Brandon Vogel of BigRedNetwork.com has a piece on a serious North American warming trend that doesn’t involved Argentinian glaciers or drowned polar bears. He provides us with this nifty graph to show the temperature profile of college football champions through the decades.
The idea was simple: 1) Take all the NCAA recognized national champions since 1940 (AP Poll started in ‘36) from this list, 2) Look up the average yearly temperature for the school’s respective cities using Weatherbase, and 3) Average the “temperature of champions” by decade to see if it was trending one way or the other.
The results? Positively horrifying for fans of thick-ankled, (Nebraska) corn-fed football.
Over the past seven decades the average temperature of a national champion has gotten warmer, from a low average of 50.37 degrees in the ’40s to the high of 66.06 degrees for the decade just completed. The spreadsheet is here if you want to look at the data, but here’s how it looks in graph form:
You’ll notice that the average temperature has risen pretty steadily with one exception: the ’90s. Nebraska had something to do with that. Simply beating Miami in the 1995 Orange Bowl was enough to make this decade slightly “colder” than the previous one. If the ‘Canes win, it too is slightly “warmer.”
Vogel notes that Nebraska in the ’90s was the only cold-weather school to slow down the overall trend of warm weather universities dominating college football. Outside of that, it’s clear that the sport’s balance of power has shifted to warmer climes.
What this study really tells me is that recruiting is by far the most important part of a college football program.