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Bowling Green, Northern Illinois tops in spending/success ratio

Does spending a lot of money equate to success? Not necessarily.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

SB Nation College Football put up a lovely-looking chart a couple days ago that compared every FBS football program over the last ten years to their football success on the field, using numbers from the U.S. Department of Education, combined with a composite of popular ranking polls to determine the results for each team.

To determine these rankings, SB Nation compiled the numbers from the Department of Education, converted those into rankings, then averaged the rankings. They compared those rankings to the Massey Polls average rating of each team over the last ten years, and then totaled together the numbers to create a sum.

Bowling Green and Northern Illinois, predictably, were on top of the list for spending/success ratio. NIU has gained national attention for nearly the last decade, as they have made six straight trips to the MAC Championship game, and even participated in a BCS bowl in 2013. BGSU, meanwhile, has been a very consistent program, keeping--then changing-- pace in the MAC East.

BGSU and NIU were also in the top 10 in the country in the statistic, out of all eligible schools, coming in at 6th and 7th, respectively.

There are some big surprises for the MAC, with Ball State coming in third in the MAC, and 12th overall in the country, and Eastern Michigan not finishing last in spending/success ratio. Miami has that dubious honor.

These tables are sortable, so you can look at the numbers as you like. (UMass had no data, as they have not been FBS for a minimum 10 years.)

MAC School Financial Spending Ranking Averages Football Success by Massey Ranking Average Total Difference Between Averages
BGSU 109.1 77.4 31.9
NIU 94.4 60.1 30.3
Ball State 101.9 81 20.9
Central Michigan 97.7 77.1 20.6
Toledo 94.4 73.9 20.5
Western Michigan 99.1 80.8 18.3
Ohio 91.1 79.1 13
Kent State 110 98.2 11.8
Buffalo 101.6 96.3 5
Akron 100.8 103.7 -2.9
Eastern Michigan 104.9 114.9 -9.3
Miami 93.8 105.8 -12

  • BGSU and NIU aren't the only teams that can compete with national powers in the ratio side. Ball State (14,) Central Michigan (16), Toledo (17), and Western Michigan (20) are top 25 in that statistic.

You can search for your school's exact total expenses using this nifty data collection site courtesy of the U.S. Department of Education.


Correction (Updated April 4th at 9:12 p.m.:) The columns for the table for success and spending were flipped around, resulting in numbers that could be seen as misleading. Hustle Belt has fixed the mistake, and the author of the piece regrets the error.