Here are two altogether unsurprising statements. The biggest football programs usually spend a whole lot of money. And those programs tend to win a lot, too.
That's not exactly, uh, rocket surgery. Yet just how closely winning and spending correlate in the Big Ten may interest you. With Michigan State poised to devote another $4 million to its football program, the Lansing State Journal's Graham Couch took a look this weekend at how money can lead to victories in college football and the Big Ten in particular.
Couch found that the top four Big Ten programs by conference winning percentage from the past 20 years also spent the most money -- and they ranked in exact order of their 2011-12 reported revenues. Those programs are Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Wisconsin; each of whom spent more than $100 million in 2011-12.
Iowa is No. 5 and Michigan State No. 6, both in terms of league winning percentage and revenue. (Nebraska is also among the top spenders but has only been in the Big Ten for two years. Still, as the chart with the story shows, the Huskers rank right up there on the spending/winning axis).
Couch writes that all that money goes toward "facilities, coaching retention, tradition and perception." But, of course, money alone doesn't tell the whole tale, or else Texas would never lose a game and Boise State would never win a BCS bowl.
"We did not lose five games last year because someone had another weight room or meeting room or locker room than we did," Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio says in the story. "We lost them at the end of the game because we didn’t find the inches. And that was execution, play-calling, coaching, whatever you want to call it. It had nothing to do with facilities.”
Then again, the Spartans have had to increase their salary pool to keep talented assistants like defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, and they are adding more money toward the sport in an effort to keep up with the big boys. As the data shows, you usually have to spend money to create wins in college football.