Could COVID-19 Crowd Restrictions be an advantage for Stanford?

Two is company, Tree is a crowd

By Sam Weyen | 6-07-2020 04:07 PM PT

Photo by Stanford Athletics

With coronavirus abruptly ending the season of every major sport, the media has quickly realized that only one type of article is viable: wild speculation about next season. Will college football be fanless? Will it be moved to the Spring? Who will win the meme war between Mike Leach and Lane Kiffin? Here at Channel Tree Sports, we never miss a trend, so we're here to ask... could crowd restrictions actually be... good for Stanford Football?

If you're familiar with Betteridge's Law of Headlines this article is not for you. So why might we actually be a better team without crowds?

The answer is rather simple: Stanford Football is used to low attendance.

For one, Stanford Stadium seats 50,424 spectators--which is middling compared to other Power 5 stadiums across the country. Ironically, when the stadium was built in 1921 as a dual football/track venue, its capacity surpassed our current number. By 1927, the bowl shaped stadium had ballooned to 89,000, rivaling UCLA's Rose Bowl. Why did the remodel in 2006 nearly half our capacity? To sell more season tickets...

Beyond capacity, Stanford regularly plays 2-3 home games each season before students arrive back on campus in late September--a student body that ranks last in the Pac-12 in size, mind you. With an unimpressive max capacity and nearly 50% of home games played without a full student body which is small in its own right, it's easy to see how home-field advantage by the conventional metrics (crowd size, crowd noise, intimidation) is not particularly important for the Card--or at least less important than it might be for potential competitors.

Speaking of competitors, this year's schedule contains some particularly brutal away games. With the Cardinal traveling to famously tough battleground stadiums in 2020 like Washington, Oregon, and Notre Dame, plus a few more tough away games in their own right (Big Game in Berkeley, a vexing Chip Kelly led UCLA), we'll take any advantage we can get. Wiping away the juice of some home teams while not experiencing too much change at home could result in an extra game or two going our way. Add in a QB in Davis Mills who hasn't started a full season on his own and a committee of running backs in Austin Jones, Nathaniel Peat, Dorian Maddox, and Justus Woods who haven't fully unearthed their identity, and we have even more reason to be thankful for a hypothetical season that removes crowd pressure.

But let's be real: I hope it doesn't come to that. No crowds likely means no Band, and is that really college football?

--Fear The Me.

TAGS: Stanford Football Band Lane Kiffin Mike Leach Stanford Stadium Channel Tree Sports Mascot UCLA Stanford Pac-12 Card Pac-12 Card Autzen Chip Kelly Davis Mills Brandon Maddox Trevor Speights Austin Jones Nathaniel Peat
Comments (2)
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6-07-2020 06:09 PM PT

Let's be real: college football, without the football, is more college football than college football without the Band.


6-07-2020 06:19 PM PT

Would it help Stanford finally beat ND? Hmm. Only time will tell.