When you have an enormous alumni base, a wildly successful football program, and lucrative TV deals, not only if your program going to be well positioned for success on the football field, it is going to be worth a lot of money. The Wall Street Journal has an annual report on exactly how much money, and this year, there is a new most valuable program, the Ohio State Buckeyes. From the WSJ:
Ohio State, which will take on Oregon in the national-title game Monday night in Arlington, Texas (8:30 p.m., ESPN), is now worth more than $1.1 billion, the largest figure in the nation. The Buckeyes have dethroned the reigning champion, Texas, which had held the top spot for three straight years in the annual valuation of programs by Ryan Brewer, an assistant professor of finance at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus.
Of course, as Gene Smith or anybody else in the NCAA would happily remind you, Ohio State football can't be "sold" on the open market like say, the Cleveland Browns could, but if they hypothetically could, this might be a solid estimate of what they'd go for. Ohio State is the only program worth over a billion dollars. Michigan is second, followed by Texas, Notre Dame, and Florida.
Oregon, Ohio State's opponent tonight, is "worth" $358.7 million, good for 18th.
Nice to see that Ohio State's financials are on the right foot, and hey, one more thing to brag about when compared to Oregon is never a bad thing.