Most Popular Sports Teams from All of the United States
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Determining the most popular sports team from a particular city is not an easy task. Imagine trying to determine a favorite team for a given state. States like Ohio, California and Texas are torn with various sports allegiances while states like Nebraska, Tennessee and Massachusetts are unified by one incredibly popular team.
I have undertaken the very difficult task to determine the most popular sports team from each state. My data gathering and research criteria has involved extensive web research, personal experience, travelling to many of the 50 states and interviewing hundreds of people from a bevy of different locations.
Here is one writer's best attempt at listing the biggest and most popular sports team, college or pro, from every state in the Union, including the District of Columbia. Enjoy!
Alabama: University of Alabama Football
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In the heart of Dixie, the Crimson Tide are king. Alabama football is a way of life here perhaps more than any state in the country. The Tide have won two of the last three national titles and coach Nick Saban has completely turned around the program.
Even with the success of Auburn and their own national championship in 2010, there's just no comparison to the love shown to the Crimson Tide across the state. Alabama football is more important than virtually anything in a fan's life here, which is well documented in this book.
Alaska: University of Alaska-Anchorage Ice Hockey
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In the cold of Alaska, the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is enormously popular. So is hockey and the Division II Seawolves of Alaska-Anchorage. Alaska is a sports state dominated by interest in cold weather sports such as skiing and snowboarding.
When it comes to team sports, hockey is huge and football is also followed closely just like in most parts of the country. The Los Angeles Lakers, due to their huge American popularity and west coast presence, have a small following in Alaska.
Arizona: Phoenix Suns
Will the Suns' popularity take a hit in Arizona with Steve Nash's departure?
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The big college teams in this state, Arizona and Arizona State, cancel each other out leaving the huge battle between the professional basketball and football teams, the Phoenix Suns and Arizona Cardinals. Due to the Suns' success of the past 10 years, Phoenix is the winner.
Much of that popularity stems from the incredible run that basketball wizard Steve Nash helped to start in the middle of last decade. The Suns never even made it to the NBA Finals but were on the verge several times. While the Cardinals appeared in the Super Bowl in February of 2009, the team's erratic performance on a yearly basis leaves the Suns the big winners in the Grand Canyon state.
Arkansas: University of Arkansas Football
Hogs fans love yelling, "Woo Pig Sooie!"
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The Arkansas football team has fans all over this college football crazed state. The Razorbacks have had some great teams of late and players like Darren McFadden that have continued to build the winning tradition in Fayetteville.
Arkansas is another state without a major professional sports team whose residents live for college football Saturdays in the Fall. Without any real competitor on the college front, the Hogs are adored on the gridiron and the hardwood though the winning football team trumps the hoopsters by a long shot.
California: Los Angeles Lakers*
Kobe Bryant has helped revive the Lakers' popularity over the years.
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*If we're considering the entire state, the Los Angeles Lakers. But let's break the state up into halves: Southern California/Lower half of the Central Coast: LA Lakers. Northern California/Upper half of the Central Coast: San Francisco 49ers. The San Francisco Giants have a very solid fanbase but do not trump football's popularity in the Bay Area.
As a caveat, to name just one team as the most popular from California is pretty much impossible. California is enormous with completely different fans as you travel from south-to- north and even west-to-east. Though, the Lakers winning tradition and wide-reaching fame attract many fans.
There was a period in time during the 70s where the Oakland Raiders easily would have been the winner here. In the same vein, the 1980s beloved favorites from the Golden state would have been the San Francisco 49ers.
Colorado: Denver Broncos
The 'Mile High Salute'
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There's no question the Broncos rule the Rockies. Denver has the awesome uniforms, the former stars and the wild fans to prove it. The Broncos reached the summit of the NFL universe in the late 90s with two straight Super Bowl victories.
There have been struggles of late but Tim Tebow helped to revive impassioned interest in the team last season. Now, with Tebow out the door and Peyton Manning in, the Broncos are hoping to mount yet another run at a Super Bowl.
