In October, I wrote about the disconnect between the Big Ten's record revenues and the league's struggles to win at the highest levels of college football. As the Big Ten's national title drought reaches 11 seasons, there's another reminder of how conference programs continue to boost their values.
The Wall Street Journal has published a list of the most 50 valuable college football programs, according to research from a professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus. Ryan Brewer assessed values based on "revenues and expenses and made cash-flow adjustments and risk assessments and growth projections."
Not surprisingly, Texas tops the chart with a value of $875 million, followed by Notre Dame at $811.5 million. Michigan comes next and leads off the Big Ten contingent at $685.5 million. Although Michigan has had a rather forgettable decade on the field, particularly since 2008, it consistently finds ways to make money. Athletic director Dave Brandon has successfully transitioned his success in the business world to Michigan's athletic department.
Ohio State is fourth in value at $674.8 million. Four other teams are in the top 15: No. 11 Iowa ($479.1 million), No. 12 Nebraska ($432.5 million), No. 13 Wisconsin ($406.4 million) and No. 14 Penn State ($377.6 million).
Here's where the rest of the Big Ten comes in:
No. 29: Michigan State, $212.9 million
No. 36: Minnesota, $179.7 million
No. 40: Northwestern, $154.5 million
No. 46: Indiana, $125.8 million
No. 48: Purdue, $114.6 million
Illinois is the only Big Ten program not to appear in the top 50. Future members Rutgers and Maryland aren't there, either (they came in at Nos. 61 and 62 last year, respectively).
The chart reaffirms the gulf that exists between the bigger programs and smaller programs, even within certain leagues.