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BYU football: Cougars top Utes in fans, according to New York Times report

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 20 2011 3:02 p.m. MDT

Utah fans celebrate a touchdown as BYU and Utah play Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

With Utah's 54-10 blowout of BYU still fresh in mind, it's understandable that more people are claiming to be Ute football fans this week.

But according to the New York Times, it's the Cougars who have bragging rights over Utah — twice as many — when it comes to a different college football tally.

The local scoreboard from the Times' study regarding the number of fans for each college football program: BYU 709,864, Utah 351,939. The NYT used a variety of factors to put a number on each of the 120 NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision school's fandom, including surveys, TV market analysis and revenue figures.

BYU ranked 43rd in the fan count, which is more than eight of the Pac-12 programs and higher than three Big 12 schools (Iowa State, Kansas State and Baylor).

Per this study, the Cougars also have more fans than 27 of the Automatic Qualifier schools in the BCS. With that in mind, the article's author, Nate Silver, surmised that "Brigham Young ... would be an attractive-enough addition for a conference like the Big 12."

Utah checked in at No. 67, 10th highest in its new league. Regarding the Utes and Colorado (56th, 494,873 fans), the Times' writer claimed the Pac-12 rookies "look tolerable — but their fan bases are likewise middling by national standards."

Utah State, meanwhile, has the FBS' second-least popular football program, with 65,129 supporters.

The five programs with the biggest followings include Ohio State (3.2 million), Michigan (2.9 million), Penn St. (2.6 million), Notre Dame (2.3 million) and Texas (2.3 million).

San Jose State, a WAC school that visits BYU on Oct. 8, is ranked last (120th) with 60,292 fans.

Other schools of interest include Pac-12 leader USC (17th, 1.2 million); MWC leader Boise State (57th, 483,489 fans); and Big East-bound TCU (65th, 370,459).

Stanford (69th, 344,356) and Washington State (75th, 284,718) are the lowest-ranked Pac-12 schools.

Email: jody@desnews.com

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