Our attendance was poor coming off of decades of terrible performance. We basically filled the stadium for every game during a 2-10 season in 2008. Our fanbase has been weak in the past, but it was no different than any other fanbase whose team usually lost.
TCU was #13 in the country playing their first home game as part of a conference they have been fighting tooth and nail to be a part of for the past 15 years, and they still couldn't get more than 70% of the seats full.
If you can't see the difference in these scenarios, then the point is lost.
Your scenario of ISU doesn't accurately describe what was going on two years ago.
What's more important to a program? Getting to a second consecutive bowl game and getting an extra month of practices after several years of stink, or "looking good" to your new conference mates during a conference game in the the middle of the season?
The former was on the line two years ago during ISU's season ending home game against MU, and the stadium wasn't anywhere near full. ISU was coming off a winning season and trying to secure another. In terms of relative importance to a program, that game would have to be pretty near the top.
Maybe things are different now at ISU.
"Don't worry Boss...they can't do nothin' 'til they're through sparklin'..."
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