Over the past 10 years, researchers at Emory University have studied fandom in college football. Among their discoveries: Big Ten fans are second only to those in the SEC, and Ohio State has the top cheerers in the Big Ten.
The Ohio State University finished in first place in our ranking of Big 10 fan bases. In the ten year period of our study, the Buckeyes averaged 2.5 more wins per season than Penn State and Michigan, but also generated 20% more revenue. Remarkably, Ohio State made this revenue with fewer fans in attendance, on average, than Penn State or Michigan.
The top 3 — Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan — all play in 100,000 seat stadiums with fan bases and alumni that can fill them. But the study references Penn State's declining attendance as a reason it slipped in the rankings.
Penn State very narrowly edged out Michigan for second place in our study. Over the course of the study, Penn State and Michigan averaged almost the same number of wins (Michigan had more) and football revenue per year. However, Penn State’s second place ranking may be short-lived. The last couple of years have seen a decline in attendance. This may, of course, in part be due to the recent scandal and sanctions at Penn State.
Take a bow, Buckeye fans.