Per @CFTalkThrough, through 14 bowl games, attendance is down more than 11 percent from a year ago. 574,095 in 2011, 508,969 in 2012.
Too many bowls? Maybe. But “looking at fan bases countrywide”:http://thequad.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/19/the-geography-of-college-football-fans-and-realignment-chaos/, when you take 5.8M fans out of the market for bowl tickets because of OSU (#1 fan base nationwide) and PSU (#3 fan base nationwide) suspensions, well, sales are going to drop. Replacing these schools with NIUs and Minnesotas and the like simply is not going to move the same volume of tickets.
It probably doesn’t help that some of the other top programs — Texas, Auburn — had off years, and USC is in El Paso.
The market needs the top teams to have good seasons to make the postseason compelling.