Forbes.com has come out with its annual list of the 20 most valuable college football teams. I'm always fascinated by this list because it analyzes programs as total brands, not just by wins and losses on the field.
The Forbes' ranking formula "is based on what the football program contributes to four important beneficiaries, in order of weight: (1) their university (money generated by football that goes to the institution for academic purposes, including scholarship payments for football players); (2) athletic department (the net profit generated by the football program retained by the department); (3) conference (the distribution of bowl game revenue); (4) and local communities (estimated incremental spending by visitors to the county that's attributable to the program). In order to accurately make comparisons, we standardized the revenue and expense streams for each team, since the methods of reporting to the Department of Education are often inconsistent from school to school."
Texas is the country's most valuable program, followed by Notre Dame.
OK, OK, so where do Big Ten programs rank?
Penn State headlines the Big Ten contingent and ranks as the nation's No. 3 most valuable team. According to Forbes, Penn State's team value is $99 million, and the program makes a profit of $50 million. Penn State moves up 10 spots from its previous Forbes ranking.
Ohio State comes in at No. 8 with a value of $85 million and a profit of $36 million. Ohio State previously ranked 10th.
Michigan slips to No. 11 in the rankings, down from No. 4 last year. U-M's team value is $81 million, and the team made a $34 million profit.
Michigan State comes in at No. 16, with a value of $57 million and a profit of $28 million.
Wisconsin rounds out the Big Ten group at No. 19, with a value of $48 million and a profit of $17 million.
With five teams in the top 20, the Big Ten remains arguably the most valuable league in the country.