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Tuesday, January 8, 2013
What's your Big Ten team worth?

By Brian Bennett

The Big Ten might not be playing for national titles regularly these days, but the league still continues to boast incredibly valuable properties.

The Wall Street Journal today published a study conducted by Ryan Brewer, an assistant professor of finance at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus, that attempts to calculate the value of every major FBS program. The factors Brewer studied for each program included revenues and expenses, cash-flow adjustments, risk assessments and growth projections. The figures he came up with are supposed to represent what each school's football team might be purchased for if they were to be sold on the open market.

For the second straight year of the study, Texas ranked No. 1 among college football "franchise" values at $761.7 million. But Michigan closed the gap on the Longhorns, rising 18 percent over last year.

Here is how the Big Ten teams ranked in the study:

2. Michigan: $731.9 million
5. Ohio State: $586.6 million
11. Iowa: $384.4 million
13. Nebraska: $360.1 million
16. Penn State: $300.8 million
17. Wisconsin: $296.1 million
21. Michigan State: $224.8 million
35. Northwestern: $148.8 million
38. Purdue: $145.1 million
40. Indiana: $142.7 million
42. Minnesota: $139.7 million
48. Illinois: $117.3 million

And future Big Ten programs:

56. Maryland: $96 million
63. Rutgers: $64.1 million

My first thought is I'm stunned that Iowa is ranked third among Big Ten teams, ahead of more marquee programs like Nebraska and Penn State. I would have thought Nebraska, in particular, would have ranked much higher. The gap between Michigan and Ohio State is also much bigger than expected. Maryland and Rutgers are pretty low, but their value will increase with Big Ten membership. In case you are wondering, here are what some potential Big Ten expansion targets are worth, according to the study:

29. Georgia Tech: $188.4 million
37. Virginia: $146.3 million
51. Kansas: $103.4 million
54. North Carolina: $99.8 million