There's no trophy for this honor, but that's OK: The money is enough. Ohio State has emerged as the most valuable college football program in the country, and it's not even close, according to a recent study.
According to a finance professor at Indiana University-Purdue University, the Buckeyes football program is worth more than $1.1 billion -- by far the best valuation for any college football program. The next best is Michigan, with a valuation just shy of $1 billion.
In third place was Texas, which had topped the professor's list of valuations from last year. Texas' monetary valuation increased by almost $100 from last year's figures, but huge gains in revenue for both Ohio State and Michigan propelled those programs ahead of the Longhorns, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The inflation of sports franchise valuations, spurred on by the last year's sale of the Los Angeles Clippers for a record $2 billion, also inflated figures for college football programs. Last year's rankings featured no teams worth more than $900 million; this year, four programs topped that mark.
There can be a lot of disparity among those figures, too. While Nebraska and Penn State joined Ohio State and Michigan in placing four Big Ten programs in the top 11 valuations nationwide, fellow Big Ten institution Rutgers ranked a measly 67th out of 116 programs, with an intrinsic value of just $62.7 million.
Texas' fall from the top, though -- despite major gains in value -- highlight how volatile the rankings can be. The intrinsic value for each program was reached by analyzing revenues against expenses along with observed risks and growth projections.
At the bottom of the list was Louisiana-Monroe, with a valuation of just $6.4 million.
If that doesn't make it clear that college football is a big-time industry, nothing else will.