Hockey is a popular sport in Colorado and the Avalanche have had some successful teams over the past 15 years. No one tops the Broncos, however.
Connecticut: University of Connecticut Men's & Women's Basketball
UConn boasts quite the men's and women's hoops programs.
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Multiple national championships and two legendary coaches help the UConn basketball program, both men's and women's teams, share the glory of being the most popular teams in the Nutmeg state. Connecticut is a state torn apart by various professional sports allegiances but everyone can agree on supporting the Huskies basketball squads.
The southern and western parts of Connecticut are much more in line with the New York sports teams, particularly Fairfield county. There, you can walk into a Dunkin' Donuts and see Yankees and Mets sponsored beverages and merchandise.
The farther north and east you go in Connecticut, the more likely you are to find quite a few ardent Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots fans. Hartford, the state capital, serves as the dividing line of demarcation between the New York and New England sports fans.
Connecticut is certainly one of the most intriguing sports states in the country.
Delaware: Philadelphia Eagles
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Because of the state's proximity to eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey, the "First State" boasts quite a lot of Philly fans. The Eagles rule the roost due to the NFL's tremendous popularity in the United States, narrowly edging out the Philadelphia Phillies.
Delaware residents—like all sports fans— love a winner and the state's main university, the University of Delaware, has produced several winning football teams. The Blue Hens most recently won the Division 1-AA national championship in 2003. But in this mid-atlantic state, pro football trumps college football and the Eagles get top billing.
District of Columbia: Washington Redskins
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Robert Griffin III brings hope to the legion of 'Skins fans in DC this season. The Redskins are overwhelmingly the most popular sports team in this football-crazed town. DC residents practically watch the minutes on the clock tick by every summer as they anticipate and hope for a winning Redskins season in the Fall.
Interestingly enough, the Redskins are the only major Washington sports team that do not play within the geographical limits of the district. They play in nearby Landover, Maryland. Fed Ex Field is routinely packed to the brim, even in losing seasons, as Redskins fans have one of the best fan followings in all of the NFL.
The Washington Capitals have a rabid fanbase owing largely to their victorious ways over the past five seasons. The Nationals are in the process of cultivating and building a new fan base of their own as they continue to get better and better in 2012.
Though given the very transient nature of our nation's capital, it will always be tough for any sports team in the area— really with the exception of the Redskins— to gain a true foothold in long-lasting popularity among the fans. Many DC and DC-area residents come from other parts of the country. This humble writer, included.
Florida: University of Florida Football
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In such a remarkably diverse sports state, which covers very different geography, the University of Florida football team unites the most Floridians. Several national championships over the years sure help. The Florida Gators football team is the proverbial college football team that doesn't rebuild— they reload.
Miami sports teams are not embraced all across the state and that includes the recent NBA champion, Miami Heat. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are larger-than-life NBA superstars but fans of the Orlando Magic and throughout central Florida are not fond of their neighbors to the south.
For many years the Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes football team ruled the sports scene in the Sunshine state but times have changed. Now, it's a legitimate fight between the Gators and their in-state rival the Florida State Seminoles who play their football in the state capital, Tallahassee.
Georgia: University of Georgia Football
Sanford Stadium had a 'Black Out' in September 2008.
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The University of Georgia football team is beloved in the Peach State. Game days in Athens are like heaven for a Bulldog fan. Sanford Stadium provides one of the greatest backdrops in all of college football as nearly 93,000 fans pack the house for each home game.
The red and black are revered across the state and the fan base is hungrier than ever to win the school's first national title since 1980. Next time you're down yonder, stop by Athens for a college football Saturday you'll never forget.
Hawaii: University of Hawaii Football
University of Hawaii football fans like to hang loose.
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In the Aloha State, there are plenty of other distractions to keep you away from a stadium or your television. Like watching the breakers crash into the shore as you sip your umbrella drink as you gaze at a picture-perfect sunset fading into the western sky.
