Most valuable and on-brand Big Ten programs according to FiveThirtyEight

·5 min read

In case you haven’t heard, the Big Ten is in the expansion business. Nobody will confuse the efforts with McDonald’s or Starbucks, but the conference has already announced the additions of USC and UCLA, and commissioner Kevin Warren is on record saying he’s not opposed to adding more teams.

But what about the current teams already in the Big Ten? Which programs are the most “Big Ten” branded when looking at things like fit, market, and academics including future members USC and UCLA? It’s all opinion based of course, but Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight set out to rank the conference teams based on how “Big Ten” they are using those same metrics that only FiveThirtyEight can do.

Said another way, it’s a good exercise that has some interesting intrigue as a baseline for expansion and how valuable each program is to the Big Ten currently.

Here’s how it all breaks down from No. 14 down to what team is the most valuable as far as the most “Big Ten” branded school currently.

Rutgers

March 6, 2022; Piscataway, New Jersey; The Rutgers Scarlet Knights mascot performs during the second half of the game between the Scarlet Knights and the Penn State Nittany Lions at Jersey Mike’s Arena. Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

What the FiveThirtyEight Data Says

Sports Score

“Fit” Score

Market Score

Total Composite Score

8

79

38

42

Northwestern

March 1, 2018; New York, New York; The Northwestern Wildcats mascot dances during a time-out against the Penn State Nittany Lions in the second half of a second-round game of the 2018 Big Ten Tournament at Madison Square Garden. Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

What the FiveThirtyEight Data Says

Sports Score

“Fit” Score

Market Score

Total Composite Score

30

72

31

44

Purdue

The Purdue mascot waves to the Stead Family Children’s Hospital at the conclusion of the first quarter against Iowa on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. USA TODAY Sports Network

What the FiveThirtyEight Data Says

Sports Score

“Fit” Score

Market Score

Total Composite Score

30

86

38

51

Maryland

Ohio State has never lost to these 49 FBS teams it has a history with
Ohio State has never lost to these 49 FBS teams it has a history with

Sept. 30, 2017; Minneapolis, Minnesota; A general view of Maryland Terrapins helmets during pre-game before a game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at TCF Bank Stadium. Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

What the FiveThirtyEight Data Says

Sports Score

“Fit” Score

Market Score

Total Composite Score

46

75

42

54

Indiana

Oct. 24, 2020; Bloomington, Indiana, USA; Indiana Hoosiers raise their helmets after the game at Memorial Stadium. The Indiana Hoosiers defeated the Penn State Nittany Lions 36 to 35. Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

What the FiveThirtyEight Data Says

Sports Score

“Fit” Score

Market Score

Total Composite Score

36

89

43

56

Illinois

Dec. 30, 2019; Santa Clara, California; General view of the Illinois Fighting Illini helmet during the second quarter against California Golden Bears at Levi’s Stadium. Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

What the FiveThirtyEight Data Says

Sports Score

“Fit” Score

Market Score

Total Composite Score

33

94

41

56

Nebraska

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

What the FiveThirtyEight Data Says

Sports Score

“Fit” Score

Market Score

Total Composite Score

55

53

64

57

Minnesota

LOOK: Minnesota to wear alternate uniforms for game vs. Ohio State
LOOK: Minnesota to wear alternate uniforms for game vs. Ohio State

Sept. 8, 2018; Minneapolis; Minnesota Golden Gophers mascot Goldy pumps up the crowd right before kickoff against Fresno State Bulldogs at TCF Bank Stadium. Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

What the FiveThirtyEight Data Says

Sports Score

“Fit” Score

Market Score

Total Composite Score

42

91

49

61

Iowa

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

What the FiveThirtyEight Data Says

Sports Score

“Fit” Score

Market Score

Total Composite Score

60

80

57

66

UCLA (future member in 2024)

Sept. 25, 2014; Tempe, Arizona; Detailed view of UCLA Bruins helmets on the sidelines against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

What the FiveThirtyEight Data Says

Sports Score

“Fit” Score

Market Score

Total Composite Score

76

81

51

69

Michigan State

Michigan State mascot Sparty takes the field before the Youngstown State game at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. USA TODAY Sports Network

What the FiveThirtyEight Data Says

Sports Score

“Fit” Score

Market Score

Total Composite Score

67

82

66

72

USC (future member in 2024)

Sept. 7, 2019; Los Angeles, California; Southern California Trojans white horse mascot Traveller during the game against the Stanford Cardinal at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. USC defeated Stanford 45-20. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

What the FiveThirtyEight Data Says

Sports Score

“Fit” Score

Market Score

Total Composite Score

78

73

74

75

Wisconsin

Bucky Badger does 65 pushups in front of the crowd during the University of Wisconsin’s 68-17 win over Bowling Green at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin, Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. Rick Wood / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

What the FiveThirtyEight Data Says

Sports Score

“Fit” Score

Market Score

Total Composite Score

67

92

73

77

Penn State

Dec. 28, 2019; Arlington, Texas; 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. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

What the FiveThirtyEight Data Says

Sports Score

“Fit” Score

Market Score

Total Composite Score

67

87

93

82

Michigan

Michigan is treating the Ohio State game differently. Will it matter?
Michigan is treating the Ohio State game differently. Will it matter?

Nov. 21, 2020; Piscataway, New Jersey; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh talks with his team before the overtime against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at SHI Stadium. Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

What the FiveThirtyEight Data Says

Sports Score

“Fit” Score

Market Score

Total Composite Score

81

95

90

89

Ohio State

Ohio State football recruiting commitments ranked by state since 2000
Ohio State football recruiting commitments ranked by state since 2000

Jan. 1, 2015; New Orleans, Louisiana; 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. Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

What the FiveThirtyEight Data Says

Sports Score

“Fit” Score

Market Score

Total Composite Score

86

94

98

93

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Story originally appeared on Buckeye Wire