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Which college football teams get the most out of their revenue? Let's look at a chart!

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Making money can translate to a huge advantage for college football teams. Which college programs are the best at making money and winning?

A few weeks ago, we looked at which college football teams have had the most on-field success per dollar spent. Because spending is just one part of a program’s finances, let's also examine how revenue translates to success.

Football revenue figures came from the U.S. Department of Education. On-field results were measured with the Massey Composite, an index that averages dozens of rankings including the AP Poll and computer ratings. Data was unavailable for the service academies, and schools that have been FBS for fewer than 10 seasons were also excluded.

(Alabama had 13 combined losses in 2006 and 2007, so those seasons prevent them from reaching the very tip top of this chart despite the four national titles. The difference between finishing first and fifth in the AP Poll feels like a huge distance and the difference between finishing No. 30 and No. 35 feels minimal, but numerically, they can have the same impact. Because of that, a few forgettable seasons can really alter an average.)

On average, FBS programs this past decade made $23.3 million per year. And the median was $20 million.

But there was a huge range. ULM made just $3.2 million per year on football, while Texas brought in a whopping $92.2 million per year. However, Texas is a ridiculous outlier. The No. 2, Alabama, made $73.1 million per year. That’s still an insane amount of money.

Again, Boise State gets the most out of its money.

On the field, the Broncos have exceeded their revenue ranking by 47.3 spots. Despite making just $13.5 million per year on football, Boise has had various top-10 finishes, multiple Fiesta Bowl victories, and several Power 5 upsets.

Among Power 5 programs, TCU, Stanford, Utah, Missouri, and Baylor stand out. However, Utah and TCU weren’t in a Power 5 conference for a good chunk of this analysis.

Wake Forest, Pitt, Oklahoma, Troy, and Clemson had the smallest discrepancies between their revenue and on-field success, which puts them on the chart’s dotted line.

Colorado got the worst production out of its revenue. Over the past 10 seasons, the Buffaloes made $26.7 million per year, but they have been the worst Power 5 team, with a Massey ranking of 85.9, which is nearly 50 spots below their revenue ranking. (Kansas got a few good years from Mark Mangino, otherwise KU's figures would probably be even more dismal than Colorado’s.)

Texas Tech, Indiana, and Washington were also pretty bad, considering how much money came into their programs.

It’s pretty easy to laugh at Colorado, but take these results with a grain of salt.

I examined football revenue, not athletic department revenue. Many football teams have more resources than their football-related revenue indicates. For example, if a donor gifts your university a multi-sport facility, on paper the revenue gained from that donation might elevate the entire athletic department’s revenue but not the football program’s specifically. I only looked at raw numbers, and I did not attempt to control for how general athletic department revenue might bleed into football resources.

It’s also worth noting that with the huge TV deals major conferences now get, even the shittiest Power 5 teams are guaranteed to bring in a good amount of money. And because Power 5 teams make so much, their revenue rankings are tilted toward exceeding their on-field rankings. On average, Power 5 teams (including Notre Dame) made $35.8 million per year, while non-Power 5 teams made $7.5 million per year.

With that said, this data is the best of what’s publicly available, and it gives you a ballpark estimate of how well teams are performing relative to how much money they make.

For what it’s worth, there was a 0.80 correlation between schools’ on-field rankings and their football-related revenue rankings, which is a pretty strong relationship.

This sortable table shows each team's average Massey ranking, revenue ranking, and the difference between the two. It also includes "profit" rankings, which are simply total football revenues minus total football costs. But because the accounting methods used by many athletic departments are pretty misleading, remain skeptical of anything to do with "profit" in college football.

