Read Nate Silver's piece on the geography of realignment, but take it with a grain of salt

First of all, if you haven't read Nate Silver's New York Times article from yesterday mapping college football fans across the country, you should go and do it now. It's fascinating, and the only reason I kept it out of this morning's RoundUp was to draw special attention to it. Silver, who made a name for himself using stats to forecast baseball (on baseball prospectus) and politics (on FiveThirtyEight), looks at college football not just in terms of media markets, but by trying to see just how many fans of a particular team there are in those markets.

The data is far from perfect, which Silver acknowledges, so there are some odd results -- BC with more football fans than Florida St.? I think not -- so you can't treat it like gospel (hence the grain of salt in the headline), but it definitely passes the sniff test. It also puts a massive dent in the incredibly annoying "Rutgers controls the NYC media market" myth, which is delightful. 

As for UConn, Silver pegs their following at 618,000 fans, which is good enough for 47th in the country (and remember this is based on football -- the numbers probably wouldn't change a lot for basketball, but I bet they'd move some). That puts UConn as fifth in the Big East, with West Virginia first (remember: football focus), Rutgers second, Pitt third and Syracuse fourth. UConn's numbers are lower than our freshly-departed colleagues, but not by a terribly large amount, especially considering the statistical problems in putting this together.

That's a very long-winded introduction, but the piece is definitely worth a read. Enjoy.

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