Ohio State named most desired college football program in 2022 by Sports Illustrated

Colin Gay
The Columbus Dispatch

Heading into each college football season, Ohio State is always at the forefront of the conversation. 

And heading into 2022, that's no different.

Even with the conversations surrounding conference realignment and expansion, the Buckeyes remain the premier power at the top of the Big Ten and are coming into their season-opening game against Notre Dame with hopes of a return to the College Football Playoff

As movement continues from conference to conference, like the additions of UCLA and USC to the Big Ten in 2024, Sports Illustrated ranked all 69 FBS teams in terms of what programs would be most coveted if conferences were forced to start over. 

And Ohio State found itself at the top of the list. 

With five different categories spanning football, academics, success in all sports, football attendance and broadcast viewership, Sports Illustrated deemed Ohio State as the most desired program in college football, two points ahead of Big Ten rival Michigan

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How did Ohio State finish in the individual rankings? 

For football, Ohio State was ranked behind Alabama in the five-year average of the Sagarin ratings, while the Buckeyes came in fourth in the Learfield Directors' Cup Division 1 standings this past year, rating performance in 19 different sports including baseball, men's and women's basketball and women's volleyball. 

While Ohio State finished tied for 20th with Purdue in the latest U.S. News and World Report national universities ranking, the Buckeyes did finish third in attendance behind Michigan and Penn State, and tied for second with Notre Dame in viewership: totaling the number of football games that drew one million or more viewers from 2017-19 and 2021. 

Big Ten teams — Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin — take up three of the top-seven spots, tied for the most in the top-10 with the South Eastern Conference. 


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