College football’s most valuable programs revisited

·7 min read

The college football world is abuzz with the potential of conference realignment once again. With name, image, and likeness hitting the sport, as well as the ability to transfer one time without penalty, and the expansion of the College Football Playoff likely, it’s a time of change. Add that to the fact that television deals are going to hit, and that’s why we’re hearing that Texas and Oklahoma are far down the path of leaving the Big 12 and defecting to the land of sweet tea and grits in the SEC.

It got us thinking about the value of a college football program. What if teams were valued much like they are in professional sports out on the open market?

Lucky for us, the Wall Street Journal (subscription may be required) went through that exercise not too long ago. It seems like the WSJ would be a pretty solid source to start with on that type of thing so we’re going with it. It did so by analyzing “each program’s revenues and expenses along with cash-flow adjustments, risk assessments and growth projections.”

Sounds good to me.

There are surely some nuances that have changed things a little since this was all done in 2019 as of 2018 numbers, and there hasn’t been another evaluation because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’ll still give you an idea of the value of each program. You can keep it all in mind for when mass chaos ensues because of teams positioning themselves for the future.

So here we go. Here are the 20 most valuable college football teams as assessed late in 2019 by the Wall Street Journal.

Michigan State Spartans

Michigan State's new head football coach Mel Tucker is greeted by Sparty on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, at the Capital Region International Airport in Lansing. Credit: USA TODAY Sports

By the Numbers

2018 Value: $354,160,110

Trends

2018 Revenue: $75,674,898 2017 Value: $336,794,000

Washington Huskies

Aug 31, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; The Washington Huskies mascot, Harry the Husky, runs out of the tunnel before the start of a game against the Eastern Washington Eagles at Husky Stadium. Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

By the Numbers

2018 Value: $440,821,919

Trends

2018 Revenue: $102,248,826 2017 Value: $434,313,000

Iowa Hawkeyes

Dec 27, 2019; San Diego, California, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes mascot Herky the Hawk gestures in the first half against the Southern California Trojans during the Holiday Bowl at SDCCU Stadium. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

By the Numbers

2018 Value: $458,973,690

Trends

2018 Revenue: $100,040,046 2017 Value: $483,564,000

South Carolina Gamecocks

Sir Big Spur, the mascot of the University of South Carolina, wears a "Beat Tennessee" sticker before a game at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee on Saturday, October 26, 2019.
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By the Numbers

2018 Value: $460,753,199

Trends

2018 Revenue: $101,297,652 2017 Value: $484,757,000

Arkansas Razorbacks

AUBURN, AL - AUGUST 30: Arkansas Razorbacks mascot Big Red flexes during the game against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan Hare Stadium on August 30, 2014 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

By the Numbers

2018 Value: $462,727,317

Trends

2018 Revenue: $99,599,352 2017 Value: $456,153,000

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Dec 30, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; The Nebraska Cornhuskers mascot and cheerleaders perform during a pep rally prior to the game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Nissan Stadium. Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

By the Numbers

2018 Value: $471,585,561

Trends

2018 Revenue: $93,990,274 2017 Value: $507,679,000

Wisconsin Badgers

Bucky Badger does 65 pushups in front of the crowd during the University of Wisconsin 68-17 football game win over Bowling Green at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin, Saturday, September 20, 2014. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel photo by Rick Wood/RWOOD@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM

By the Numbers

2018 Value: $474,552,451

Trends

2018 Revenue: $88,713,614 2017 Value: $439,379,000

Penn State Nittany Lions

Dec 28, 2019; Arlington, Texas, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions defensive end Shane Simmons (34) and linebacker Cam Brown (6) and the mascot celebrate after the game against the Memphis Tigers at AT&T Stadium. Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

By the Numbers

2018 Value: $518,754,453

Trends

2018 Revenue: $103,736,242 2017 Value: $549,497,000

Texas A&M Aggies

Sep 8, 2018; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies mascot Reveille runs on to the field before the game between the Texas A&M Aggies and the Clemson Tigers at Kyle Field. Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