Team Massey Revenue Profit Revenue difference Profit difference
Akron 103.7 105.5 104 1.8 0.3
Alabama 11.6 4.1 6.5 -7.5 -5.1
Arizona 41.6 47.1 49.9 5.5 8.3
Arizona St 40.5 25.3 31.8 -15.2 -8.7
Arkansas 33.9 14.1 15.4 -19.8 -18.5
Arkansas St 79 110.1 102.2 31.1 23.2
Auburn 29.4 7.1 15.8 -22.3 -13.6
Ball St 81 104.7 102.2 23.7 21.2
Baylor 44 60.9 71 16.9 27
Boise St 20.6 67.9 51.5 47.3 30.9
Boston College 54.5 51.5 65.2 -3 10.7
Bowling Green 77.4 107.5 94.4 30.1 17
Buffalo 96.3 104 101.1 7.7 4.8
BYU 29.1 62.6 56.9 33.5 27.8
Cal 48.5 33.7 39.7 -14.8 -8.8
Central Michigan 77.1 99.3 96.2 22.2 19.1
Cincinnati 37.5 71 79.3 33.5 41.8
Clemson 24.6 23.7 23.7 -0.9 -0.9
Colorado 85.9 36.8 35.9 -49.1 -50
Colorado St 86.9 85.6 96.6 -1.3 9.7
Connecticut 69.5 68.3 95.2 -1.2 25.7
Duke 76.6 60.4 77.2 -16.2 0.6
East Carolina 63.2 79.1 79.5 15.9 16.3
Eastern Michigan 114.2 100.6 81.9 -13.6 -32.3
Florida 20.1 6.2 5.6 -13.9 -14.5
Florida Atlantic 97 100.3 90.2 3.3 -6.8
Florida Int 103.7 85.7 79.5 -18 -24.2
Florida St 21.4 31.9 33.3 10.5 11.9
Fresno St 70 75.7 63 5.7 -7
Georgia 19.5 4.2 2.7 -15.3 -16.8
Georgia Tech 41.2 37.4 36.5 -3.8 -4.7
Hawaii 79.7 85.3 95.4 5.6 15.7
Houston 51.5 88 99.1 36.5 47.6
Idaho 108.6 99.1 78.7 -9.5 -29.9
Illinois 71.4 37.7 31.2 -33.7 -40.2
Indiana 83.4 48.1 42.9 -35.3 -40.5
Iowa 40 16.8 20.4 -23.2 -19.6
Iowa St 78.1 47.2 42 -30.9 -36.1
Kansas 78.2 61.5 71.3 -16.7 -6.9
Kansas St 46.5 42.4 35.8 -4.1 -10.7
Kent St 98.2 108.1 91.8 9.9 -6.4
Kentucky 65 32.1 27.5 -32.9 -37.5
Louisiana Lafayette 87.8 105.1 98.3 17.3 10.5
Louisiana Monroe 97.7 112.4 99.9 14.7 2.2
Louisiana Tech 74.5 106.6 87.4 32.1 12.9
Louisville 44.7 48.2 48.5 3.5 3.8
LSU 11.7 7.6 6.2 -4.1 -5.5
Marshall 74.5 83.1 71.9 8.6 -2.6
Maryland 65.7 63.1 57.4 -2.6 -8.3
Memphis 90.9 77.2 88.2 -13.7 -2.7
Miami (FL) 44.9 37.2 53.7 -7.7 8.8
Miami (OH) 105.8 93.6 91.5 -12.2 -14.3
Michigan 38.8 6.2 4.6 -32.6 -34.2
Michigan St 30.3 16.7 16 -13.6 -14.3
Middle Tenn 83 88.3 89.1 5.3 6.1
Minnesota 65.9 33.9 31.3 -32 -34.6
Mississippi St 42.1 53 44.1 10.9 2
Missouri 28.8 45 43.4 16.2 14.6
NC St 61.9 41.5 32.5 -20.4 -29.4
Nebraska 30.3 15.9 14.7 -14.4 -15.6
Nevada 64.4 99.9 89.7 35.5 25.3
New Mexico 96.5 89.6 90.4 -6.9 -6.1
New Mexico St 115.3 100.9 102.9 -14.4 -12.4
North Carolina 49.5 38.9 38.7 -10.6 -10.8
North Texas 107.3 98.9 86.3 -8.4 -21
Northern Illinois 60.1 98.8 99.1 38.7 39
Northwestern 57.3 41 44.5 -16.3 -12.8
Notre Dame 32.8 5.8 6.2 -27 -26.6
Ohio 79.1 91.1 81.6 12 2.5
Ohio St 10.4 7.7 11.7 -2.7 1.3
Oklahoma 11.2 11.9 11.8 0.7 0.6
Oklahoma St 25.1 29.2 26.8 4.1 1.7
Ole Miss 45.1 35.5 27.9 -9.6 -17.2
Oregon 11.3 26.5 27.8 15.2 16.5
Oregon St 44.8 39.2 30.2 -5.6 -14.6
Penn St 33 8.9 9.1 -24.1 -23.9
Pitt 47.3 47.6 56.1 0.3 8.8
Purdue 77.7 51.8 49.6 -25.9 -28.1
Rice 83.4 74 87.2 -9.4 3.8
Rutgers 52.9 54.6 80 1.7 27.1
San Diego St 73.4 75.2 87.6 1.8 14.2
San Jose St 85 102 95.5 17 10.5
SMU 88.4 69.3 88.9 -19.1 0.5
South Carolina 32.8 15.2 14.5 -17.6 -18.3
South Florida 62.2 65.8 62.8 3.6 0.6
Southern Miss 75.8 94.4 88.9 18.6 13.1
Stanford 30.9 50.8 62.6 19.9 31.7
Syracuse 77 43.9 59.7 -33.1 -17.3
TCU 22.5 45.3 74.5 22.8 52
Temple 80.2 71.9 84.6 -8.3 4.4
Tennessee 42 14 12.3 -28 -29.7
Texas 26.5 1.1 1.2 -25.4 -25.3
Texas A&M 35.2 16.4 14.3 -18.8 -20.9
Texas Tech 75.1 34.8 36.6 -40.3 -38.5
Toledo 73.9 96.3 93.1 22.4 19.2
Troy 105.7 105.3 86 -0.4 -19.7
Tulane 66.9 89 100.7 22.1 33.8
Tulsa 101.1 80.5 95 -20.6 -6.1
UCF 65 73.5 78.7 8.5 13.7
UCLA 43.9 35.3 42.3 -8.6 -1.6
UNLV 102.6 94.7 96.8 -7.9 -5.8
USC 17.5 24.1 32.2 6.6 14.7
Utah 33.5 53.6 44.4 20.1 10.9
Utah St 77.9 106.6 95.5 28.7 17.6
UTEP 98.4 75.6 63.5 -22.8 -34.9
Va Tech 28.5 23.9 28.4 -4.6 -0.1
Vanderbilt 67.1 52.5 57.2 -14.6 -9.9
Virginia 68.9 51.5 66.7 -17.4 -2.2
Wake Forest 67.5 67.6 81.1 0.1 13.6
Washington 51.5 17 17.3 -34.5 -34.2
Washington St 76.3 61.1 50.1 -15.2 -26.2
West Virginia 31 42.3 41.2 11.3 10.2
Western Michigan 80.8 100.8 91.2 20 10.4
Wisconsin 21.4 19.1 22.9 -2.3 1.5
Wyoming 90.3 82.2 64.5 -8.1 -25.8

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