The UCLA Bruins kicked off their 2021 season today with a matchup against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. And while most college football programs from around the country are thrilled to get this season going, it seems as though that passion hasn’t made its way to Rose Bowl Stadium.
An ariel photo taken of the near-empty 90,000+ seat stadium is going viral on Twitter.
“And people wonder why Pac-12 is behind?” college football insider Brad Powers wrote along with the picture.
And people wonder why Pac-12 is behind? pic.twitter.com/16i1lcnY6v
— Brad Powers (@BradPowers7) August 28, 2021
I take back 15k-20k at the Rose Bowl. Maybe 5000 people. Brutal. pic.twitter.com/rnbr3g8zAn
— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) August 28, 2021
While these photos are certainly discouraging for the Bruins program, there are a few legitimate reasons for this lack of fans.
First, UCLA students aren’t set to return to campus for at least a couple more weeks. Second, current COVID-19 limitations are far stricter in Los Angeles as opposed to other big football locations like the South and Midwest.
After a late start due to the virus, the Bruins are coming off a disappointing 3-4 season in 2020.
Despite this lack of fans in the Rose Bowl, UCLA are off to a red-hot start in their 2021 season. Midway through the first quarter, Chip Kelly’s squad already leads Hawaii 17-0.
Next week, UCLA will take on No. 16 LSU back in the Rose Bowl.
This marquee night-game matchup will almost certainly yield bigger crowds — even if a lot of them are rocking the purple and gold.