FanPost

What happens when you try to substantiate gloating

I had such simple intentions for this post. Oregon and Oregon State are both undefeated, and it’s awesome. I just wanted to gloat. I wanted to gloat by showing how in no other region of the country could you pick up a newspaper and read how every team around you was still undefeated. Not only that, I wanted to show how it wasn’t even close. Just a simple table showing win-loss percentages for clusters of schools that had the state of Oregon at the top with a shiny 1.000. That’s all I wanted.

The problem was I wanted to be fair about it. Oregon has only two schools so I figured it only fair to split the other FBS schools into groups of two as well, maybe three if I absolutely had to.

It didn’t sound too complicated to do. All the Pac-12 schools fit nicely into pairs after all. Then there's all those other pairs like Oklahoma-Oklahoma State and Kansas-Kansas State around the rest of the country. I'd just find them and group them up. After all, every team has a rival, right?

I figured I'd start by making a spreadsheet with a list of the states. Then, I'd head to SI.com, grab team records for all FBS schools, list them beneath the states in which they reside, and run some win-loss percentages. Maybe I'd have to tweak the larger states a little to get schools in groups of two or three, but I was sure that with just a tiny bit of effort, I could say, in all fairness, "See, look! Oregon is undefeated and the rest of you regional pairs aren’t even at {number much less than 1.000}! Hahaha!"

Easy, right? No. Not at all.

See, I knew that Texas had a few football teams. I knew Ohio did, too, though not quite as many. I knew there was some overlap between conferences in the eastern states, and some bunched clusters of schools here and there. I’d just never seen all of that in one place before. Until I did the spreadsheet. Wow.

Turns out, Texas doesn’t just have a few FBS teams, it has a whole conference of them. So does Ohio. Twelve teams and eight teams, respectively. I needed to get schools into clusters of two or three for a good comparison, and here's Ohio with eight schools stuffed into an area barely larger than the Willamette Valley. I was beginning to doubt the tenability of my goal.

Still, I plowed ahead. I thought if I could just see the schools on a map, they would naturally split into small regions. Then I found this this. Yeah… you figure out how to partition that, you let me know. The Western states, sure, simple, but that tiny little area around the Mississippi River system, aka, the whole stinking eastern United States? Riiight.

For all of ten seconds, I thought about using ESPN’s conference blogs' lunch-links to find local newspapers, cross-referencing which teams they cover, and working out some crude heat-map like thing for fanbases. Then I remembered I’m not getting paid for this. Not happening. So I gave up.

Why the post then, you ask? Well, even though my original goal proved impractical, I learned some interesting things in the process. I figure some of you will find them interesting as well. Might as well get something out of the work.

State population and FBS schools

This was an interesting exercise, figuring out how many FBS teams each state supported in relation to its population. I thought it might help with finding school clusters, but nope. Still, here's the table.

Rank State Teams Pop per Team Rank State Teams Pop per Team
1 New Jersey 1 8,820,000 22 Nebraska 1 1,850,000
2 New York* 3 6,480,000 23 Colorado* 3 1,705,000
3 California 6 6,280,000 24 Indiana 4 1,630,000
4 Missouri 1 6,010,000 25 Tennessee 4 1,590,000
5 Wisconsin 1 5,710,000 26 Iowa 2 1,530,000
6 Minnesota 1 5,340,000 27 Arkansas 2 1,470,000
7 Georgia 2 4,910,000 28 Kentucky 3 1,460,000
8 Illinois 3 4,290,752 29 Ohio 8 1,440,000
9 Pennsylvania 3 4,250,000 30 Kansas 2 1,440,000
10 Virginia 2 4,050,000 31 Hawaii 1 1,370,000
11 Connecticut 1 3,580,000 32 Nevada 2 1,360,000
12 Washington 2 3,420,000 33 Oklahoma 3 1,260,000
13 Massachusetts 2 3,290,000 34 New Mexico 2 1,040,000
14 Arizona 2 3,240,000 35 Mississippi 3 990,000
15 Maryland* 2 2,910,000 36 Alabama 5 960,000
16 Florida 7 2,720,000 37 Utah 3 940,000
17 South Carolina 2 2,330,000 38 West Virginia 2 930,000
18 Texas 12 2,140,000 39 Louisiana 5 910,000
19 Michigan 5 1,980,000 40 Idaho 2 790,000
20 North Carolina 5 1,930,000 41 Wyoming 1 570,000
21 Oregon 2 1,920,000

Random stuff related to this:

There are nine states that lack an FBS division football program. These states are: Alaska, Delaware, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Vermont. Unsurprisingly, these states are the least populated states in the union, ranking 41st through 49th. What is a little surprising is the state ranking 50th, Wyoming, does have an FBS team: the University of Wyoming Cowboys. For shame other states.

We, Oregon, are the median, right smack dab in the middle of the other 41. Twenty above and twenty below. We're also pretty darn close to the mean for the US as a whole which is 2,600,000 folks per FBS school.


The Deep South really loves its football. We'd have to have four FBS programs here in Oregon to reach the same ratio as Louisiana, Alabama, or Mississippi. California would have to have 40.

Did you notice the asterisks? They're for states with service academies. None of the academies really work like normal schools, obviously, and each has around 4,600 cadets. I wasn't sure if I should include the academies for the Pop per Team calculation, but I figured they have fans, so might as well.

