Millions of college football fans are on Facebook, gearing up for the start of the 2013 NCAA College Football season. We took a look at the AP Top 25 Preseason Rankings heading into the first match-ups, and mapped out the fandom for all 25 teams across the United States. Fans are people who “like” a team’s official Facebook Page.
Fan and location information are both as of August 25, drilling down to the county-by-county level. Note: a handful of counties, generally in sparsely populated areas, have no Facebook fans for any of the Top 25 teams; those counties are shaded light grey.
We made a few observations ourselves, but will leave it to the larger audience to pull their own insights from the data:
- Three teams, UCLA, Northwestern and Oregon State, have no counties in which they were the most-favored team. UCLA is out-fanned in every relevant county by USC, Wisconsin fans dominate over those rooting for Northwestern, and Oregon tops Oregon State
- Texas, Florida and Ohio State have more of a national following than other teams on the list
- County-by-county: Texas fans are tops in 543 counties across the country, followed by Florida with 423 counties, Ohio State with 376, Nebraska with 324, and Oregon with 233 counties
- Most states: Florida fans dominate on a state level with counties in 27 different states. Ohio State and Texas are second and third on the list, with fans in 24 and 23 states, respectively
- Illinois has the most diversity, with 10 different teams represented across 102 counties; Missouri is second with nine teams
- In 10 states, every single county favors the same team. Fans in five of them root for a team that is local, while the other five support non-local teams.
- Alabama (Alabama)
- Louisiana (LSU)
- Ohio (Ohio State)
- Oregon (Oregon)
- Wisconsin (Wisconsin)
- Delaware (Florida)
- Hawaii (Oregon)
- New Mexico (Texas)
- Rhode Island (Florida)
- Washington (Oregon)
- Five teams have fans who dominate in only one or two counties nationwide: Clemson and Stanford are tops in two counties in the states of South Carolina and California, respectively; Stanford dominates two counties in California; TCU wins only its home county in Texas; Texas A&M wins one county in its home state and another in Arkansas; Oklahoma State wins only one county
- Interesting pockets: Notre Dame fans in eastern Pennsylvania; Ohio State fans in Arizona; lone Florida holdout in Jasper County, GA; pocket of Texas fans in the middle of Maine; Florida fans in the Northeast
By Alex Walker, Consumer Content Manager & Robert D’Onofrio, Data Editor, with special thanks to Data Scientist, Andi Gros, for visualization assistance