Hawaiians do manage to squeeze in time for the sporting scene and they love their college football. The University of Hawaii Warriors have given them plenty to cheer about over the years. Hawaii finished the 2007 regular season undefeated and landed a spot in the Sugar Bowl against the Georgia Bulldogs.
While Colt Brennan and company proved no match for the Bulldogs, Hawaii fans were unwavering in support of their team. Now, famous offensive coordinator Norm Chow takes the reins of the Hawaii football program hoping to return the Warriors to glory— and another BCS bowl appearance.
Idaho: Boise State Football
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The incredible rise of Boise State football has elevated the Broncos to god-like status in the state of Idaho. Boise State has won and won and won and fans have taken notice. The Broncos have made it to BCS bowls and upset major programs like Oklahoma, while also knocking off the likes of Georgia and Virginia Tech along the way.
All the while, Boise State continues to make the folks of the great state of Idaho very proud. Star quarterback Kellen Moore just recently finished his career as the winningest quarterback in Division 1 FBS history.
Illinois: Chicago Cubs
The Wrigley faithful support their Cubbies win or lose.
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One of the largest and most diverse sports state in the land, Illinois sports are dominated by the Chicago sports scene and the University of Illinois. The Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks and White Sox all have great followings but nobody compares to the Cubs.
This is all the more amazing given the fact the north-siders have not won a World Series since 1908. Though Cub fans have Wrigley Field, one of the best ballparks in major league history, and fans who sit through thick and thin from spring to early autumn.
The Chicago Bears have made it to a Super Bowl within the last ten years and a few NFC championship games but have not won a Super Bowl since the 1985 season. The Bulls were clearly Chicago's sports team of the 90s, with the Bulls winning an amazing six NBA titles.
Long gone are Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Phil Jackson, however, and even with the Bulls terrific past two seasons, come April the Cubs captivate the attention of most folks in this Midwestern state.
Indiana: Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck hopes to lead Indianapolis back to prominence.
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This is incredibly close between the University of Indiana men's basketball and the Indianapolis Colts. For now it's the Indianapolis Colts though historically, it's Indiana hoops. The Hoosier state is a basketball state through and through.
The legacy of Bob Knight's three national championships still hold true today. Indiana is also the back drop for one of the greatest sports movies of all time: Hoosiers. A semi-factual tale of a small town Indiana high school basketball team that won the state's famous state basketball championship in 1951.
Credit Peyton Manning for his Hall-of-Fame years of service in Indianapolis and finally leading the Colts to an NFL title in 2006. And turning the Hoosier state, at least for the time being, into a hot bed for Colts fans. Now, Hoosiers basketball coach Tom Crean may be on the verge of leading IU basketball back to glory.
Iowa: University of Iowa Football
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Iowa is one of the lesser known yet greatest college football states in the country. Kinnick Stadium is routinely backed and considered one of the toughest places to play in all of college football. Iowa State and Northern Iowa usually have competitive squads as well on the gridiron.
Des Moines, Iowa also is home to the Chicago Cubs Triple-A affiliate, the Iowa Cubs. As a result, the Hawkeye state is chock full of Chicago Cubs fans. But come Fall, the black and gold of the Iowa Hawkeyes are the main colors to be found in this Midwestern state.
Kansas: Kansas University Basketball
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The Kansas Jayhawks men's basketball team is the heartbeat of Kansas sports fans. There's simply no comparison to any other sports team or league in this basketball-crazed state. The Jayhawks, like the Crimson Tide in Alabama, are a way of life here.
The 1988 and 2008 national championships have furthered the tremendous tradition of the KU basketball program. The team competed in 2012 for the men's basketball championship against another proud program, the University of Kentucky, and fought valiantly before falling to the Wildcats.
