The United States of College Football

Ever wonder which football team is the most popular in your state? Well that probably depends on which state you are from. Here in Texas there’s a hot debate regarding whether the Aggies or the Longhorns are more popular these days. And other states with multiple football powerhouses have the same debate raging. So we decided to use data to determine which team really is the most popular and here’s the result:

The United States of College Football


The first thing you’ll probably notice is that the state of Texas is maroon instead of burnt orange…. Color us surprised! The Aggies have a huge following on social media with twice as many Twitter follower and 5 times as many Facebook fans. Couple that with the fact that their tickets are averaging a higher price than the Longhorns and the Burnt Orange didn’t stand a chance.

Another state where the results were surprising is Utah. With BYU and Utah’s fierce rivalry, it didn’t shock us that this was a close one, however, given BYU’s recent success we would have picked them to take the state. As it turns out, with a difference of just a half a point, Utah rose to the top. Prepare yourselves for another Holy War!

A few more interesting notes:

  • The Illinois Illini edged out Northwestern by less than 2 percentage points making it the 2nd closest contest out of all 50 states.
  • Arizona beat out ASU by a narrow margin largely buoyed by Arizona’s huge Facebook following which is 10 times larger than ASU’s. On the other hand, ASU does have nearly twice as many Twitter followers but it wasn’t enough to put them on top of Arizona.
  • Florida, despite being home to last season’s National Championship team, overwhelmingly went to the Florida Gators with a 30 point spread between them and Florida State.

Wondering how we compiled these numbers? To determine which college football team is the most popular in each state, we factored in four pieces of data for all Division I football teams (FBS and FCS). The first two data points were culled from social media; the number of Facebook fans and Twitter followers that each football team’s official page has. Next, we used Google Tools to pull the monthly average number of searches conducted for each team by users in that team’s state. Lastly, we used the median price of tickets on the secondary market for the upcoming season. As the price of tickets is a strong indicator of demand, we weighed that factor heavier than the other three. We then indexed the data points and ranked the teams accordingly.