By the Numbers

2018 Value: $540,883,003

Trends

2018 Revenue: $101,114,415 2017 Value: $522,863,000

Florida Gators

Sep 28, 2019; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators mascot, Albert, cheers with fans during the second half against the Towson Tigers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

By the Numbers

2018 Value: $634,885,946

Trends

2018 Revenue: $117,963,328 2017 Value: $682,031,000

Tennessee Volunteers

Dec 5, 2020; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Volunteers mascot Smokey during the second half against the Florida Gators at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

By the Numbers

2018 Value: $727,849,384

Trends

2018 Revenue: $113,766,836 2017 Value: $745,640,000

LSU Tigers

Jan 18, 2020; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers mascot Mike the Tiger points at the National Championship trophy during the LSU championship trophy presentation at Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

By the Numbers

2018 Value: $727,849,384

Trends

2018 Revenue: $113,766,836 2017 Value: $745,640,000

Auburn Tigers

Aug 31, 2019; Arlington, TX, USA; Auburn Tigers mascot Aubie the Tiger celebrates with cheerleaders after the victory against the Oregon Ducks at AT&T Stadium. Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

By the Numbers

2018 Value: $871,907,615

Trends

2018 Revenue: $128,960,499 2017 Value: $724,191,000

Oklahoma Sooners

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - DECEMBER 28: Oklahoma Sooners animal mascots Boomer and Sooner pulling Sooner Schooner Conestoga wagon on the field before the game against the LSU Tigers in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 28, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

By the Numbers

2018 Value: $885,558,053

Trends

2018 Revenue: $126,416,865 2017 Value: $1,001,967,000

Georgia Bulldogs

Nov 15, 2014; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia mascot UGA IX is shown on the field during their win over the Auburn Tigers at Sanford Stadium. Georgia won 34-7. Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

By the Numbers

2018 Value: $891,099,506

Trends

2018 Revenue: $138,088,467 2017 Value: $822,310,000

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Dec 28, 2019; Orlando, Florida, USA; The Notre Dame Fighting Irish mascot celebrates the field goal against the Iowa State Cyclones during the first half at Camping World Stadium. Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

By the Numbers

2018 Value: $913,401,562

Trends

2018 Revenue: $118,740,294 2017 Value: $856,938,000

Michigan Wolverines

Michigan senior DB Hunter Reynolds signs Justin Fields' petition
Michigan senior DB Hunter Reynolds signs Justin Fields' petition

Nov 18, 2017; Madison, WI, USA; An Michigan Wolverines helmet during the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

By the Numbers

2018 Value: $924,625,003

Trends

2018 Revenue: $133,665,548 2017 Value: $892,951,000

Alabama Crimson Tide

Jan 1, 2020; Orlando, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide mascot Big Al entertains the fans before the game against the Michigan Wolverines at Camping World Stadium. Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

By the Numbers

2018 Value: $1,009,903,620

Trends

2018 Revenue: $140,831,439 2017 Value: $930,001,000

Ohio State Buckeyes

Ohio State vs. Alabama national championship tickets costly, expensive
Ohio State vs. Alabama national championship tickets costly, expensive

Jan 1, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes cheerleaders and mascot Brutus Buckeye lead the team onto the field prior to the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2015 Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

By the Numbers

2018 Value: $1,048,166,317

Trends

2018 Revenue: $136,574,384 2017 Value: $1,510,482,000

Texas Longhorns

Ohio State now has 3 of top 15 Texas football prospects for 2022
Ohio State now has 3 of top 15 Texas football prospects for 2022

Sep 21, 2019; Austin, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns fan poses with University of Texas logo on Bevo Boulevard before the game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

By the Numbers

2018 Value: $1,105,493,378

Trends

2018 Revenue: $163,928,296 2017 Value: $1,243,124,000 [listicle id=54382] Contact/Follow us @BuckeyesWire on Twitter, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Ohio State news, notes and opinion.

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