Interesting article and topic. Also, it begins with Mark Hollis (MSU AD) talking about the MSU v. Iowa game that was empthy last year. We tend to poke fun at that game - so I found his take noteworthy.
Goes into average attendance in CFB and whether it's becoming more like the NFL (in that fans would rather watch on TV).
OPINION: My take - no, the recent decline is more about competitive advantage/disadvantage and scheduling than it is anything else.
I've worked in college athletics for 8 years now...I certainly don't see a decline in interest. You're always going to have new students who want their 4 years to tailgate, have fun, go to games. You're always going to have new season-ticket holders that have been waiting forever to finally get their seats.
The problem is the current state of CFB. The scheduling is bad and the BCS/realignment situation is killing tradtion and competitive balance. If you're in the Big 5 conferences, you don't have to schedule ANYONE non-conference. Win the SEC, B1G, ACC, Pac-12 or Big XII and you've got a good shot to be in the National Championship game.
Games have also become more predictable, less upsets due to this poor balance.
Toss in the access and TV experience and its no wonder why people stay home. HDTV and 50" LEDs have a huge affect on whether someone goes to the game or not.
Also, don't discount the recession...people just don't have as much disposable income anymore. Ticket prices aren't going down with the economy, they're going up to pay for new stadiums with new seating, press boxes, aminities. Some people just can't afford to go to a game like they used to.
Last thought: I bet if you did an MGoPoll on if you'd rather go to Michigan vs. Minnesota/Indiana/etc. in the cold (20-40 degrees) or sit at home and watch the game on ESPN, on a 50" LED HDTV...you'd get WAY more people that took the TV now than 10 years ago when the TV option was a standard def 32" tube TV.
With that said, I think after the CFB landscpe settles...attendance will go back up. Maybe that'll be a new 80 team league with 8 divisions and a playoff. I don't know. But once they finally figure it out, I think CFB will be fine.