If you have the opportunity, make a trip to Phog Allen Fieldhouse on the Lawrence campus for a KU basketball team in winter— if you can get a seat. Listening to the KU student section chant, 'Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk', is one of the best, goose-bumped packed traditions in all of sports.
Kentucky: University of Kentucky Basketball
Kentucky Basketball are the reigning NCAA Champs
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The Bluegrass state loves their college basketball. And fans love to wear the blue and white and cheer on the UK Wildcats. UK won their first national championship since 1998 this past season and with head coach John Calipari in charge, the Wildcats are perennial title contenders.
UK's in-state rival, the Louisville Cardinals, have a rich basketball tradition of their own but it still pales in comparison to the boys from Lexington. Kentucky basketball fans, like Kansas fans, travel very well and support their teams through the good and bad times.
Louisiana: LSU Football
A day at Tiger Stadium is one to remember.
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Some people's instinct would be to say the New Orleans Saints. Though, I politely disagree. If we're talking the entire state, LSU football and their legion of wild, vociferous fans push the Bayou Bengals to the top of the popularity pyramid in the state.
The New Orleans Saints Super Bowl victory in February of 2010 was the pinnacle moment for many Louisiana sports fans but particularly for the fine folks of the Big Easy. Given what awful damage Hurricane Katrina left in its wake in 2005, this beautiful, unique southern state was in need of inspiration from anywhere it could get it.
The 2009 New Orleans Saints team will always be revered throughout the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana. But like most of the south, Louisiana is a college football haven. And the Tigers from mighty Louisiana State barely trump the Saints.
Maine: Boston Red Sox
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The Red Sox appear an incredible four times on this list. Maine is one of the New England states that can't get enough of their Sox. A large concentration of the state's residents are in the southeastern part of the state, particularly the Portland area, which is home to one-third of the total population of the Pine Tree state.
Portland is a mere two hours from Fenway Park and many a Maine resident knows the trek down I-95 very well as they head each summer to cheer on their darling Red Sox.
Maryland: Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens make Marylanders proud.
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"Crab cakes and football— that's what Maryland does!" One of the epic lines from the hit movie, Wedding Crashers. And indeed that is what Marylanders do love. They also love the Baltimore Ravens who are the kings of the terrific football town of Baltimore.
The purple and black have competitive teams virtually every season and play with brash, physical swagger that is the perfect embodiment of Charm City. Maryland is a geographically unique state that shares borders with West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware and the District of Columbia.
Many Marylanders root for the Washington Redskins but their popularity has been eclipsed over the last 20 years by the Ravens.
Massachusetts: Boston Red Sox
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The Red Sox are interwoven into the fabric of Massachusetts. They are undeniably the most popular sports team from the Bay State. Were you expecting another team, perhaps?
Even with the success of the Boston Celtics and New England Patriots, the Red Sox will forever be Boston's team and subsequently, the team for the rest of the state of Massachusetts. Every fan in the state of Massachusetts dreams of making it to Fenway Park to cheer on the Sox. They're larger than life.
Michigan: University of Michigan Football
The Blue and Maize are quite the craze in the Wolverine state.
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For the entire state, the University of Michigan football wins the popularity war. If not, it likely would be the Detroit Red Wings. Michigan is a great sports state with several college and professional teams that fans ardently support through thick and thin.
In certain respects, Michigan is similar to Florida in that the flagship state university unites the most amount of residents, while the Wolverines' biggest rival, Michigan State, is still very well supported. Detroit is the major city in Michigan and all of the motor city's sports teams are followed with close attention by Michigan faithful.
Minnesota: Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings celebrate a touchdown.
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Minnesotans love hockey dearly. Though if the Vikings ever win a Super Bowl, it's entirely possible that the North Star State would explode. The Vikings are followed with immense interest and the suspense grows by the year as the Vikings have not yet won a Super Bowl.
The Vikings have lost an incredible four Super Bowls with all four losses coming between the 1969-1976 seasons. In some respects, this makes Minnesota a similar franchise to the Buffalo Bills. Minnesotans hope the pain ends soon and when it does, this beautiful upper Midwestern state may never be the same.
