I would hold that the percentage of women on campus is far less important than the number of attractive women on campus. It's awfully hard to find more, better looking women than in Baton Rouge although College Station has seen rapid improvement on that front. (Keeping in mind the majority of your readers would agree that most 20 year-old women are attractive, but that we were a bit more selective - or stupid - when we were 20 years-old).
This week, MrSEC.com is attempting to rank the SEC’s football programs from #1 all the way down to #14. For an overview of the series, you can click right here. You will find — among other things — that we have decided to rank each program in four main categories: Recruiting Base, Tradition, Campus Life and Recent History.
Under each of those four umbrella categories are 20 sub-categories. Simply put, we’re grading SEC programs in 20 different areas.
Part 1 of our series — Recruiting Base — can be found here.
Part 2 of the series — Tradition — can be found here.
In this installment, we look into Campus Life. And what exactly does “Campus Life” consist of? Five categories that would all play some role in a recruit’s decision to attend a specific school. Included are things such as fan passion, the makeup of the student body and even the weather. That’s where we’ll start.
Below you will find the average number of sunny days in a year for each SEC campus. The information comes from climate data provided by BestPlaces.net. We will assume that the majority of athletes would prefer to live in a sunny environment. The sunniest spots in the SEC are:
Campus Life: Average Number of Sunny Days
No surprise, Gainesville, Florida is the best spot for a warm and sunny recruiting visit. Starkville, Mississippi actually comes in next with 220 sun-filled days.
Coaches at Missouri and Kentucky — with fewer than 200 sunny days each — have to convince athletes that playing in chillier, gloomier weather isn’t such a bad thing.
Next, we look at the male to female ratio on each SEC campus. Again, we will assume that the majority of football prospects visiting SEC schools are interested in girls. All the better if the days are sunny and those girls dress accordingly. There’s a reason schools assign hostesses to visiting recruits. The table below shows the percentage of female students on each SEC campus:
Campus Life: Percentage of Female Students in Campus Population
The edge in this battle goes to the University of Georgia. According to the numbers provided by CollegeBoard.org, UGA’s student population is 57% female.
On the other end of the spectrum, visitors to Auburn, Tennessee, Mississippi State and Texas A&M are going to look around and see a whole lot of other guys.
Sticking with the demographic makeup of SEC student populations, we now look at the ethnicity of each school. Once again we are left to assume that the majority of college football recruits would prefer to attend a school that enjoys racial diversity. The table below shows the percentage of ethnic students on each SEC campus. Again, the numbers were provided by CollegeBoard.org:
Campus Life: Percentage of Ethnic Students in Campus Population
In 2010, the NCAA’s annual Race and Ethnicity Report stated that black football players outnumbered white football players for the first time. It would stand to reason that black athletes would prefer to attend a college boasting a more racially-diverse student body. If so, that would be good news for Florida and Vanderbilt, the two schools in the SEC with the largest percentage of ethnic students.
Meanwhile, visitors to the universities of Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee and Auburn would likely see the fewest faces of color in the SEC.
Next we turn our attention to fan passion. Using the latest report from Collegiate Licensing Company, below are listed the national rankings for each SEC school in terms of merchandise sold:
Campus Life: Licensed Merchandise Sold (2012-13 National Rankings)
As you can see, Alabama, Kentucky, LSU, Florida and Georgia fans displayed the most brand loyalty over the past year. These numbers rise and fall with on-field (and on-court) team success, but since we are ranking the SEC’s football programs as they stand today, we believe these rankings are useful.
Collegiate Licensing Company only lists the top 75 schools in terms of merchandise and Mississippi State failed to make that listing. For that reason, we’ve assigned State the number 76.
Finally, what better way to judge fan passion than by football attendance? Certainly, some programs have an advantage in this area thanks to their enormous stadiums. Then again, fan passion is why they have larger stadiums in the first place.
Below are the average attendance figures for each SEC football team over the last three years. The data comes from the NCAA’s official attendance numbers. These averages reflect the number of tickets sold rather than actual turnstile attendance figures (which most schools refuse to provide):
Campus Life: Average Football Attendance (2010-2012)
Alabama is at the head of the line in terms of fan support at the moment, and why not? With two BCS championships in the last three seasons and with the SEC’s second-largest stadium, Bama should be leading the way in attendance. Tennessee — despite a serious downturn in on-field success — has still sold enough tickets to rank second in the league in this category.
Vanderbilt — with its tiny, 40,000-seat Dudley Field, brings up the rear.
Up next we provide our final breakdown, this time of Recent History. The most important category in our formula, a whopping eight sub-categories will be tackled in that post.
After that post, we will explain our overall scoring system and unveil the 1-14 rankings of the SEC’s football programs.