Some Reasons Reality Defies Logic

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Some Reasons Reality Defies Logic
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Does anyone besides me wonder how schools located in states with relatively small populations can be competitive in D-1 football over extended periods of time.  Any team can be successful for short periods of two to four years because of a particular coach and/or group of special athletes, who happen to come together. 

By extended periods of time I mean a team, which maintains a high level of performance for five or more consecutive years and can do so with different coaches and groups of athletes and during different eras.  Oklahoma is an excellent example of a program in a relatively small state, which has had excellent teams for extended period's of time during different eras.

There are several basic geographic strategies for building and maintaining a successful program.  Among them are:

1.  Be the only big time program in the state (LSU, Ohio State, Nebraska)

2.  If there is more than one "big time" program in the state, be the dominant one. (Michigan, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas)

3.  Be located in a state with a high population to school ratio.  (Southern California, Texas, Florida, Michigan)

3.  Be located next to a state with a high population to school ratio. (Oklahoma, Arkansas, Clemson, Arizona State, Oregon)

4. Establish a national recruiting network. (Notre Dame, Tennessee)

Some programs are able to exploit a combination of the strategies.  For example, Tennessee is the dominate in state program and recruits nationally.  LSU is the only big time in state program and recruits east Texas heavily. Michigan is the top dog in state and mines northern Ohio.

A normal assumption regarding recruiting is that the number of quality athletes in a given state is a function of the population.  Granted there are exceptions to every rule.  For example, Hawaii would be expected to produce more champion surfers than Minnesota despite Minnisota's 5.2M to 1.3M population advantage. 

 

Still it is reasonable to think that due to the need for large numbers of quality athletes with various body sizes and skill sets, collegiate Football would require a large pool of recruits.  Hence the athletes available in a given state should be a rough reflection of the states population.  For the sake of this discussion the Census Bureau 2008 estimated population of each state is used.

 

 Only BCS schools were considered in determining the population available per school.  Non BCS D-1 schools were not considered because of the assumption that the BCS schools in a given state would sign any players recruited by both them and in-state non BCS D-1 schools. 

 

To count these schools would skew the numbers unrealistically.  For example, Both California and Louisiana have four non-BCS D-1 schools.  It goes without saying that LSU is at least competitive with all of the California BCS schools. 

 

The following chart shows the ratio of number of BCS schools to the state's population rounded to the nearest 0.1 M:

 

State^..POPU........BCS Schools..AVG


NY..........19.5M.........1...................19.5

OH............11.5M........1*.................11.5(05.8)
CA..........36.8M.........4..................09.2
NJ..........08.7M.........1..................08.7
MA..........06.5M........1..................06.5
IL.............12.9M........2.................06.5
PA............12.4M.........2.................06.2

FL............18.3M.........3*...............06.1(04.6)
TX...........24.3M........4..................06.1
MO..........05.5M.........1.................05.9
MD...........05.6M........1.................05.6
WS..........05.6M.........1.................05.6
MN..........05.2M.........1.................05.2
MI...........10.0M.........2.................05.0
CO...........04.9M.........1.................04.9
GA...........09.7M.........2................04.9
LA...........04.4M..........1................04.4
VA...........07.8M.........2................03.9
CT...........03.5M..........1................03.5
WA..........06.6M........2................03.3
AZ..........06.5M.........2................03.3
TN..........06.2M.........2................03.1
AR..........02.9M..........1................02.9
AL..........04.7M..........2................02.4
NC..........09.2M.........4................02.3
SC..........04.5M..........2...............02.3
KY..........04.3M..........2...............02.2
IN..........06.4M.........3................02.1
OR..........03.8M.........2................01.9
OK..........03.6M.........2................01.8
WV..........01.8M.........1.................01.8
NE..........01.8M..........1.................01.8
IO..........03.0M.........2................01.5
MS..........02.9M........2................01.5
KS..........02.8M.........2................01.4

 

A question arises, why aren't Boston College (MA), Rutgers (NJ), and Syracuse (NY) consistent powers?  One could argue that other than Syracuse, schools in the east have no tradition of being football powers for at least the last seventy-five years.

 

One possible explanation could be that for most of that time the public and media have been focused on pro rather than collegiate sports.  As a result, at least until recently, the resources have not been available to these schools athletic programs.

 

How does one explain the relative weakness of programs in states with high population to BCS school ratios, i.e. Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. 

 

Unlike the eastern schools, these schools have tradition and massive local public and media support.  All have a higher population to BCS school ratio than almost every other any other state with BCS programs. 

 

One possible explanation could be that the minority kids from the south and southwest, who due to segregation, once played for these programs now play for teams closer to home. 

 

I'm not making the case that any of the theories put forth in this treatise are the only ones plausible.  They are just some possible explanations of why the balance of power has shifted over the last few decades.  Neither am I stating that the status today is how it will be forever.

 

 

^ - Only states with BCS schools were included.

 

* - Although Big East members, Cincinnati and USF are both BCS schools, it is unlikely that either take any recruits that Ohio State or the Florida big three (UF, FSU & Mia) respectively want to sign.  The numbers in ( ) show the population ratio if the Big East schools are considered.   

 

 

 

 

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