The spring is not technically football season, though football-crazed Americans have found a way to make essentially any time of the year football season.
Case in point: 37,172 fans were in attendance for Kentucky’s spring game on April 14. Yes, a team that went 7-6 and was spanked by Georgia Tech 33-18 in the Taxslayer Bowl drew the eighth biggest crowd for spring games thus far. There is reason for optimism, one could suppose, as 2016 marked the Cats’ first winning season since 2009, in which they also finished 7-6.
And while Kentucky was somewhat of a surprise to land eighth, it is no shock that two other SEC teams, Florida and Auburn, also made appearances in the top 10 in spring game attendance, at fifth and sixth, respectively.
Top 10 spring crowds:
1 OSU 80134
2 Neb 78312
3 Cle 60000
4 UM 57418
5 UF 48000
6 Aub 46331
7 OU 43723
8 UK 37172
9 FSU 26649
10 MSU 25000
— Kevin McGuire (@KevinOnCFB) April 17, 2017
Florida is no doubt expected. Since Jim McElwain took over the program in 2014, the Gators have improved from 7-5 to 10-4 and 9-4, and 2016 also came with a 30-3 blowout of Iowa in the Outback Bowl. Optimism abounds in Gainesville.
Auburn’s 46,331 attendance was less than 2,000 behind Florida’s estimated 48,000. It wouldn’t be entirely shocking to see four more SEC teams make the list, either.
Alabama, LSU, Tennessee and Georgia all host their spring games on April 22, and Arkansas will cap the SEC on April 29.