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Did You Know South Dakota Has the Most College Football Teams per Capita in the United States?

University of South Dakota at South Dakota State University Football
Dave Eggen/Inertia

(NOTE: My math was wrong on the original version of this story. Thanks to all who brought that to my attention. This version should be correct – Jeff)

South Dakota may not be considered a ‘hot bed’ of college football to many, but we’ve had our shares of successes over the years.

The Mount Rushmore State has had NAIA Champions (University of Sioux Falls), NCAA Division II Runner-ups (South Dakota), and a school that has qualified for the FCS Playoffs at the Division I level six times in the last eight seasons (South Dakota State).

But, according to the calculations from one national website, there’s one thing about college football in South Dakota that no on can dispute – we’ve got more of it, per capita, than any state in America.

Hero Sports took each state’s population (based on the 2010 census) and factored in the number of college football programs (at all levels) to come up with the ‘teams per capita’ score.

On their list, South Dakota is not only number one. It’s not even close.

Hero Sports Top Ten States (2010 population) with Most College Football Teams per capita:

College Football Teams Per Capita
Hero Sports
  1. South Dakota (814,191) 8 teams – 9.826 per million people
  2. District of Columbia (601,767) 4 teams – 6.647 per million people
  3. West Virginia (1,853,011) 12 teams – 6.476 per million people
  4. North Dakota (672,591) 4 teams – 5.947 per million people
  5. Iowa (3,046,869) 16 teams – 5.251 per million people
  6. Vermont (625,745) 3 teams – 4.794 per million people
  7. Minnesota (5,303,925) 25 teams – 4.713 per million people
  8. Maine (1,328,361) 6 teams – 4.517 per million people
  9. Massachusetts (6,547,817) 29 teams – 4.429 per million people
  10. Pennsylvania (12,702,887) 52 teams – 4.094 per million people

But the numbers are wrong.

You see, the Mount Rushmore doesn’t have eight college football teams, we have ten:

  • Augustana University (NCAA DII)
  • Black Hills State (NCAA DII)
  • Dakota State (NAIA)
  • Dakota Wesleyan (NAIA)
  • Northern State (NCAA DII)
  • Presentation College (NAIA)
  • South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (NCAA DII)
  • South Dakota State (NCAA DI)
  • University of Sioux Falls (NCAA D II)
  • University of South Dakota (NCAA DI)

That means our margain over second place Washington DC is now considerably bigger!

The addition of two teams sends our per capita number soaring from 9.826 per million to a whopping 12.282.


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