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The New Economy

BCS rankings: Top 25 teams by the dollars

Among the BCS rankings' top 25, all teams are not economically equal. Which teams bring home huge profits for their schools?

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Wins and dollars

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In terms of consistency, No. 3 Texas, No. 13 Virginia Tech, and No. 17 Ohio State stand out as the only programs to have won at least 10 games per season since 2005 and earned big profits – $52 million, $12 million, and $32 million respectively. But how can you overlook the University of Florida, with two of the three most recent national championships sitting in its trophy case and perennial No. 1 in college football rankings, BCS or otherwise? It's hard to argue that anyone else gets more from their athletic dollar: second most revenue at over $47 million and middle-of-the-pack expenses at just under $19 million in 2007.

But counting wins per dollar, No. 7 Boise State comes out on top. Spending just under $7 million, the Broncos have put the hurt on much larger schools (famously beating Oklahoma and it's 2007 expenses of $40 million). Incidentally, No. 4 Iowa is considered by some a minor Cinderella story, but its expenses of $26 million-plus are higher than every Top 25 school except Ohio State ($33 million), making them the least efficient school for the money.

Lowest costs per player

Yes, nontraditional powers like Boise State ($7,368 per player) and No. 18 University of Houston ($9,341) have low costs. But the bigger surprise is venerable Joe Paterno and Penn State, who spend only $9,136 per player.

And the most thrifty? No. 25 'Ole Miss, at $5,814 per player.

When it comes to highest cost per player, though, the University of Oregon is far-and-away the king at $61,972 per player. The Oregon gravy train is engineered by alum Phil Knight, Nike co-founder and chairman, who keeps the Ducks in fresh duds every season. Behind the Ducks are Tim Tebow and Co. at Florida, where per player spending came in at $48,092.

But when you make a habit of raising the crystal national championship hardware in January, even a big per player expenditure doesn't dent your halo as college football's top squad by the dollar. It might even enhance it in the eyes of potential recruits.

Just win, baby.

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David Grant is a Monitor contributor. For all the economic news that's sweet to tweet, find us on Twitter.

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