Mississippi: Ole Miss Football
Ole Miss has the support of many in the state of Mississippi.
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The University of Mississippi has an incredible following across the state of Mississippi and is affectionately known to fans as 'Ole Miss.' Game days in Oxford are a sight to behold. Fans congregate on 'The Grove' which is a huge tailgating site that takes up a substantial portion of the Ole Miss campus.
Count on some amazing barbecue, cold beverages galore and some of the kindest folks you'll ever encounter to welcome you to SEC Football.
Mississippi State is also quite a popular team in the state in addition to the Atlanta Braves for major league baseball. The Braves Double-A affiliate plays in Pearl, Mississippi which is just outside of Jackson.
Missouri: St. Louis Cardinals
There was lots of celebrating when the Cardinals won the World Series.
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Everybody loves a winner. The St. Louis Cardinals win a lot and they won yet another World Series in 2011. Missouri has two very different cities in Kansas City and St. Louis and the University of Missouri has loads of winning sports teams. But the red birds trump them all.
The Cardinals have won the second most World Series titles of all time and field a competitive club seemingly every season. Missouri is a highly underrated sports state. The Kansas City Chiefs have one of the best fanbases in the NFL and Arrowhead Stadium is notoriously known as one of the toughest places to play.
Montana: University of Montana Football
Montana Football isn't afraid to take on the big boys.
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Montana Football is a perennial contender for the Division 1 FBS championship and the Grizzlies know how to pack a stadium. Without a major sports team, Montana sports fans have found a real winner in the Grizzlies.
Football is huge in this stunningly beautiful state that also loves sports like rodeo, fishing and hunting.
Nebraska: University of Nebraska Football
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In Nebraska, the Cornhuskers football program is the dominant sports force. You'll find many Kansas City Royals fans in this Great Plains state and a divide between Kansas City Chiefs fans to the east and Denver Broncos fans to the west.
Though autumn Saturdays in Lincoln are unrivaled among sports fans in this state. Native Nebraskans bleed red and white and under head coach Bo Pelini, things are turning around to the point where the Huskers may be competing for national titles again soon. Just like the good ol' days.
Nevada: Los Angeles Lakers/Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles sports teams heavily influence Nevada.
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Probably the toughest state to pick. So many residents are transplants. It would be easy to say UNLV basketball but I think the only way to really get this one would be to somehow determine from what part of the country the largest percentage of transplants are.
The LA Dodgers and Lakers, due to proximity to Los Angeles, take the prize as the two teams that Nevada sports fans love to watch.
New Hampshire: Boston Red Sox
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Like many of its New England neighbors, folks from the Granite State go ga-ga over the Red Sox. New Hampshire is one of the several New England states that does not have a major professional sports team that plays within its state boundaries.
No matter. Several parts of this picturesque, cold weather state are within an hour's drive or slightly more to Boston and it's no difficult task for a hungry New Hampshire sports fan to head on down I-93 or I-95 to Beantown to catch the Boston Red Sox.
New Jersey: New York Yankees*
Robinson Cano brings a smile to the faces of Yankees fans everywhere.
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*If we're talking the state as a whole, it has to be the New York Yankees. A population density map of New Jersey shows an overwhelming concentration of the population to be suburban to New York and in closer proximity to New York than other cities.
The Giants and Jets fans cancel each other out with their rabid fanbases. New Jerseyans like the Mets but not nearly as much as the Bronx Bombers. If you break the state in half: Northern/Central: Yankees. Southern: Philadelphia Eagles/Philadelphia Phillies.
Southern New Jersey is overwhelmingly behind the Philadelphia-area sports teams particularly the Eagles and Phillies. The state as a whole is more behind the New York sports teams. Though ask New Jersey residents who they support and you'll get several different answers.
