Commentary

Bang for the Buck: College football

Originally Published: January 28, 2011
By Patrick Hruby | Page 2

Bang for the BuckESPN.com Illustration

All this week, Page 2 looks at the athletic world the way financial analysts look at corporations. Which teams are maximizing their returns? Which clubs are woefully inefficient?

In short, who's getting the biggest -- and smallest -- bang for their bucks?

To answer the above, we're comparing teams by a simple, bottom-line metric: Player payroll dollars spent per regular-season victory. Using the most recent and accurate salary figures available, we're also examining which clubs have been penny-wise and which have been pound-foolish.


Page 2's "Bang for the Buck" payroll analysis series:

Monday: NFL  |  Tuesday: NBA  |  Wednesday: MLB
Thursday: NHL  |  Friday: College football  |  Friday: College basketball



Below, Page 2 concludes its series by looking at the final pre-bowl Top 25 college football teams. We used the most recent athletic department budget information provided by the Department of Education's online Equity in Athletics Data Analysis Cutting Tool to analyze the 2009 season.

Note: Top 25 determined by BCS standings.


The top five


1. Boise State

Expenses
Victories
Cost per win
$6.85 million
13
$527,000

Fun fact: Boise State's $25.1 million total budget for all men's and women's sports is less what 2009 BCS champion Alabama spent on football alone ($31.2 million).


2. Cincinnati

Expenses
Victories
Cost per win
$11.6 million
12
$967,000

Fun fact: Bearcats football team turned a bigger profit ($1.73 million) than the school's traditionally strong basketball team ($1.17 million).


3. Brigham Young

Expenses
Victories
Cost per win
$10.31 million
10
$1.03 million

Fun fact: BYU's football budget was less than Kentucky's basketball budget ($11.57 million).


4. Utah

Expenses
Victories
Cost per win
$9.9 million
9
$1.1 million

Fun fact: Utes' budget is lower than all but one school (Washington State) in the Pac-10, the league Utah soon will be joining.


5. Georgia Tech

Expenses
Victories
Cost per win
$15.51 million
11
$1.41 million

Fun fact: Georgia Tech spent $1,256 on football per undergraduate student -- more than sports colossus Ohio State ($844).


The bottom five


25. Ohio State

Expenses
Victories
Cost per win
$31.76 million
10
$3.18 million

Fun fact: The Buckeyes' $32.85 million football profit was major reason the school's athletic department was slightly in the black despite $104.93 million in total expenses and a $17.81 million capital debt payment.


24. LSU

Expenses
Victories
Cost per win
$25.57 million
9
$2.84 million

Fun fact: LSU's $43.25 million football profit was bigger than Ohio State's and could have funded the top four teams on this list ... with $4.59 million to spare.


23. USC

Expenses
Victories
Cost per win
$20.82 million
8
$2.6 million

Fun fact: Glamour program turned a smaller football profit ($8.26 million) than Georgia Tech ($9.35 million). ¿Como?


22. Wisconsin

Expenses
Victories
Cost per win
$22.04 million
9
$2.45 million

Fun fact: Badgers turned $10 million-plus profits in both football and men's basketball.


21. Alabama

Expenses
Victories
Cost per win
$31.12 million
13
$2.39 million

Fun fact: Alabama took in a staggering $71.88 million in football revenue; the school's $40.76 million football profit was greater than the reported operating income of 24 NFL teams.


Rest of the Top 25



Other notables


Patrick Hruby is a freelance writer and ESPN.com contributor. Contact him at PatrickHruby.net.


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