Freakonomics Applied or Why the SEC is Better than the Big Ten

Freakonomics Applied or Why the SEC is Better than the Big Ten

Submitted by WanderingWolve on December 12th, 2009 at 10:51 PM
    I recently read Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (and I recommend it).  The premise of the book is in the subtitle, "A rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything."  This is my own little attempt to do just that.  First my inspiration for this post: recruiting and statistics.  Both of these are hot topics in these parts.  I am sophomoric at best when it comes to statistics, I know just enough to be dangerous.  I am less than that when it comes to recruiting.  However, as I've started following it more closely the last year or so (like many of you, what else are we going to do in the absence of a bowl game?) I've noticed a few things.  Here's an observation I've made about what the recruits say about going to a game, "The atmosphere was amazing" or something to that effect when they really like a place.  I've also noticed that the SEC seems to have games later in the day than the Big Ten.  I thought it was just my imagination but then I thought I'd look into it.  So here are the average kick-off times for each of the SEC teams in alphabetical order (I limited it to each team's home games so as to not have duplicate numbers; all times are local):
  • Alabama: 2:39 p.m.  
  • Arkansas: 3:39 p.m.  
  • Auburn: 4:08 p.m.  
  • Florida: 3:38 p.m.  
  • Georgia: 5:15 p.m.  
  • Kentucky: 4:03 p.m.  
  • LSU: 6:30 p.m.  
  • Ole Miss: 3:11 p.m.  
  • Miss St: 2:45 p.m.  
  • South Carolina: 4:38 p.m.  
  • Tennessee: 5:09 p.m.  
  • Vanderbilt: 3:57 p.m.   

    The average kick-off time in the SEC was 4:07 p.m.
    Here's the average kick-off times for each of the Big Ten (again in alphabetical order and local times):
  • Illinois: 1:25 p.m.
  • Indiana: 3:15 p.m.
  • Iowa: 12:41 p.m.
  • Michigan: 1:18 p.m.
  • Michigan St: 1:30 p.m.
  • Minnesota: 1:08 p.m.
  • Northwestern: 12:08 p.m.
  • Ohio State: 2:38 p.m.
  • Penn St: 1:52 p.m.
  • Purdue: 12:08 p.m.
  • Wisconsin: 12:00 p.m.
    The average kick-off time in the Big Ten was 1:16 p.m.  
    That means that games in the SEC start an average of 2 hours and 51 minutes later than games in the Big Ten.  So what?  Well, in the words of Chris Fowler, that's almost 3 more hours for fans to get "well lubricated."  Fans with a few more hours of liquid self-confidence can make games that much more fun.  A better atmosphere would be more appealing to better athletes.
    I know there are other factors as to why the SEC is able to get better athletes.  If the best states to recruit are in the southeast, California, and Texas, then those schools are much closer to home (by mileage or climate).  However, this might be something to think about.
    I don't think unrelated to this is the positive correlation to higher stars being drafted and drafted higher in the NFL.  Perceived better players (real or not) are likely to receive more attention from better teams who have better coaches.  This increases their chances of getting drafted.  I don't have numbers to substantiate this, it's a thought to consider.
    I may be way off but it is interesting.  I know the climate could play into this, starting a game later in the day lets it cool off in the south.  Or playing closer to noon in the midwest during October and November.
    Thoughts?