2013 Sugar Bowl attendance sets an all-time record, but not in a good way

Louisville Cardinals fan Tyler Thrasher, age 18, of Louisville, Kentucky cheers from a nearly empty section 601 in the endzone during the second quarter of the Sugar Bowl against the Florida Gators at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. (Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports)

The Florida Gators were one Jordan Reed fumble away from playing Alabama in the SEC title game. A win there would have earned coach Will Muschamp’s crew a spot in the BCS National Championship game against Notre Dame.

However, as it stood, the Gators and their 11-1 regular season record were invited to the Sugar Bowl as an at-large bid. Florida would be taking on the Louisville Cardinals, co-champion of the seemingly lowly Big East.

The lack of excitement surrounding Gator Nation was palpable. Louisville bought nearly three times as many tickets out of their allotted share than did Florida — who were supposed to blow away the “second-best” athletic program in their own state.

[Related: In-depth look at Louisville’s shocking upset]

Well, those Louisville fans were treated to a shocking upset of the then-No. 3 Gators, and the masses of Florida fans who stayed home are probably glad they stayed home.

Blame SEC fans for believing their teams are far too good to be subjected to playing teams like Louisville — before the games are actually played.

Blame the BCS for not simply pitting two highly-ranked teams against one another, instead maintaining conference allegiances that create games that look so one-sided beforehand.

Blame ticket prices. We have been inundated with fiscal cliff debates, after all.

Just don’t blame Louisville, who put on a show that will not be soon forgotten in the state of Kentucky.

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