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Where does college football matter most? (Hint: It's the South)

There's been a big craze this fall to map every aspect of college football fandom: the most liked team in each ZIP code, the most hated team in each state and, in case you forgot, a map of every program in America. The New York Times has jumped back in the game, this time asking a much simpler question: where are the most college football fans concentrated?

Once again the Times surveyed Facebook and found that, shockingly, Alabama is the hotbed of college football in America. Alabama was followed by Nebraska, then Oklahoma, Arkansas, Iowa, South Carolina, Kentucky and Mississippi. And that makes sense - places with (mostly successful) major college programs and no professional in-state competition.

The bottom of the list also makes sense - Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, New Jersey and New York, all places with next to no major college football presence.

And in the end, that is why the SEC stands above every other conference in college football. The SEC has the good fortune of being located in the most talent-rich area of the country, but the conference buttresses its natural resources with the best coaches, the best facilities and the biggest stadiums, all underwritten by fan support. It just matters more to more people in the South (and Midwest) than the Northeast.

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Here's the full map:

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Click over to the NY Times for an interactive look at the map.