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Ranking the Best and Worst States to be a Football Fan

West Leads Rest, Northeast Among Least

A football fandom’s temperament can be determined based on the state where they live. Some fans have it great with potent squads on both the professional (NFL) and collegiate (NCAAF (FBS) level. We can’t say the same for others. Going by the recent successes of both sides (if applicable) and the college football odds, we guess which states are the best and worst to be a fan in heading to the 2022 seasons.

Best Football States for 2022

  • California

    • Notable NFL Teams: Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Chargers, San Francisco 49ers
    • Notable NCAAF Teams: USC, UCLA, California, Stanford

California football fans have it great: They have potent teams on both levels of football. The Rams are the reigning Super Bowl champions while the Chargers and 49ers are both top-tier contenders. USC is one of the most successful programs since 2000 and has an outside shot to win the national championship when betting online.

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  • Ohio

    • Notable NFL Teams: Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns
    • Notable NCAAF Teams: Ohio State, Cincinnati 

It’s hard to beat the one-two punch of the Cincinnati Bengals and Ohio State Buckeyes. Led by Joe Burrow, the Bengals have quickly become a must-see team in the NFL fresh off their Super Bowl appearance. The Buckeyes are one of the three most successful FBS programs and have remained an NCAA powerhouse despite Urban Meyer’s departure.

  • Florida

    • Notable NFL Teams: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars
    • Notable NCAAF Teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, UCF     

Tom Brady is carrying the entire state, if we’re being honest. But beyond his Buccaneers’ success, the Dolphins acquired Tyreek Hill and could be a fun playoff-contending team while Trevor Lawrence can only get better in his sophomore outing with Jacksonville. On the college scene, “The U” disappointed last season but remains a trendy program while the Gators are still sort of relevant. 

Alabama

  • Notable NFL Teams: None
  • Notable NCAAF Teams: Alabama, Auburn

If Brady carries Florida, then Nick Saban is carrying Alabama. It feels unfair to rank ‘Bama here based on (mostly) one team’s success. But Auburn’s program is nothing to sneeze at either. Georgia would have been here but, unfortunately, the Falcons are about to enter a depressing season.

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Worst Football States as of 2022

  • New York (New Jersey*)

    • Notable NFL Teams: Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, New York Giants
    • Notable NCAAF Teams: Rutgers, Syracuse, Buffalo

This isn’t a typo. How can the state with the Super Bowl favorites, the Bills, be considered one of the worst? Simple. It’s the Bills! Online betting odds be damned. Until they prove otherwise, the Bills will always find a way to disappoint. The Jets and Giants had great NFL Drafts but remain also-rans per the odds, while some fans weren’t even born the last time a New York-area college football program was a national powerhouse.

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  • Arizona

    • Notable NFL Teams: Arizona Cardinals
    • Notable NCAAF Teams: Arizona, Arizona State

The Arizona Cardinals started off hot in 2021 but quickly floundered to an embarrassing playoff exit. To rub salt in the wound, quarterback Kyler Murray beefed with the organization. That’s not the only sad thing in the Grand Canyon State. The Wildcats were arguably the worst team in college football last season while the Sun Devils were mediocre at best.

  • Illinois

    • Notable NFL Teams: Chicago Bears
    • Notable NCAAF Teams: Illinois, Northwestern, Northern Illinois  

The Bears enter a new era and quarterback Justin Fields should be better in his second year, no? But that may not be the case. While the Jaguars and Jets improved their offense, the Bears are leaving Fields to hang out and dry. It could be another disastrous year for the former Ohio State product and his team. And on the collegiate side, Northern Illinois is the only program worth writing about, and not for flattering reasons. It has declined since Thomas Hammock took over.

  • Texas

    • Notable NFL Teams: Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans
    • Notable NCAAF Teams: Texas A&M, Texas, Baylor, TCU, UTEP

Everything is bigger in Texas and that includes both expectations and disappointments. The Cowboys are a perennial disappointment despite their NFL odds. The Texans are expected to be the worst NFL team and none of the Texas schools will sniff the national championship, though Texas A&M remains one of the best programs.

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