Those "obscure" schools made a conscious decision to pursue football fame- and fortune. When Florida International played Texas A&M you can bet FIU got a much-bigger-than-usual paycheck from the gate. Nice. But the big score is in VISIBILITY. FIU is getting attention and it's the kind of free advertising money can't buy. That's why Florida Atlantic will play Texas this season. Eastern Michigan just played Ohio State and Cincinnati took on Oklahoma.
Schools with established football programs have been raking it in for years. Football is so important that successful coaches are making millions- much more than college presidents. Again, the money is great- but what really counts is Visibility with a capital V. When Penn State's team hits the top 10, the admissions office sees a surge in applications. Researchers at Indiana University found that when the University of Florida won national championships in both football and basketball in 2006, applications from prospective students rose eight percent over the previous year. Visibility.
Since 1986, Boise State has been playing home games on AstroTurf that's dyed a blindingly bright blue. Some people think that blue field helped put the Broncos on the map. But it wasn't until Boise State started playing name brand opponents (Georgia in 2005, Oregon in 2008, Virginia Tech in 2010) that people really started noticing. Currently Boise State is ranked #4.
In 2002 Boise State earned $70,000 on sales of Bronco-licensed products. In 2009 they made $750,000. Must be that blue field.
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