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The SEC’s Best Football Programs Part 3: Campus Life

mrsec stat analysis newThis week, MrSEC.com is attempting to rank the SEC’s football programs from #1 all the way down to #14.  For an overview of the series, you can click right here.  You will find — among other things — that we have decided to rank each program in four main categories: Recruiting Base, Tradition, Campus Life and Recent History.

Under each of those four umbrella categories are 20 sub-categories.  Simply put, we’re grading SEC programs in 20 different areas.

Part 1 of our series — Recruiting Base — can be found here.

Part 2 of the series — Tradition — can be found here.

In this installment, we look into Campus Life.  And what exactly does “Campus Life” consist of?  Five categories that would all play some role in a recruit’s decision to attend a specific school.  Included are things such as fan passion, the makeup of the student body and even the weather.  That’s where we’ll start.

Below you will find the average number of sunny days in a year for each SEC campus.  The information comes from climate data provided by BestPlaces.net.  We will assume that the majority of athletes would prefer to live in a sunny environment.  The sunniest spots in the SEC are:

 

Campus Life: Average Number of Sunny Days

  ALA   ARK   AUB   UF   UGA   UK   LSU   MSU   MU   UM   USC   UT   A&M   VU
  214   217   217   224   216   188   214   220   192   217   217   204   209   205

 

No surprise, Gainesville, Florida is the best spot for a warm and sunny recruiting visit.  Starkville, Mississippi actually comes in next with 220 sun-filled days.

Coaches at Missouri and Kentucky — with fewer than 200 sunny days each — have to convince athletes that playing in chillier, gloomier weather isn’t such a bad thing.

 

Next, we look at the male to female ratio on each SEC campus.  Again, we will assume that the majority of football prospects visiting SEC schools are interested in girls.  All the better if the days are sunny and those girls dress accordingly.  There’s a reason schools assign hostesses to visiting recruits.  The table below shows the percentage of female students on each SEC campus:

 

Campus Life: Percentage of Female Students in Campus Population

  ALA   ARK   AUB   UF   UGA   UK   LSU   MSU   MU   UM   USC   UT   A&M   VU
  54   50   49   55   57   51   51   48   52   55   54   49   48   50

 

The edge in this battle goes to the University of Georgia.  According to the numbers provided by CollegeBoard.org, UGA’s student population is 57% female.

On the other end of the spectrum, visitors to Auburn, Tennessee, Mississippi State and Texas A&M are going to look around and see a whole lot of other guys.

 

Sticking with the demographic makeup of SEC student populations, we now look at the ethnicity of each school.  Once again we are left to assume that the majority of college football recruits would prefer to attend a school that enjoys racial diversity.  The table below shows the percentage of ethnic students on each SEC campus.  Again, the numbers were provided by CollegeBoard.org:

 

Campus Life: Percentage of Ethnic Students in Campus Population

  ALA   ARK   AUB   UF   UGA   UK   LSU   MSU   MU   UM   USC   UT   A&M   VU
  21   21   15   41   26   20   23   30   20   24   22   19   31   37

 

In 2010, the NCAA’s annual Race and Ethnicity Report stated that black football players outnumbered white football players for the first time.  It would stand to reason that black athletes would prefer to attend a college boasting a more racially-diverse student body.  If so, that would be good news for Florida and Vanderbilt, the two schools in the SEC with the largest percentage of ethnic students.

Meanwhile, visitors to the universities of Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee and Auburn would likely see the fewest faces of color in the SEC.

 

Next we turn our attention to fan passion.  Using the latest report from Collegiate Licensing Company, below are listed the national rankings for each SEC school in terms of merchandise sold:

 

Campus Life: Licensed Merchandise Sold (2012-13 National Rankings)

  ALA   ARK   AUB   UF   UGA   UK   LSU   MSU   MU   UM   USC   UT   A&M   VU
  2   10   18   7   8   5   6   76*   20   44   16   15   12   58

 

As you can see, Alabama, Kentucky, LSU, Florida and Georgia fans displayed the most brand loyalty over the past year.  These numbers rise and fall with on-field (and on-court) team success, but since we are ranking the SEC’s football programs as they stand today, we believe these rankings are useful.

Collegiate Licensing Company only lists the top 75 schools in terms of merchandise and Mississippi State failed to make that listing.  For that reason, we’ve assigned State the number 76.

 

Finally, what better way to judge fan passion than by football attendance?  Certainly, some programs have an advantage in this area thanks to their enormous stadiums.  Then again, fan passion is why they have larger stadiums in the first place.

Below are the average attendance figures for each SEC football team over the last three years.  The data comes from the NCAA’s official attendance numbers.  These averages reflect the number of tickets sold rather than actual turnstile attendance figures (which most schools refuse to provide):

 

Campus Life: Average Football Attendance (2010-2012)

  ALA   ARK   AUB   UF   UGA   UK   LSU   MSU   MU   UM   USC   UT   A&M   VU
  101,788   67,989   84,841   89,056   92,687   58,589   92,737   55,525   63,703   56,484   78,600   94,796   85,558   34,667

 

Alabama is at the head of the line in terms of fan support at the moment, and why not?  With two BCS championships in the last three seasons and with the SEC’s second-largest stadium, Bama should be leading the way in attendance.  Tennessee — despite a serious downturn in on-field success — has still sold enough tickets to rank second in the league in this category.

Vanderbilt — with its tiny, 40,000-seat Dudley Field, brings up the rear.

 

Up next we provide our final breakdown, this time of Recent History.  The most important category in our formula, a whopping eight sub-categories will be tackled in that post.

After that post, we will explain our overall scoring system and unveil the 1-14 rankings of the SEC’s football programs.

Stay tuned…

 


17 comments
pbrstreetgang
pbrstreetgang

I would hold that the percentage of women on campus is far less important than the number of attractive women on campus.   It's awfully hard to find more, better looking women than in Baton Rouge although College Station has seen rapid improvement on that front.  (Keeping in mind the majority of your readers would agree that most 20 year-old women are attractive, but that we were a bit more selective - or stupid -  when we were 20 years-old). 

hoboat33
hoboat33

I'd be curious to see the stadium numbers as a percentage of capacity. It seems schools with smaller stadiums are penalized. Yes, I'm a fan of one of those smaller stadium schools. ;-)

andy75
andy75

I think you're numbers on the ethnic students are slightly skewed (don't think it would change the overall outcome though).  Since you stated in the piece specifically that black football players outnumber white football players, I would think you would want to base it on the percentage of black students.  Having attended Vanderbilt, while there is some diversity, I would think most black (or white for that matter) football players really cared or even noticed the Asian students who make up the largest part of that ethnic minority at the school.  I would think they would be more interested in schools with a larger African-American population.

MoKelly1
MoKelly1

Females on camous as a factor for the best SEC school. I love it. Somehow, we need to judge the beauty of such females. That will require on site research. I will volunteer to do that study for a very small fee.

bvkv09
bvkv09

Great series John but as you alluded to in the comments I do have one suggestion. Percentages of females on campus is one way to look at it, but what about that percentage as it relates to total enrollment. For instance, Florida actually has about 7K more females on campus than Georgia does just to the sheer size of the enrollment. I also wondered about the population base of the cites the school is in. That plays some factor in the quality of life. less and less kids are restricted to campus as in days past. I know the post was about campus life, but it really made me think about what makes one university's campus life better than the rest. 


I am Tennessee fan and felt like Campus was better when Sam and Andy's, OCI, the Library, etc. were down on the stirp. They weren't technically  "on campus" but they were close enough that you could walk 2 or 3 blocks to them. Those things are all gone now, and it isn't for the better. I can also say that I have been to Ole Miss and I don't care what the percentages say, the female population down there is something to behold. There must be something in the water there. LOL. 

DearOldState
DearOldState

Mississippi State is not with Collegiate Licensing Co., and therefore wouldn't be included in that list. They're represented by Licensing Resource Group. (www.lrgusa.com). Giving them a 76 based on incomplete data, seems sloppy.

j_scott_o
j_scott_o

This is actually a fun endeavor.  I do have an issue with the merchandise category and Kentucky.  My guess is the majority of the merchandise sold for the Cats is a result of basketball rather than football.  But, obviously, that would be almost impossible to separate in this project.   Looking forward to the final post.

mb6783
mb6783

Oh boy, I can't wait to hear the negative comments coming from the final post. I can't believe you guys are opening yourself up like this. You're going to make so many people angry here. All I can figure is you guys enjoy the hate mail LOL. 

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

@DearOldState 

If you know of a better way to find how many dollars worth of merchandise MSU sold AND exactly how much the other SEC schools sold so we can accurately compare them, I'd be happy to use that data.  As it stands, this is one category out of 20 and from looking at the scores so far, it's not going to make a big difference when it comes to MSU's final ranking.

Thanks for reading the site,

John

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

@j_scott_o 

We think it shows overall fan passion.  If Kentucky fans spend like crazy for basketball merchandise, it suggests they would do the same for football if their program improved.

Thanks for reading the site,

John

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

@mb6783 

So far we've received at least one email complaining about all 13 sub-categories we've revealed so far.  A lot of people have done rankings of program based on their own perception.  We've tried to apply some data to it.  We knew going in that that data would be chewed up and spit back at us by a few folks.  Goes with the territory.  In reality, it's just a fun little exercise before the season begins.

Thanks for reading the site,

John

DearOldState
DearOldState

@John at MrSEC @DearOldState Since there is no way to accurately judge MSU's numbers in that category versus the rest of the league, throw out that particular number when calculating MSU's final ranking. Otherwise you're just willfully using bad data. If it were Bama, I doubt you'd give them a 76 and move on.

DearOldState
DearOldState

@John at MrSEC Wow, that got out of hand pretty quickly. Oh well. Water's wet, MSU football has no tradition and sports bloggers can be pricks.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

@DearOldState @John at MrSEC 

First, if I had data for 13 schools and not for another -- be it Alabama, LSU, Mississippi State, etc -- I'd do exactly what I'm doing here.  Flagging it so you can draw your own conclusions.

As for the rest of your point, you are whiny, but not the whole fanbase.  I wrote SOME in big letters for a reason.  And I really don't care what you think.

Don't like the data we've used?  Don't read it.  Life's too short.  Go find something you enjoy.  

John

DearOldState
DearOldState

@John at MrSEC "You're right.  We've put this whole thing together with one goal -- to stick it to Mississippi State.  Moo-wha-ha-ha!" 

Sticking it to MSU wasn't what I was getting at, just that you've got incomplete data in one category and you should throw it out when it comes to calculating MSU's ranking in relation to the rest of the league. We all know that MSU will fall in the the bottom 4th of the ranking and one inaccurate data set won't matter. 

However, it doesn't change the fact that if were Bama or LSU with incomplete data, you'd be going about things differently. But, hey I'm just a fan from a whiney fanbase...who cares what I think.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

@DearOldState @John at MrSEC 

You're right.  We've put this whole thing together with one goal -- to stick it to Mississippi State.  Moo-wha-ha-ha!

The only thing I don't like about MSU is the never-ending "everybody picks on us" whining done by SOME members of its fanbase.

The fact that MSU wasn't listed in the CLC report was a) noted in the piece above and b) will be noted in the final standings.  The other stuff -- like all-time wins and bowls and championships -- is gonna do more to hurt MSU's rank than their score on merchandising sales.

Thanks for reading,

John

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