Thursday, October 19, 2006

Putting Your Teams on the Map

There's not much to cheer for if you live west of Lincoln, Norman or Austin. This map, provided by Map Game Day, shows locations of the teams in the first Bowl Championship Series standings. The next time somebody talks to you about a bias toward West Coast teams, explain to them that there is no bias. The reality is that power base in college football currently resides in the Eastern half of the country. Map Game Day also offers an AP map, a Sagarin map and a BlogPoll map. Or once one of the maps is loaded, you can flip through the other selections by selecting the check boxes on the left.


RacketMan said...

I think comparing regions isn't particularly sensible; comparing conferences is a better way to guage "bias." The Pac-10 is getting decent recognition compared to other BCS conferences.

Most of the "east coast bias," in my opinion, comes from the vastly greater number of big-time teams and conferences in the east. Of COURSE the west coast doesn't get the same number of teams in the rankings/amount of media coverage as the east coast... that would mean basically mean the Pac-10 getting the same coverage/credit as the ACC, Big 10, Big East, and SEC combined! (I'm excluding the Big XII here, because they seem to somehow get included in East Coast Bias, and that's just silly.)

Admittedly, there's a huge swath of blank space on the map between Boise and Norman, but the MWC is not major-conference quality; not this year.

mfdoom said...

id actually say that the central (such as ohio, mich, basically big 10 country) and the southern states are where its at. when i think east coast, i dont think football.

Displaced Trojan said...

I'm not sure I understand the distinction you're trying to make. Aren't conferences defined by regions? Why not look at population density, which would also be basically the same thing? As you point out, there is one major conference in the west, one in the midwest, and four in the southeast/southwest. Common sense says the west gets less coverage.

However, besides simple regional media biases, time zones have significant impact on the perpetuation of the east coast bias. "National" newspapers like the NY Times have for years neglected to fully cover west coast games, which end long after the paper's deadline. Even real time outlets have a tough time spreading the word nationally when games on the Pacific are covered only on the 2:00 am ET SportsCenter.

To mfdoom's point, there is in fact more (read better) Division I football in the West than in the northeast, which partially explains the Domer "subway alumni" in and around New York City. New Yorkers have no team to follow (stop with the Rutgers thing, already), so they latch on to a winner in the Midwest.

As for the south, there are simply more teams, as well as a local culture stretching from Texas through Florida that makes football a community priority. Because of this, they make a lot of noise down there, and being in the eastern and central time zones, the media center in New York is awake to listen.