When the BBVA Compass Bowl announced their game of Pitt vs. Ole Miss, it was assumed that Mississippi would sell more tickets. For one, it's a much shorter trip to Birmingham. Another factor at play is that Pitt has been there three straight times - many fans that have already been there are less likely to go back.
So when I heard that Ole Miss was selling more tickets, that wasn't unexpected. However, the number of tickets they're moving relatively fast is pretty impressive. The school quickly sold its full allotment of 10,000 tickets and then scooped up an additional 4,000 from Pitt.
But it gets even worse for Pitt fans. Ole Miss has already sold over 21,000 tickets and the BBVA folks are floored, as you can imagine:
“It’s the first time that has ever happened with these type of ticket sales,” BBVA Compass Bowl executive director Mark Meadows said. “We’ve had some good ticket sales , when South Carolina was here (in 2010). But this, it’s kinda unprecedented.”
If you need some perspective on just how good that is, in Pitt's first Compass Bowl, they 'distributed' about 2,500 tickets. They pretty much repeated that performance last year and that led to the bowl giving away a large amount of free tickets. And for the record, that 'distributed' total also likely included tickets given away by Pitt. Ole Miss has crushed Pitt in ticket sales and you can bet it will be a virtual home game for the Rebels.
One thing a bit under the radar is that this is going to be a good test for head coach Paul Chryst. If Chryst can somehow get the team interested in playing this game and come out with a win in an assumed road contest, that would speak well to his abilities. It wouldn't quite make up for setbacks against UConn and Syracuse this season, but it would certainly put a good end on a very mediocre year.