When it comes to SEC football, does size really matter? Maybe on the offensive line but not if you’re comparing city population numbers. In fact, one of worst SEC teams resides in the largest city while one of the best teams can only call their home a town. Hats off to Marky Billson at Saturday Down South for article.
The Southeastern Conference truly offers many different facets of southern living, both cosmopolitan and rustic, in its 14 locales. Here is the size of SEC campus cities with their estimated 2015 population compared to 2014.
Figures are provided by the United States Census Bureau.
|RANK, SEC CITY||2014 POPULATION||2015 POPULATION|
|3. Baton Rouge||229,007||228,590|
|5. Columbia, S.C.||132,365||133,803|
|8. Columbia, Mo.||117,299||119,108|
|9. College Station||103,636||107,899|
• Baton Rouge is the only city in the SEC that lost population last year.
• Four SEC universities: Alabama (101,112), Auburn (87,451), Mississippi State (61,784), and Ole Miss (60,479) outdrew the population of their home cities with average home attendance.
• Athens, Lexington, and Nashville’s populations are somewhat inflated because these cities have merged with their county governments. So, for instance, Lexington’s city limits are actually those of Fayette County as well. Before these consolidations, Athens was a city of 45,734 (1990 census), Lexington had 108,137 (1970 census) and Nashville had 170,874.
• If Georgia Tech and Tulane came back into the conference, the population of Atlanta is 463,878 and New Orleans is 389,617. If The University of the South was allowed back in, the population of Sewanee was 2,311 in the 2010 census.
• To illustrate the changing demographics of the conference, in 1960, New Orleans was the largest city in the conference with 627,525 people. Atlanta was second with 487,455, folks. A pre-consolidation Lexington had 62,810. Oxford had 5,283, but Ole Miss was still named Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) national champions.
• If we were to rank SEC cities by television market size, thus giving an insight into the total metropolitan area, the chart would read:
1. Athens (Part of the Atlanta market — 8th nationally)
2. Nashville (29th)
3. Tuscaloosa (Birmingham market — 40th)
4. Knoxville (59th)
5. Lexington (63rd)
6. Columbia, S.C. (79th)
7. Oxford (Jackson market — 90th)
8. College Station (Waco-Temple-Bryan market — 94th)
9. Baton Rouge (95th)
10. Fayetteville (100th)
11. Auburn (Columbus, Ga. market — 128th)
12. Starkville (Columbus-Tupelo market — 133rd)
13. Columbia, Mo. (137th)
14. Gainesville (160th)