Pay Dirt for LSU

AP, Coaches, Forbes have the Tigers among the best in the nation for performance, team value
associated press
LSU is ranked No. 6 in the nation in the AP and Coaches polls and No. 9 in Forbes’ most valuable teams rankings.


I owe the LSU Tigers and their head coach Ed Orgeron an apology.

Four weeks ago in this space, I questioned their readiness for the current season. Coming into the season, they were ranked No. 25 in the preseason Associated Press Poll and No. 24 in the Coaches’ Poll in the nation. I thought they were overrated. I thought they landed the ranking based on past success. I thought the team was undisciplined. I thought the team was dividing along racial lines. I was wrong, and they proved it.

The Tigers opened the season against the University of Miami, ranked No. 8 in both polls, and gave the Hurricanes a 33-17 beat down on national television. That win bumped the Tigers up to No. 11 in the AP Poll and No. 15 in the Coaches’ Poll. An “unimpressive” 31-0 win over Southeastern Louisiana knocked the Tigers to down a notch in the AP to No. 12, but the coaches raised them up two to No. 13 before their game against Auburn, ranked No. 7 in both polls. LSU played great early, slumped in the middle, and picked it up at the end to get a game-winning field goal and a 22-21 victory.

LSU is 3-0 headed into their fourth game of the season, appear to be one of the better teams in the country, and are ranked No. 6 in both polls.

I thought they would be 1-2, and that the Tiger faithful would have demanded Orgeron be gone. As the sports cliché goes, “you win some, you lose some.”

As the 2018 Tigers were getting it done on the field, Forbes released their first ranking of college football's most valuable teams since 2015. The financial magazine ranked LSU at No. 9, with $112 million in revenue and $56 million in income. The figures are averages for the 2016, 2015, and 2014 seasons, the three most recent years for which data is available, based on annual financial filings made to the NCAA and Dept. of Education.

LSU was one of 10 Southeastern Conference (SEC) member schools included in the rankings, including No. 1 Texas A&M ($148, $107), No. 4 Alabama ($127, $59), No. 8 Auburn ($112, $61), No. 10 Florida ($111, $67), No. 11 Tennessee ($108, $60), No. 13 Arkansas ($92, $54), No. 15 South Carolina ($90, $50), No. 16 Georgia ($89, $55), and No. 21 Ole Miss ($80, $42). Only four SEC schools did not make the list, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Missouri, and Vanderbilt.

No conference had more members listed in the Top 25 than the SEC, whose schools have won nine of the last 12 national championships in football. The Big 10 came in second with seven member schools included. The Big 12 and Pac-12 each had three.

Texas A&M was a surprise at the top of the list, moving past in-state archrival No. 2 Texas ($133, $87). With a capital campaign targeted at expanding the team’s stadium capacity to the third largest in college football and building new facilities for its softball and track and field programs, the Aggies received $260 million in contributions from 2014 through 2016, almost double any other school in the same period. A&M directed $119 million of that total to the football team. The Aggies ranked third in ticket revenue, averaging nearly $41 million annually, and sixth in money from royalties and licensing, according to Forbes.

Each SEC school received $41 million in the conference’s most recent revenue distribution from royalties from the ESPN-affiliated SEC Network and bowl game winnings.

The list is based on average annual revenue, rounded to the nearest million. Ties in revenue were broken using average profits, and any ties in both areas were broken by using single-season revenue for the 2016-17 fiscal year.

Notre Dame, which does not have a conference affiliation in football, ranked seventh with team revenues of $112 million. The Fighting Irish’s games are broadcast nationally by NBC, which reportedly pays the school $15 million annually to televise its home games.

The 25 most valuable college football teams generate a combined $2.5 billion per year in revenue, and clear more than $1.4 billion annually after expenses, according to Forbes.


Purple, Gold, & Green

Forbes magazine’s 2018 ranking of the Top 25 most valuable college football teams. All figures in millions based on averages for 2016, 2015 and 2014 seasons.

Rank Team Conference Revenue Profit
1 Texas A&M Aggies SEC $148 $107
2 Texas Longhorns Big 12 $133 $87
3 Michigan Wolverines  Big 10 $127 $75
4 Alabama Crimson Tide SEC $127 $59
5 Ohio State Buckeyes Big 10 $120 $69
6 Oklahoma Sooners Big 12 $118 $72
7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish None $112 $72
8 Auburn Tigers SEC $112 $61
9 LSU Tigers SEC $112 $56
10 Florida Gators SEC $111 $67
11 Tennessee Volunteers SEC $108 $60
12 Oregon Ducks Pac-12 $92 $54
13 Arkansas Razorbacks  SEC $92 $54
14 Penn State Nittany Lions Big 10 $92 $48
15 South Carolina Gamecocks SEC $90 $50
16 Georgia Bulldogs SEC $89 $55
17 Florida State Seminoles ACC $88 $41
18 USC Trojans  Pac-12 $87 $47
19 Washington Huskies Pac-12 $84 $36
20 Nebraska Cornhuskers Big 10 $83 $46
21 Ole Miss Rebels SEC $80 $42
22 Michigan State Spartans Big 10 $80 $39
23 Iowa Hawkeyes Big 10 $79 $38
24 Wisconsin Badgers Big 10 $78 $43
25 Texas Tech Red Raiders Big 12 $60 $31


Categories: The Pennant Chase