BY AARON BRENNER
CLEMSON — Once again, South Carolina topped Clemson in a football stadium – but this time, just barely.
The NCAA recently released official 2013 attendance figures, and Williams-Brice Stadium was the No. 14-busiest venue in college football at 82,401 fans per game. Next in line nationally: Memorial Stadium, welcoming a school-record 82,048 fans per game through the gates at Death Valley.
Both schools hosted seven games in 2013: Clemson brought in Georgia, Florida State and Georgia Tech, while South Carolina was at home against North Carolina, Florida and Clemson.
Williams-Brice Stadium has a listed capacity of 80,250; Memorial Stadium’s is 81,500. Both exceeded those limits with standing-room-only crowds.
South Carolina increased its average fanbase by 2,400 fans against 2012, the country’s 29th-largest bump in attendance from the previous year. The Gamecocks’ single-season attendance record was set in 2001, with 82,614 fans per game.
Clemson’s previous record was 81,750 average fans in the 1988 season. The Tigers were tops in the ACC, trailed next by Florida State’s 75,421 fans per game, even though Doak Campbell Stadium’s listed capacity is 82,300. Virginia Tech was next in the league with 63,999 fans per game.
South Carolina ranked eighth in the SEC; Alabama’s 101,505 average fans topped the conference, followed by Tennessee, Georgia, LSU, Florida, Texas A&M and Auburn.
Michigan’s Big House led the nation with 111,592 fans per game, joined by Ohio State and Alabama in the six-figure realm.
The SEC’s 14 teams averaged 75,674 fans per home game, drawing a combined total of more than 7.5 million fans – breaking a record for any conference. ACC schools drew 49,982 fans per home game, ranking last among the nation’s Power 5 conferences – but they saw a slight bump in average attendance from 2012, while the Big XII and Pac-12 saw attendance decline year over year.
Across all divisions and postseason affairs, the NCAA announced it topped 50 million fans through the gates in one season for the first time in college football history.