Surveys find that about one-quarter of the United States population, or between 75 and 80 million people, follow college football regularly. But which teams do they align themselves with?
This question is not easy to answer, but we’re going to make an effort to resolve it, and then use the results to shine a light on college football’s increasingly complicated realignment picture.
The premise of the study is this: take the 210 television media markets in the United States, figure out how many college football fans they have, and then allocate them between the 120 current Football Bowl Subdivision programs.
The first part of the problem isn’t as easy as you might think, because enthusiasm for college football varies radically across different parts of the country — far more than for other sports.