Football season at any college is cause for excitement, tailgating and team spirit. But as the Cavaliers head into their home opener against nationally ranked UCLA, the numbers show that optimism isn't where they want it to be.
The students are finally back and the school year is underway, but just three days before the big game, ticket sales are sluggish.
Associate athletic director Todd Goodale says it's still going to be a great experience.
"We're going to have a great crowd even though it's lower than we want for a home opener," he said.
With the team coming off it's second straight losing season and fifth in the last six years, the numbers have steadily dropped. The stadium capacity is 61,500, but since 2005, the average seats filled have dipped to the mid-forties.
"I don't know that u characterize it as low numbers...we expect the crowd to be in the mid 40,000's for the game, when you take into account our season tickets, our single game tickets and student section," Goodale said.
College football attendance numbers across the country are on the decline, but one UVa booster whose been donating to the program for over 40 years says it's going to take a lot of things to get people back in the stadium, but step one is the product on the field.
"In football, this town, which is a meat and potatoes town, demands that the product be really good," said Bill Rice.
Although he's been a donor for 40 years, Bill renewed his tailgating space but did not renew his season tickets.
"It's too many dollars to go and sit there and watch things go downhill," he said.
As numbers clearly drop in ticket sales, it doesn't effect people's stomachs. Wayside Chicken near grounds caters to a lot of tailgaters during the season, and for them every game is like the superbowl.
"Our numbers are looking great, people have been putting in orders for over two weeks now for this first home game versus UCLA," said Derek Cummings.
One thing is clearly evident here, this town loves football but wants to see a winner on the field, badly.
"Football is like a drug," said Bill Rice. "If they win on Saturdays, they make this town a much better place to do business Sunday through Friday."