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The leaves are beginning to change color, the weather is cooling off, and pumpkin flavored everything is now available. Yes, after months of sports boredom, it is finally College football season! The season officially (sorry Montana and North Dakota State) kicks off with a full slate of games Thursday night.
For more than a month sports radio and columnist have been debating the preseason top 25 rankings with the near consensus that Ohio State is the best team in the country. With this being a public policy blog it only makes sense to look to see if any political insights can be drawn from the rankings.
I used the Amway Coaches Poll (I can’t take the media seriously) and took the state each school in the top 25 is located and compared it to the political composition of the state legislature and governor’s office using information from the National Conference of State Legislatures. While it may not be surprising it is noteworthy to see how lopsided the breakdown is.
A whopping 20 (80%) of the top 25 teams are in states governed fully by Republicans (both chambers of the legislature and the governor). Only four teams (16%) reside in democrat states and one team (4%), the University of Missouri is in a split controlled state. It could be even worse for Democrats. If it wasn’t for the state of California (Stanford, UCLA, USC) Democrats would have only one team in the top 25 (Oregon).
Here is the breakdown:
Amway Coaches Poll
1 Ohio State (62)
2 TCU (1)
3 Alabama (1)
6 Michigan State
8 Florida State
11 Notre Dame
15 Ole Miss
16 Arizona State
17 Georgia Tech
24 Boise State
Breakdown by Conference
The SEC has eight teams in the top 25, seven of which are in Republican states with one being is a split party state.
The Pac-12 is the only conference a majority of their top 25 teams (four of six) are in democrat governed states.
The Big 12, Big Ten, and ACC each have three teams in the top 25, all which are in Republican controlled states.
The Mountain West with Boise State and an Independent Notre Dame round out the remaining teams both of which are in Republican run states.
Additionally, if these states were converted to Electoral College votes, a Republican would have 195 while a Democrat would have 62.
I would be remissed not to give my predictions of the second college football playoff.
#1 Ohio State vs #4 Auburn
#2 TCU vs #3 Arizona
#4 Auburn vs #2 TCU