New Mexico: University of New Mexico Men's Basketball
The Lobos play in the famous arena, 'The Pit.'
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New Mexico sports fans are heavily influenced by their neighbors to the north, west and east. The Lobos basketball team has a rich tradition and the team has reached the NCAA Tournament many times throughout the years.
The Dallas Cowboys in particular have an influence on New Mexico sports fans and college football at both UNM and New Mexico State is quite popular. If you find yourself in this southwestern state in winter, head on over to the Pit to check out the Lobos.
New York: New York Yankees
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In the Empire State, the world's most successful sports franchise is on top of the heap. New York sports fans love their Giants, Jets, Yankees, Mets, Knicks and Nets. And that's not to mention the Rangers, Devils and Islanders as well.
The Yankees are believed to be the most popular sports team in North America and New York is a baseball town. The way that the Yankees win each year, it should remain that way.
North Carolina: University of North Carolina Men's Basketball
North Carolina's sky blue uniforms are part of what make the Tarheels so special.
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A very diverse sports state, now mottled all the more with the tremendous amount of northern transplants. But it's still quite clearly the University of North Carolina Men's Basketball team that finds warmth in the hearts of most North Carolinians. Few fanbases in an sport—college or pro— rival the passion and dedication of the Tarheels fanbase.
UNC's blood rivals, Duke University, have a really large national following and do have many fans in the Raleigh-Durham area. But across the state, UNC basketball's popularity trumps Duke and every other sports team.
North Dakota: Minnesota Vikings
Folks in the Peace Garden State love to cheer on the Vikings.
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The Minnesota Vikings are king though the University of North Dakota ice hockey team has some rabid supporters. North Dakota is another cold weather state where football thrives and the state of Minnesota's sports fans rub off on their neighbors to the west.
The Vikings are broadcast weekly on television and have an overwhelming popularity in this part of the country.
Ohio: Ohio State Football
It's pretty hard to top a perfect Fall afternoon in Columbus.
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Another state where the huge college football team, Ohio State, wins because of so many geographical differences between the big cities. Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland all cancel each other out. One thing Ohioans can agree upon? Buckeyes football.
Ohio State football is right there at the top of the list for most passionate college football fans. Now with Urban Meyer in charge, expect the winning ways to continue in Columbus.
Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Football
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The Oklahoma City Thunder have emerged as one of the best teams in the NBA and the state has really warmed to them. But the state as a whole still heavily favors the Sooners from Norman over the Cowboys from Stillwater, and any other sport
Oklahoma Football has a winning tradition like only a few, select college football programs. These days, they're competing for a national title every season and producing multiple Heisman Trophy winners. The Sooners rule the state of Oklahoma.
Oregon: University of Oregon Football
The Oregon Ducks cheerleaders always have lots to cheer about.
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The Oregon Ducks football team contends for the national title every season nowadays and their flashy uniforms have only helped to increase the awareness of the Oregon football program. Autzen Stadium is a sight to behold in the fall and most Oregonians love to support their Ducks.
The Portland Trail Blazers are the state's only major sport representative and have a huge following and tradition. 'Rip City' is always a tough destination for opposing NBA teams and Portland fans are among the best in the NBA.
Pennsylvania: Penn State Football
Penn State football fans are looking forward to the games starting.
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One of the more interesting states to decipher. Pennsylvania is a huge state with very unique big cities that boast very passionate fans. Both Pittsburgh and Philly have tremendous fans that help enliven the spirit of their respective cities. And professional sports in those cities totally dominate.
By now, we all know the tremendous toll that the awful sexual abuse scandal has taken on Penn State. It will take a long time for the school, community and many fans to truly recover and make peace with moving forward from what was an unfathomably horrendous ordeal.
That said, Penn State alumni are scattered all throughout the state and thousands of young boys grow up dreaming to play for the blue and white. It will be up to coach Bill O'Brien to restore the realness of that dream and to clean things up.
