Spring Football Games That Might Sell out in 2016

Ben KerchevalCollege Football Lead WriterFebruary 18, 2016

Spring Football Games That Might Sell out in 2016

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    Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    Now that national signing day is over, there's little to brag about until the actual season commences. Except for spring game attendance numbers. Those are all about bragging rights. 

    Which is funny, in a way. Not only are spring game attendance figures unofficial, if not entirely made up, but sellouts are few and far between. Still, sellouts are possible under the right circumstances. That's what we're aiming to project with this piece. 

    In the following slides are six programs that could sell out their spring games based on results from the 2015 season, projections/hype for next season, plus any additional context, like buzz around a new(ish) coach. Previous spring game attendance numbers come courtesy of Kevin McGuire at College Football Talk

    Have any additional teams you think could sell out their spring game? Let us know in the comment section below. 

Alabama

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    Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    Spring Game: April 16

    Alabama routinely has strong spring game attendance. More than 65,000 were said to have shown up for 2015's "A-Day." Since the Crimson Tide are coming off yet another national title, there should be as much excitement as ever about Alabama football. 

    While the defense loses key players like A'Shawn Robinson, plenty of others are back. Once again, the Tide should be scary deep on that side of the ball. Fans should also want a sneak peak at their running back for the future, Bo Scarbrough. As B/R's Adam Kramer wrote in January, Scarbrough is in line to become Alabama's next great superstar...and he barely played last year. 

    With a fanbase known for sprinting to get autographs—which, by the way, is truly one of the great wonders of the world, like the Grand Canyon or something—there's a chance Alabama fills up Bryant-Denny Stadium to watch the defending national champs. 

Clemson

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    Tyler Smith/Getty Images

    Spring Game: April 9 

    Coming off a national championship appearance against Alabama, buzz around Clemson football is as high as it has been in a long time. Don't be surprised if the Tigers' spring game reflects this. Clemson's spring game attendance last year was 37,000, but there's a huge opportunity for this year's edition to surpass that in a big way. 

    The 2016 Clemson offense is stacked with stars, beginning with Heisman hopeful quarterback Deshaun Watson. His supporting cast is excellent as well. Receiver Mike Williams is coming back after missing essentially all of last year with a neck injury. So, too, are receivers Deon Cain, Artavis Scott, tight end Jordan Leggett and running back Wayne Gallman. 

    The defense will be a lesser-known factor, but a few early enrollees—defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence being among them—should inspire some chatter. 

Georgia

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Spring Game: April 16

    If Georgia sells out its spring game, it's because of one man: first-year head coach Kirby Smart. While Smart isn't the superstar hire of, say, Jim Harbaugh, he is a Bulldogs alum and is finally coming home in the role so many thought he would. 

    If that doesn't get Georgia fans excited, nothing will. 

    But there are other reasons for fans to be buzzing about Georgia's spring game. There's a new quarterback, 5-star Jacob Eason, who enrolled early and will compete immediately for the starting job. 

    With a new head coach and potentially a new quarterback of the future, there's a refreshing change of pace in Athens that has been lost over the last few years of the Mark Richt era. 

Michigan

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    Andrew Weber/Getty Images

    Spring Game: April 9

    Everything Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh does is larger than life. Signing day at Michigan was a star-studded event and Harbaugh is pushing the envelope by wanting spring practices to be held in Florida. 

    It's only appropriate, then, that the Wolverines' spring game reflects Harbaugh's go-big mentality. 

    Harbaugh's first spring game in Ann Arbor last year drew a crowd of 60,000. Rest assured that was almost all because of the piqued interest in Harbaugh. That interest should sustain in 2016, but now there are higher expectations for this program. This is no longer a matter of "let's see what Harbaugh can do," but rather a question of what Harbaugh and this team can do. 

    Per OddsShark.com, the Wolverines opened at 14-1 to win next year's national championship. The defense, one of college football's best in 2015, should be every bit as good next season. Additionally, Harbaugh landed the No. 1 recruit in the country, Rashan Gary, though he won't be participating. 

    There's a new quarterback competition, which always fuels interest, and a team ready to compete for, at the very least, a Big Ten championship. 

Ohio State

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    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Spring Game: April 16

    Ohio State actually led college football last year in spring game attendance with just under 100,000 people. Think about that for a moment. Granted, the Buckeyes were coming off a national championship, but that's impressive all the same.

    This year's team has a mostly new look to it. While one might think attendance will be down for the '16 spring game because of that, the opposite could also be true. Buckeyes fans may flock to The Horseshoe to see who emerges during the rigorous offseason position battles. 

    And there are some stars in the making. Defensive end Sam Hubbard (6.5 sacks) did a nice job relieving Joey Bosa last season and is primed to make a jump to a full-time starting role. But with the return of J.T. Barrett at quarterback, there's some star power and familiarity to keep fans coming back. 

Tennessee

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    Mike Carlson/Getty Images

    Spring Game: April 16

    Supposedly, this is finally the year for Tennessee football. We've been building for this moment for a long, long time. We've waited patiently for the Vols to return to the glory days, most recently under former head coach Phillip Fulmer. 

    The star power on this team is spectacular. Quarterback Joshua Dobbs, running back Jalen Hurd, defensive end Derek Barnett and linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin are just a few of the names returning for another year in Knoxville. There's also a big-name addition in the coaching ranks: defensive coordinator Bob Shoop. 

    “I know what the expectations are here,” Shoop said, via Dave Link of the (Memphis) Daily News. “We’re here to build a championship-caliber defense, let me be clear on that.”

    The excitement around Tennessee football was high last year, but it's going to be at an even higher level heading into 2016. Expect the Vols' spring game to show as much. 

     

    Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football. All quotes cited unless obtained firsthand. Stats courtesy of cfbstats.com. Recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports. Spring game dates courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel