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Layman's Guide to Colorado State

Want to talk Big XII expansion, but not an expert on the schools involved? Use this guide to brush up on some of the facts for Colorado State.

Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Another year, another round of Big XII expansion excitement. Twitter users everywhere are quoting their 'intimate sources' deep within the Big XII territory to confirm their rooting interests. Facts and data have given way to opinions and hunches. In an environment like this, it is always good to have some good-ole fashioned numbers to fall back on. The purpose of this guide is to help provide an unbiased look at Colorado State based purely on data. You can use them to diminish or strengthen Colorado State's argument, or just use them to propagate rational conversation. Obviously, some facts are more pertinent than others, but I will leave that up to your determination.

If you like this guide but want more in-depth analysis, you can read our piece on Colorado State's Big XII resume from last year. Keep in mind that a lot has happened in a year, and that analysis may be out-dated in areas. Also worth a read is the brochure Colorado State has been supposedly floating around to Big XII executives. SB Nation acquired a copy of the brochure that you can find here.

Fan Base:

Chart Commentary:

  • The average attendance is pulled straight from the NCAA database and stadium capacity here.
  • The stadium capacity for Colorado State is for Hughes Stadium. The capacity of the new on-campus stadium opening in 2017 will be 41,000.
  • USF shares Raymond James Stadium with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

On a linear trend, attendance has climbed since ex-coach Jim McElwain's first season, but fell in 2015 after a ten-year-high of 26,575 the season before. Season ticket sales for the last season at Hughes Stadium are already 1,500 higher than 2015's 5-year high.

TV Market:

To create a more consistent comparison among candidates, I used the TV market of the metropolitan area closest to each school's campus. It is worth noting that CSU's campus is the furthest from that metro area at ~50 miles.

Another factor often mentioned in the Big XII debate is the alumni population in the candidates' respective states. The chart below shows alumni figures for several of the potential states according to each school's Alumni Association.

School Colorado Florida Ohio Tennessee
Baylor - - - -
Iowa State 6,290 4,041 2,580 1,274
Kansas 11,303 6,130 2,418 1,756
Kansas State 8,230 3,452 1,629 1,235
Oklahoma - - - -
Oklahoma State 251-1,000 251-1,000 101-250 101-250
TCU - - - -
Texas 5,000-9,999 5,000-9,999 2,000-2,999 2,000-2,999
Texas Tech - - - -
West Virginia 1,045 5,514 6,418 1,389

Coloradoan reporter Matt Stephens also had this breakdown for just Denver Metro.

Academic Standing:
School US News Rank Forbes Rank 2014 Endowment Size 2012 Research Spending University Hospital
BYU 62 79 $1B $34M No
Cincinnati 129 391 $1.2B $434M Yes
Colorado State 121 310 $284M $376M No
Houston 189 389 $790M $116M No
Memphis 200+ 609 $201M $51M No
Texas 53 76 $25B $622M No
UCF 173 405 $155M $122M No
West Virginia 168 443 $534M $164M Yes
School Graduate Enrollment % of Total Enrollment
Colorado State 7,756 24.7%
BYU 3,321 10.9%
UCF 8,096 13.3%
USF 10,871 25.9%
Houston 7,877 19.2%
Boise State 2,894 13.0%
Memphis 3,986 18.9%
Cincinnati 11.013 31.1%
UCONN 8,146 30.7%

The academic rankings must be taken with a grain of salt, as the criteria used to make these rankings are numerous and do not necessarily encompass everything that goes into making one school 'better' than another.

If you have yet to see the brochure SB Nation acquired that was sent from Colorado State to Big XII members, make sure you do so. It includes much more in depth information collected by the CSU brass. One item I will reference is a table CSU President Tony Frank sent to an unnamed Big XII member. A couple of the metrics Frank found important to point out were the student:faculty ratio, fundraising dollars, and alumni base.

Athletic Department Health:

As tricky, and deceiving, as college athletic finances can be, they are often talked about in terms of measuring an athletic department's 'health'. The 'Subsidy %' column on the right measures the student subsidy as a % of total revenue for the school. The finances come from USA Today's NCAA finance database.

As the tweet above shows, the CSU AD brought in a record amount of donations during 2015-16 contributing to a record-breaking year for the school as well. The fundraising record was boosted by nearly $50M in donations for the new on-campus stadium over the past two years.

The four main revenue generating sports at CSU have combined for the third highest number of wins in the country and best winning percentage over the past two years. Also in that territory is fellow expansion candidate BYU with two more wins, but a lower winning percentage. Colorado State's success is driven predominantly by four Mountain West championship seasons from Women's Basketball and Volleyball.

Football Performance:

Colorado State suffers significantly from the Steve Fairchild era, his trio of 3-9 seasons dragging the Rams ten year win percentage below .500%. Mountain West rival Boise State has the highest winning percentage in the nation over that time span with three New Years bowls to show for it. As the chart below shows, the Rams are going the right direction but still lag behind the better expansion candidates.

Basketball Performance:

Even with one of the best periods in CSU basketball history, the Rams have not been nearly as consistent as some of the other expansion candidates.

So there you have it. Hopefully some information you can use to help drive rational conversation in the social media echo chamber of opinions. At the end of the day who knows what criteria the Big XII will ultimately determine more salient than others. Soon the presidents of the schools will have