Penn State has always been able to lay claim to having perhaps the best game day environment and fan base of nearly any school in college football. This will be challenged now but expect these superb football fans to stick by their team and move on with grace.
Real tough state to analyze but I think you have to say Penn State Football. All the more interesting, if we break the state up in half: Western Pa: Steelers. Eastern Pa: Eagles. Football is far and away the biggest sport in the Keystone state.
Rhode Island: New England Patriots
Future Hall-of-Famer Tom Brady is hero to the fine folks of Rhode Island.
The New England Patriots just barely over the Red Sox due to geographical proximity to Foxborough, Massachusetts, where the Patriots play. Providence, Rhode Island is less than 25 miles from Foxborough and some of the northeastern parts of the state are less than 15 miles away.
Rhode Island mostly goes for the New England sports teams but you'll still find some Yankees and Giants fans in the southwestern parts of the state.
South Carolina: University of South Carolina Football
South Carolina just passes Clemson in popularity for the state.
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A state with two huge state universities that love football. The University of South Carolina Football takes the prize over Clemson University due to broader appeal over the entirety of the state. USC is the state's football team whereas Clemson's support is more limited to alumni and the western part of the state.
The garnet and black have improved considerably under Steve Spurrier's watch and the Ol' Ball Coach has helped to revive interest across the Palmetto State in the Gamecocks. South Carolina offers two schools that each boast stadiums in excess of 80,000 seats where the atmosphere gets rowdy and very loud.
The bragging rights are between which school's stadium can get louder and more intense. 'Death Valley' in Clemson is a football environment like few others, while South Carolina's electric entrance at Williams-Brice is enough to make the hairs on your body stand up.
South Dakota: Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings have themselves a solid following in South Dakota.
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The Minnesota Vikings make their third entry on this list, rounding out the Dakotas and of course their home state of Minnesota. With apologies to South Dakota State football, the Vikings' popularity trumps all other sports teams in this great state.
Basketball is popular in South Dakota and the state has produced NBA champion, Mike Miller, who was a McDonald's All American while in high school in Mitchell. Adam Vinatieri, Brock Lesnar and Terry Francona all hail from South Dakota.
Tennessee: University of Tennessee Football
Enter Neyland Stadium on a game night and try not getting the chills.
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Over the years Tennessee has added several professional sports teams who have gained excellent followings but none compare to the love bestowed upon the Tennessee Volunteers football team. Many a Tennessean grows up rooting on the orange and white and makes an annual pilgrimage to Knoxville to see the Vols on the gridiron.
Stars like Peyton Manning, Reggie White and Arian Foster have worn the orange of Tennessee and the Volunteers' proud tradition continues on. The Tennessee Titans, Memphis Grizzlies and Nashville Predators are the state's major professional sports teams.
Texas: Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, like the team, are quite popular.
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Like California, Texas is a very diverse sports state. Football is overwhelmingly the top sport. Heck, in many parts of the state, the local high school football team matters more than anything. Anything. Just watch the movie and television show, 'Friday Night Lights', and you'll see a very accurate depiction of how much the game of football means to the great folks in Texas.
The University of Texas Football team is adored but no team in this second most populous state tops the Cowboys— America's Team. The Cowboys have fans not just in Texas but all over the country. Even with the arrival of the Houston Texans, many native Texans are still die hard Cowboys fans through and through.
Utah: Brigham Young Football
Lavell Edwards Stadium, home of BYU Football, is breathtaking.
Brigham Young Football has an amazing tradition and captivates many fans throughout the Beehive State. They also have one of the best back drops for a sporting venue in all of college football in Lavell Edwards Stadium.
The stadium, located in Provo, Utah, is situated in the Utah Valley amidst the Wasatch Range. If you're considering a road trip, head in the direction of this must-see state and find some time to enjoy a nice autumn Saturday in Provo catching the Cougars battle on the gridiron.
