would show up in droves provided 2018 playing out like we all hope. If that’s the case, expect 62,000 fans in attendance.
1. Florida State
FSU/Miami is always the premiere game of the year for Miami. Last year, 78,000 diehard fans packed into Doak Campbell Stadium, but FSU’s stadium holds a greater capacity. The Notre Dame game, as a true comparison, last year held 65,000 people. Max capacity. This matchup will be Miami’s biggest game by far and fans will flock to Hard Rock like it’s Christmas Day. I expect it to be sold out and louder than anything we could ever dream of.
Overall you can expect Miami’s attendance to be around last year’s total. There isn’t another high profile match up on the schedule other than against FSU. But as long as we keep on winning, fans will buy tickets and attend games. It also doesn’t hurt that tickets are as low as $16 for the Pitt game and $10 for the FIU game according to Vivid Seats. There aren’t a lot of better sporting events in the Miami area with those deals and for that value to root on a team as entertaining as the Miami Hurricanes.