Though Texas could make its own 12 team conference if it wanted, no more than eight of its schools have ever been in the same conference at the same time. From 1971 through 1996, Baylor, Rice, Texas, Texas A&M, Southern Methodist, TCU, Texas Tech, and Houston all played in the Southwestern Conference. Since then, at most four have been in the same conference at one time. Texas currently has teams in five separate conferences: the Big 12, CUSA, SEC, Sun Belt, and the WAC.

Even though "Beat State!" is a common generic cheer in sports-themed commercials, only thirteen states have traditional ‘U of State’ vs. ‘State U.’ rivalries. These states are: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. Three other states, Arkansas, Ohio, and Texas, have a pair of schools with the archetypical names, but they do not have a rivalry. Neither Arkansas-Arkansas State nor Ohio-Ohio State seem to have ever been annual match-ups, and Texas State just moved up to FBS this year. That means 34 states, by far the majority, do not have the archetypical pair in FBS.

FBS Schools and Their Founding

I'm not really sure why I looked up founding dates. I think it had something to do with conference affiliation but whatever connection my brain made between that and school clusters has long since been severed. Still, here's some interesting stuff.

Twenty-one universities that field FBS teams were established before the states in which they reside. A complete list of the schools:

Institution Founded Time Before Statehood
Arizona State University 1885 27 years
Brigham Young University (Utah) 1875 21 years
Colordo State University 1870 6 years
Marshall University (West Virginia)* 1837 26 years
New Mexico State University 1888 24 years
Oklahoma State University 1890 17 years
Rutgers University (New Jersey)** 1766 21 years
University of Arizona 1885 27 years
University of Georgia 1785 3 years
University of Idaho 1889 1 year
University of Michigan 1817 20 years
University of Minnesota 1851 7 years
University of New Mexico 1889 23 years
University of Oklahoma 1890 17 years
University of Pittsburgh 1787 10 months
University of Tennessee 1794 2 years
University of Tulsa (Oklahoma) 1894 13 years
University of Utah 1850 46 years
University of Washington 1861 28 years
University of Wyoming 1886 4 years

*Marshall University was established in 1837 while its home state, West Virginia, was admitted to the Union in 1863. However, if you’ll recall from high school history class, West Virginia once was part of the state of Virginia, splitting off during the Civil War for political reasons. Thus, although Marshall predates its home state, it was nonetheless established under a state government.

**Rutgers University was established in 1766 in the colony of New Jersey, making it the only current FBS school established not only before the founding of its home state, but before the founding of the nation.

East Carolina University, a C-USA member, is located in North Carolina. It was founded in 1907, well after the Province of Carolina split into North and South Carolina in 1729, making the name somewhat odd. However, I can’t blame them; a name like Eastern North Carolina University doesn’t exactly scream institution of higher learning.

Miami University, located in Oxford, Ohio and colloquially referenced as Miami (Oh) in sports media, was established in 1809 and has an enrollment of 20,126. The University of Miami, known simply as Miami, was established in 1925 and has an enrollment of 15,627. So, even though Miami (Oh) is both older and larger than Miami, it is Miami (Oh) that requires a special identifier. Unless, of course, (Oh) simply means "Oh", as in, "Ohhh... that one". Then it makes sense.

The youngest university with an FBS team is Florida International, established in 1965. In fact, Florida has the four youngest FBS schools in the country in FIU, Central Florida (1963), Florida Atlantic (1961), and South Florida (1956). The fifth youngest is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado; the United States Air Force Academy (1954). The oldest FBS school is the aforementioned Rutgers University, established in 1766.

Yeah, now I'm even less sure how I thought any of that would help me. Chalk it up to the Wikipedia trivia haze. Moving on.

The Closest I Could Get

Okay, so I did get as far as calculating the win percentages for each state. Yes, it's unfair and statistically useless, but at least it will get us that shiny 1.000 and gloating rights. Take a look:

Rank State Win % Rank State Win %
1 New Jersey 1.000 22 Texas 0.536
Oregon 1.000 23 Mississippi 0.524
3 Oklahoma 0.800 24 Utah 0.522
South Carolina 0.800 25 Florida 0.519
5 Wisconsin 0.750 26 Arkansas 0.500
6 Nebraska 0.714 27 Idaho 0.467
7 Ohio 0.712 28 Nevada 0.438
8 California 0.659 29 Alabama 0.429
9 North Carolina 0.658 Missouri 0.429
10 Louisiana 0.657 31 Michigan 0.405
11 Illinois 0.652 32 Tennessee 0.393
12 Arizona 0.643 33 Connecticut 0.375

Georgia 0.643
Virginia 0.375
14 Kentucky 0.591 35 Washington 0.357
15 Indiana 0.586 36 New Mexico 0.333
16 Iowa 0.571 37 Colorado 0.286
Kansas 0.571 38 New York 0.238
Maryland 0.571 39 Hawaii 0.167
Minnesota 0.571 40 Wyoming 0.143
West Virginia 0.571 41 Massachusetts 0.071
21 Pennsylvania 0.550

And this is when my head hit my keyboard. Turns out Oregon is not the only state in the Union that is undefeated. That darn Rutgers, 7-0 and eldest of all, has the state of New Jersey undefeated as well. And, since N comes before O and Excel arranges numerically identical data alphabetically, we're not even at the top of the freaking list.

*facepalm*

Unfair is right.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of SB Nation or the Building the Dam staff. FanPost opinions are valued expressions of opinion by passionate and knowledgeable Oregon State fans.

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