A very strong argument can be made for the Utah Jazz who have an enormous following throughout the state. From Stockton and Malone to the present team, the Jazz fans always pack the house in Salt Lake City and are widely considered to have some of the best fans in basketball.
The Cougars just narrowly edge out the Utah Jazz and the University of Utah Football team.
Vermont: Boston Red Sox
Residents of the Green Mountain State love the Green Monster and their Red Sox.
Vermonters mostly root for the Boston-area professional sports teams though there are a significant minority of New York Yankees and Giants fans in the Green Mountain State. The University of Vermont men's basketball team is also wildly popular during the winter months.
However, the Red Sox are tops in this gorgeous state. Find yourself among the restaurants and bars of Church Street in down town Burlington and you'll have difficulty keeping count of the number of folks sporting Boston Red Sox hats.
Virginia: Washington Redskins
Things are looking up for the Washington Redskins.
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The Redskins' team headquarters and training camp are in Ashburn, in northern Virginia, and quite a large percentage of the 'Skins fanbase calls the OId Dominion State home. The Redskins' popularity in Virginia is unrivaled. Game days find fans racing for the local supermarkets to stock on food, charcoal and refreshments.
The Redskins remain king throughout this geographically diverse state from the DC suburbs to Hampton Roads, to the south and western reaches of the state. Northern Virginia is very, very densely populated and highly affected by the Washington DC sports teams.
Recently, the Washington Nationals have found increased interest among the fans but in the southern parts of the state, the Atlanta Braves are still the major league baseball team of choice.
Whether it's Fall, Spring, Summer of Winter in Virginia, there's simply nothing bigger than the Redskins.
Washington: Seattle Mariners
The Mariners are struggling though Seattle always stands by their M's.
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The Mariners have an excellent following in Seattle and many parts of the state and just narrowly edge out the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle fans are very loyal and the gut-wrenching blow of having the SuperSonics depart in 2008 was a very bitter bill to swallow.
The University of Washington football team has many fans across the state and Washingtonians are big football fans like the rest of the country. But the Mariners hold a special place in the heart of folks in the Evergreen state. If they ever make it to the World Series, the energy, noise and excitement emanating from Safeco Field will be heard in Oregon.
West Virginia: West Virginia Football
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West Virginia Football draws fans from all over the Mountain State. For a state without any major sports team, the Steelers are big in many parts of West Virginia. But the state's flagship university has a football team that means everything to the folks in this state.
Game days in Morgantown are legendary both for the football and the tail gates. The team now moves on to the Big 12 where some of the nation's best will visit Morgantown for several Saturdays in the Fall. This should only help to invigorate the passion and love that the folks of this picturesque state share for their Mountaineers.
Wisconsin: Green Bay Packers
The Lambeau Leap is part of the Green Bay Packers experience.
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The Green Bay Packers. Did you expect someone else?
The only team in the NFL to be owned by its fans, the Packers are a religion in Green Bay. Perhaps more than any other major sports team in all of the United States, the reverence shown to the Packers by their incredible legion of fans is unmatched.
Tickets pass on among family members and are nearly impossible for outside buyers to pick up without having to fork over a fortune. The Packers are back to being one of the best teams in the NFL and their Super Bowl title from the 2010 season has left a sweet taste in the mouths of the fans.
The University of Wisconsin football and basketball teams are really big in this state known for its dairy products. The Brewers have performed nicely since Miller Park became home. But you could combine every sports team in this state and they still wouldn't be even half as popular as the Green Bay Packers.
Wyoming: Denver Broncos
The Broncos popularity across the Rockies is mammoth.
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Wyoming rounds out our list and helps to give the Broncos two out of the 50 states. The Broncos capture the hearts of the Cowboy State annually and have a faithful following in Wyoming. From Cheyenne to Casper to Yellowstone National Park, the Broncos are the preferred professional sports team in this least populous state in the union.
Honorable mention and close second goes to the University of Wyoming Football team who plays at the Division 1 level in the Mountain West conference.