A good crowd turned out at Bulldog Stadium on Saturday night to watch Fresno State improve to 6-0 by trouncing UNLV 38-14.
Good, but far from a sellout.
The announced attendance of 37,604 represented the Bulldogs' second-largest crowd since 2010. Still, nearly 3,500 more fans showed up for last month's thriller against Boise State.
So Fresno State's sellout streak, if you can call it that, ends at one. Frankly, I'm a little surprised.
What's it going to take?
The Bulldogs are back on the national radar as a potential BCS buster. They're ranked in the top 20. The game wasn't on TV (unless your TV was hooked up to the Internet, but even that was no guarantee).
It was the first home game in a month. And coming off a bye, the marketing folks had an extra week to sell tickets.
Surely it's not because Fresno State is boring to watch. The Bulldogs are 10-0 at home under second-year coach Tim DeRuyter, lighting up the scoreboard with an offense that features one of the nation's best quarterbacks and a dynamic group of receivers.
Last year, I heard complaints there were too many blowouts. But that hasn't been the case in 2013. The first three home games featured two one-point wins, one in overtime and a victory over Cal Poly that was more exciting than it should've been.
Despite the lopsided final score, no one would describe Saturday's proceedings as dull.
Fans had barely settled into their seats when Derek Carr hit Davante Adams in perfect stride for a 75-yard touchdown on Fresno State's first play from scrimmage.
A second Adams touchdown made it 14-0 (he went on to tie the school record with four), and the Bulldogs scored No. 3 out of a T-heavy formation a la the days of Jim Sweeney. The hundreds of alumni in the stands for homecoming must've loved it.
What else? Well, the weather was perfect: Clear skies, 77 degree temperatures at kickoff. Even the air quality cooperated. From the Bulldog Stadium press box, the Sierra was visible until nightfall.
More than 500,000 people live in Fresno and nearly 1.1 million live in the Fresno Metropolitan Area, according to the 2010 census. Since 2000, the region has seen a 20% population growth.
Guess most of them don't like college football or would rather spend their Saturday evenings doing something else. That's the only answer that makes sense.
By writing this, I'll be accused of "calling out" the fans. But really, I'm calling out to them.
What's it going to take?
Surely as the sun rises in the east, there will be emails in my inbox this morning claiming that Fresno State charges too much for tickets. Leftover seats were priced at $30, $45 and $65. Which sounds like a lot, but not when you consider what folks drop at casinos, the fair or a nice dinner.
There will be people who complain about parking, which only proves those people have never been to a college football game anywhere else. Fans in Wisconsin walk miles — and I mean miles — to Camp Randall Stadium.
And of course, there will be people who say they no longer support Fresno State for various reasons. They're still upset about phone calls made by Ray Lopes or Thomas Boeh's decision to drop wrestling in favor of lacrosse. Those people will never be made happy.
Fresno State has some culpability here, too.
Let's face it. Bulldog Stadium is no grand palace for football. Besides a video board and FieldTurf, improvements have been few and far between. Fans wait in long lines for concessions that are nothing special. There aren't enough bathrooms, and the ones that exist are kind of nasty. Fans in luxury boxes must watch the action through windows.
Stadium expansion and improvements used to be hot topics, but not so much since attendance has dwindled.
When you ask Boeh about stadium expansion, it's obvious such a project is not near the top of his list. Why expand when you can't sell the seats you have? And why spend millions on a facility that gets used just six times a year?
Those answers might be a tad shortsighted, but those are the answers we're getting.
DeRuyter is way too classy — and smart — to say anything disparaging about attendance. (Pat Hill did that sort of thing, far too often, and look where that got him.)
Said DeRuyter: "We had a good crowd and I thought the crowd was into it.
"Sure, you'd like to have a sellout every week. Hopefully the people who do come to games tell everyone it's a tremendous show here. We've got a Heisman Trophy candidate, an undefeated team and we're playing an exciting brand of football."
But you know DeRuyter has got to be feeling a little like Russell Crowe's character in "Gladiator."
"Are you not entertained!?"
Well, Fresno, what's the answer?
The columnist can be reached at (559) 441-6218, email@example.com or @MarekTheBee on Twitter.