Defining the Field

Act II – Part 1


expcov1The past ten articles allowed us to layout all of the aspects that define how expansion occurs within the Power Five conferences.  However, now we need to use those aspects to find a way to compare schools against each other.  Some of the details are easier to quantify than others (Desire, for instance, is not only completely anecdotal, but also entirely speculative.), but we can use several metrics to make this less of a game of pin-the-school-on-the-conference.

Using the guidelines I highlighted within the articles, I created a database of information on 122 FBS teams; from financials, to attendance records. to distance from specific places on a map.  Any one of these data points alone don’t really give us a picture of an athletic department, nor a conference, but added together we can see how fluctuations over multiple areas can cause schools to rise or fall in value.

This is the preface for the first article attempting to describe the quantification of one of these aspects, Branding and Culture, and there will be a few more describing other major areas to come.  As mentioned, I looked at as many FBS teams as I could find a full set of data, instead of just a few, often named, candidates.  The reason for this was twofold:

One, having a larger data set allowed me to refine formulas used to compare schools and ensure the analysis was unbiased.

And, two, using all of the teams allowed us to set benchmarks on what is either expected or needed from expansion candidates.

You will see me talking about Michigan, or Alabama, or USC.  That does not mean that I am stating they are leaving their conference – that is not the point of this exercise.  What you will see, however, is a numeric analysis of the entire FBS world, which you can use to draw your own conclusions on what makes or does not make sense.

As is the case within any extensive data set, especially one drawn from numerous sources, there will be outliers within the findings.  I will attempt to highlight these as often as possible.   Sometimes they are because that data is unusual and sometimes it is because our personal world view may have been too narrow to consider something we hadn’t previously.  More often than not it will be the latter.

I welcome any questions and input along the way, though I will likely focus more on the analytical, as opposed to anecdotal, feedback.  The next set of articles will detail the college landscape and then individual teams will be discussed after.   At no point do I plan to do a deep dive into every single school, so if there are any specific candidates you’d like to see, feel free to contact me via email or twitter.  However the best way may be to interact via the forums on the www.jsmpublishing.staging.wpengine.com website.  Under “College Sports Talk” there is a topic pinned to the top called “Ask the Monkey”.  If you post your thoughts there they will not be lost.



If you have any questions or would like some numbers discussed, contact The Number Monkey via “Ask the Monkey” in our forum, on Twitter @TheNumberMonkey or by email [email protected]

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