Brains Vs. Wins in College Football, How Does YOUR Team Stack Up? [Infographic]

Click the infographic below for a larger view.

Every fall college football captures nationwide attention, but what escapes our attention is what happens to the players when the season is over. Many of the powerhouse football schools are doing a pathetic job of graduating their players. So is your favorite team well-rounded or one-dimensional? Are they student athletes or tackling dummies? Feel free to use this data to razz your rivals and promote your program… unless you cheer for Washington State or Maryland. Then you’re in no position to trash talk, unfortunately.

And the 2010 BCS Student Athlete Champion is:

Congrats Penn State Nittany Lions!

A few notes about the data:

  1. Of all the schools listed above, Penn State comes out as the overall winner with a combined student athlete score of 170%. Alabama and Cincinnati are close behind at 167%.
  2. We’ve only included the 6 largest conferences due to space constraints. If there is a demand, we will revise to include other conferences.
  3. The graduation rates are the NCAA’s “Graduation Success Rates”, which reflect the percentage of athletes who graduated within 6 years after starting college. The GSR doesn’t count outgoing transfer students, so losing players doesn’t hurt a schools rate.
  4. Win rates are calculated from the entire season record, not just conference games.
  5. For comparison, the NCHEMS lists the average U.S. graduation rates for ALL students at 55.9%
  6. Thanks to the Stanford Scout, ESPN and the NCAA for the data. Long live college football.
  7. Coaches, want to learn a better way to manage your team? Check out our sport management degrees!


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  5. Jen Dec 20, 2010 at 8:49 am

    That was a dreadful match last night, what the hell happened to the New york giants D? Congrats to Vick but seriously, the Giants dropped that more than the Eagles won it

  6. Paixekeh Dec 19, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Maybe I`ll be Captain Obvious, but… it’s only few days to New Year last, so let’s be happy!

  7. Mr. pikavippi Dec 6, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    I be enduring be familiar with a insufficient of the articles on your website in the present circumstances, and I really like your fashionableness of blogging. I added it to my favorites web age muster and last will and testament be checking promote soon. Cheer report register into public notice my site as highly and vindicate me conscious what you think. Thanks.

  8. Michelle Oct 19, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    This is a no-brainer. Of course it would be Penn State.

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  11. John M Oct 8, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Thanks for including only BCS conferences… You suck.

  12. Brian Oct 8, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Awesome graphic! All of the most competitive schools, football wise, are known to recruit based on academic scores while maintaining a high minimum GPA (2.0) to play football still. Really makes you think…

  13. Stan Oct 8, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Probably true that this would be more meaningful with a multi-year comparison vice only one. Several schools (NW, PSU, BC, Vandy, Duke, Stanford, etc.) are consistently tops in graduation rates, but not always winning percentage. Still interesting regardless.

    Ryan, what planet are you from to think football is a dying sport?

  14. Ryan Oct 8, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    football is a dying sport, or should i say passing trend? ergo this info graphic is irrelevant. plus, i haven’t even seen remember the titans.

  15. TJ Oct 8, 2010 at 11:35 am

    What about Mountain West Conference? Forget about ACC for Football.

  16. Mike Oct 8, 2010 at 10:41 am

    LMAO Samantha

  17. JoePa Oct 8, 2010 at 10:40 am


    Don’t LSU and Iowa count as ranked teams that PSU played in 2009? That’s just final rankings too. Many of the teams PSU played were ranked when they played. PSU beating them drops their ranking.

  18. Samantha Oct 8, 2010 at 10:27 am

    You went to Washington State, didn’t you John?

  19. John Oct 8, 2010 at 10:17 am

    What a stupid comparison – grad rates and winning season are totally useless comparisons at the surface level. What’s the point even of looking at grad rates if no view of major is given – graduating 90% of PE majors tells you nothing about brains.

  20. Joseph Oct 8, 2010 at 10:01 am

    Daniel, you’re right. This is just the 2009 season. To be more fair we should probably average several seasons together… and we may do that with a revised graphic.

    As far as Notre Dame goes, they were not included because we only included the biggest 6 conferences. But I can tell you, their grad rate for the same period was 96% and their record last season was 6-6 (50% win rate). So their combined score would be 146%… far below Penn State.

  21. Daniel Oct 8, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Where’s Notre Dame – A history of great academics and (history) of winning.

    Also, this is not that accurate, for other reasons:
    1. The way I read this, it only takes one season into account.
    2. There is no weight on schedule – in 2009 Penn State played 1 ranked team (Ohio State)

  22. Joseph Oct 8, 2010 at 9:19 am

    Great catch jack. Looks like I’m the meathead now! It’s fixed.

  23. jack Oct 8, 2010 at 8:42 am

    big fat FAIL on listing both UNC and NC State as ‘North Carolina’ in the ACC.

    Great job.

  24. kevin Oct 8, 2010 at 8:29 am

    graduation rates do not have anything to do with how difficult a school is. graduating from duke and graduating from alabama is completely different.

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