Blog Entry

The Best College Football State: Statistics

Posted on: December 22, 2008 6:33 pm
Edited on: December 23, 2008 12:33 pm

What is the Best College Football State?  Statistics

Roll-Tide76 started a poll called the "Best Football State"
, which left out a few important states, but got me thinking so I want to tip my hat to him anyway.  Hypochondriac_2 posted a link to ESPN
 in that thread where they had their own way of sorting through the states and it contained a few good statistics that related to college football.  So I tip my hat to him, too.

Several posters believed it is important to consider the overall population of the states with regard to their college football achievements. I looked up the populations of the states in Roll-Tide76's poll, then combined that information with some of the data on the ESPN site and thought I'd throw in Oklahoma even though it wasn't in the original poll.

**** NOTE:  FOR YEARS 1934-Present.  1934 was the beginning of the Heisman Trophy. 

Starting Data:


Oklahoma               3,547,884               3                      6                               7

Alabama                 4,557,808               4                       2                              8

Florida                  17,789,864                7                      7*                             9*

Texas                    22,859,968              10                     6                               6

California             36,132,147                7                      9                               8

Ohio                      11,464,042                8                      7                               6

*Thanks to poster 'stoptherun' for pointing out errors. I used old data that only ran through the end of 2005 season. It is now recalculated. Delaware and South Dakota are 0 DI/0 Heismans/0 National Titles.  Idaho has 2 DI teams/0 Heismans/0 National Titles.

Per-Capita Data:


Oklahoma        1 DI Team / 1.18M          1 Heisman / 591k             1 Title / 506k

Alabama           1 DI Team / 1.14M          1 Heisman / 2.28M           1 Title / 570k

Florida               1 DI Team / 2.54M          1 Heisman / 2.54M           1 Title / 1.98M

Texas                 1 DI Team / 2.29M          1 Heisman / 3.81M           1 Title / 3.81M

California          1 DI Team / 5.16M          1 Heisman / 4.01M            1 Title / 4.52M

Ohio                   1 DI Team / 1.43M          1 Heisman / 1.64M            1 Title / 1.91M

Average per DI Team:


Oklahoma           2.00 Heisman / Team                         2.33 National Title / Team

Alabama             0.50 Heisman / Team                          2.00 National Title / Team

Florida                1.00 Heisman / Team                          1.29 National Title / Team

Texas                  0.60 Heisman / Team                          0.60 National Title / Team

California           1.29 Heisman / Team                          1.14 National Title / Team

Ohio                    0.88 Heisman / Team                          0.75 National Title / Team



Since: Sep 21, 2007
Posted on: December 28, 2008 1:10 pm

The Best College Football State: Statistics

I wasn't really looking to juice the numbers for anyone, just include all the history.  Starting with 1934 just seemed a bit arbitrary to me.  Truthfully, the best point to start would probably be with the establishment of the current divisions or scholarship limitations.  Including anything pre-GI Bill limits it to when college was limited to the "privileged".

Since: Nov 11, 2007
Posted on: December 24, 2008 12:34 pm

The Best College Football State: Statistics

Hi Wayslow1,

You don't have to limit it from 1934 to present if you don't want to, I don't think that changes the point too much. But, if you go all the way back to the 1920s, you end up in the era of the Ivy Leagues, which is not exactly apples to oranges. I just did so because it made it easier on me personally to find a natural cutoff point that was consistent with the Heisman Trophy years (since that was one of the things I was trying to compare).  Alabama and California have more championships if you go beyond 1934 when the main competition in college football every year came from Yale, Princeton, Harvard and Notre Dame and some of the D-I schools in Florida didn't even exist yet -- let alone actually have football teams.  But, you don't have to limit it to 1934 if you want to juice the numbers for Alabama or California in an era when competition mostly came from small Ivy Leagues.    

Since: Sep 21, 2007
Posted on: December 23, 2008 4:27 pm

The Best College Football State: Statistics

Why limit this to 1934 to present?  Sure that was the first Heisman, but they were playing football before the Heisman trophy.

Since: Sep 21, 2007
Posted on: December 23, 2008 4:21 pm

The Best College Football State: Statistics

What happens if you expand to include not just FBS but also FCS and DII to consider all scholarship teams?  I know Bama has 4 schools at each of those three levels but am not sure about the other states.

Since: Nov 11, 2007
Posted on: December 23, 2008 3:39 pm

The Best College Football State: Statistics

Thanks Hogfan, I appreciate your comment.  The main problem with gathering all the data is that you have to go around to different sources.  First, you have to get the populations of each state, which is pretty easy to find.  But, then you need to find the number of Heismans per state, not per school, which is a bit more troublesome since you pretty much have to have a list of all the Heisman winners and then match each school to the state that it is from and its easy to overlook some of them.  Finally, you have to do the same thing for the number of national championships per state, for division-1 schools, and this is very difficult given all the split championships, etc.. so you have to go by the consensus figures and total up all the schools that have a national title and then categorize them by state.  At first, I wanted to be more ambitious and include many other states, but it is pretty time-consuming.  At some point in the future I might want to build out a larger list if there is enough interest, but anyone can do it if they have the time to do all the sorting.

Since: Nov 6, 2006
Posted on: December 23, 2008 8:49 am

The Best College Football State: Statistics

Thanks for posting this.  I can tell by reading the information that you gathered and figured that this was no simple task.  It is very informative and interesting to know.

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