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Higher Ed Watch

A Blog from New America's Higher Education Initiative

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Game Day Infographic: How Top College Football Teams Stack up in the Classroom

Published:  January 9, 2012

Today is the Bowl Championship Series National Championship, when the top two teams in college football—LSU and Alabama, this year— play for the national title.

But we’re just as interested in the academic performance of the top BCS teams as we are in who wins the championship game, which is why each year we run the available academic data on the top 25 BCS football teams through our own rankings formula to make Higher Ed Watch’s Academic BCS rankings. Based on our analysis, Penn State and Boise State topped the list of the 25 BCS teams in terms of academic performance this year, with LSU and Alabama falling to 13th and 5th place respectively. As we’ve noted many times in the past, the poor academic performance of Division I football players is one of many significant problems facing the sport.

For further Academic BCS enjoyment, New America, in partnership with Slate, created this interactive map of the BCS contenders. Click on the pennants for statistics on that team’s academic performance, and what academic victories or downfalls earned them their place in this year’s Academic BCS.


For more coverage of this year’s Academic BCS, see this article featuring the Academic BCS on the Time IDEAS blog and our map on Slate, as well as articles on ESPN, The Huffington Post, and  Business Insider.

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