If sports are the great equalizer in our society, then college football is the most divisive thing that tears us apart. Everyone has a team. Maybe you’re a fan of your team because you go to that school, or maybe you picked one because of parental influence or geographic location. There’s even the rare fan of a team who has no affiliation to the school whatsoever. Take my cousin, the Notre Dame fan, for example. She never went to that school and her parents never went to school there, but she visited the campus as a kid and just fell in love with it. It happens!
If you want to see just how divided our country is based on college football affiliation, the New York Times took a look at the most popular college football programs in each state, based on data aggregated from Facebook “likes.”
This can definitely help you plan what outfits to tailgate in when you travel around the country. I mean, you wouldn’t be caught dead in UT Country wearing Baylor green, would you?
So what can we see from the large map? Obviously there’s no one team that has a large, national fan base across the country, like the Los Angeles Lakers in basketball, or the New York Yankees in baseball. The closest thing to that is, surprisingly, the Oregon Ducks, which has a fan base that stretches up into parts of Washington and down through Oregon into northern California. Ducks fans also dominate Montana, half of North Dakota (Did we REALLY need another thing dividing the Dakotas?) and the entire state of Alaska.
What’s really interesting is how various states are divided. Some states are obviously firmly entrenched in one camp: New York bleeds orange for the ‘Cuse, Wisconsin’s got big red fever (Badgers, not Rutgers), and Georgia shows no love for Tech, only the Dawgs. But some states have a civil war of the gridiron going on. For example, California is probably the most divided state, with various parts of the state leaning for USC, Fresno State, Cal, Stanford, and the Oregon Ducks. Florida is mostly Gator-centric, save for the panhandle, which goes to the FSU ‘Noles, the southern tip, which skews toward Miami, and a small section in the Orlando area that roots for UCF. Texas is almost firmly on the UT train, with small pockets carved out for Baylor, A&M, and Texas Tech. Hook ’em.
Check it out for yourself. The map is interactive, so you can even see how your specific county breaks down. One of the coolest things to see is who comes in second and third in the counties. Something I noticed is that no matter where in the country you click, the Florida Gators are usually number two or number three in the country. That’s a testament to a pretty massive, loyal fan base. Go Gators, and whatnot.
[via New York Times]