Attendance spike at USF tops NCAA

The Bulls continue to rewrite the record books for their 2007 season.

USF experienced the largest increase in attendance of all 119 Division I-A programs from 2006, drawing an all-time high average of 53,170 fans during its six contests at Raymond James Stadium.

“It was kind of like a light switch flipped on and the Tampa Bay area just embraced our program,” athletic director Doug Woolard said. “We had over 65,000 fans twice.”

For the first time in their 11-year history, the Bulls sold out Raymond James Sept. 28 against West Virginia and drew 65,948 two weeks later against Central Florida.

According to Bulls coach Jim Leavitt, the boost in attendance served as an asset as the team became ranked for the first time in school history.

“When we played and we won in all those games and it sold out the stadium, that was a moment in time that we’ll never forget,” Leavitt said. “Because we know that all we are going to do is move forward and the things that are ahead are going to be that much greater.”

Last year, the average attendance was 30,222, ranking 76th nationally; the 2007 figures will be finalized at the conclusion of the regular season Saturday.

USF finishes its season Dec. 31 at the Sun Bowl against an opponent from the Pacific 10 Conference to be determined next week.

Sun Bowl Stadium, located in El Paso, Texas, has a capacity of 51,500.

Selvie a finalist

Sophomore George Selvie, the NCAA leader in tackles for a loss and second in sacks, is among the eight players remaining in contention for the Ted Hendricks Award, presented to the nation’s best defensive lineman.

Selvie is the lone representative from the Big East Conference.

A final round of voting will occur Dec. 3 and the winner will be announced two days later.

Selvie will be in Charlotte, N.C., this weekend attending a banquet as one of the five remaining candidates for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, awarded to the nation’s outstanding defensive player.

Joining Selvie will be Louisiana State defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey, Kansas cornerback Aqib Talib, Virginia defensive end Chris Long and last year’s winner, Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis.