So I came across this map the other day, and decided to share it here. I think it's a great breakdown of fan support, but what if we use it as a new way to look at conference expansion? Hmmm.... First lets start in the SEC (of course... what other conference matters?).
Looking at the SEC states, including new members Texas A&M and Missouri, there are both ends of the spectrum. Florida is split between 3.5 schools in 3 different conferences (no, USF is not a whole school). And though the lines might be a little off on the map, it's pretty accurate. South Carolina is split between 2 schools both in different conferences. Georgia is mostly dominated by UGA, with a splash of Georgia Tech. Those are the ONLY 3 states in which the SEC and the ACC battle for attention. Florida is the only one that you could say the SEC does not have the majority of state support. *Note: This is also true for Texas A&M, but let's be honest, that state is so hugely dominated by the Longhorns that I don't even consider it. Besides... it's Texas.
When you look at the rest of the SEC states, all of them are dominated by the SEC schools, with a splash of Louisville, USM, and Memphis. No offense to the smaller schools, but I don't expect Tulane to compete for TV time against LSU... Just sayin.
What impresses me is the addition of Missouri into the SEC. Not only did the conference add a high-quality academic school, a Top 10 basketball program, and a steadily rising, but already successful football program, but they brought in an entire states worth of fans, revenue, and recruiting to the SEC. Missouri is one of only 7 other significant programs (Boston College, Connecticut, Maryland, Rutgers, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Nebraska) that are entirely dominated by one team. (*I don't count Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont as being dominated by BC. I've lived in that part of the country, and have family in New Hampshire, and they just don't care about college sports. Maine residents actually care more about U-Maine than BC. I'm also not counting Wyoming. I mean, what can the 14 people that live there do to SEC ratings? And I'm not counting Hawaii, because... well that's just dumb.)
The geographic impact of adding Mizzou wedges the SEC into the midwest, and separates the B1G from the Big 12. When you add Texas A&M to the mix, you see the footprint grow even more, and this time into the oil money state of Texas. I'll make the joke... The SEC struck black gold by pulling Texas A&M into the conference. The state of Texas, which I predistined to dislike because of their claim to have "real country music" (come on... I live in Nashville), has just as much if not more money and more recuits within the state borders than California or Florida, and those two are split between multiple teams. Anytime the SEC can stick it to the Longhorns, I'm a fan. And this move to bring in the Aggies is like a dagger to everything that is Texas. It's like letting the robber in the front door and serving them tea in your living room. The SEC is coming to steal your state, and your money.
Other states that surprised or impressed me?
Arizona, and the dominance of the Sun Devils.
California, and the lack of support for USC outside of LA.
Idaho, the north stands strong for the Vandals.
Illinois, almost completely dominated by the Illini... Except for where 80% of the population is.
Kansas, I expected more Jayhawk. Rock Chalk.
Montana, the state actually has two schools?
New York, for as bad as Syracuse is at football, I guess basketball fans have nothing else to do in the fall.
North Carolina, there's no way there are that many App State or ECU fans. Or that little Dukies.
Ohio, Cincinatti is not that big. This state should be almost all Buckeyes.
Pennsylvania, I wonder if this has changed or will change in the post-Paterno era.
South Dakota, apparently there are no schools there, so they cheer for North Dakota State? I'd pick Nebraska.
Tennessee, Man I hate UT. That's it. Nothing else.
Utah, I would have expected more Utes, but this is the Mormon state. I should have known better.