The Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Longhorns and Michigan Wolverines each have a loss on their 2018 resumes and are on the outside looking in at the early College Football Playoff picture, but they at least have bragging rights when it comes to making money.
On Tuesday, Chris Smith of Forbes shared the most valuable college football programs from 2014 through 2016, and Texas A&M topped the list at $148 million in revenue and $107 million in profit.
The Longhorns were second at $133 million in revenue and $87 million in profit, while the Wolverines came in third at $127 million and $75 million.
Smith broke down the reasons the Aggies overtook their in-state rivals and pointed to the significant advantage they enjoyed. From 2014 through the 2016-17 campaign, their athletic department received $260 million in contributions, by far the most in the nation.
For comparison, the Florida Gators came in second at $138 million, while Texas received $123 million. Texas A&M directed $119 million of its contributions to football alone.
The Aggies also benefited from coming in third in ticket revenue and sixth in royalties and licensing.
The rest of the top 10 reads like a who's who in college football royalty.
Texas A&M: $148 million in revenue/$107 million in profit
Texas: $133 million/$87 million
Michigan: $127 million/$75 million
Alabama: $127 million/$59 million
Ohio State, $120 million/$69 million
Oklahoma: $118 million/$72 million
Notre Dame: $112 million/$72 million
Auburn: $112 million/$61 million
LSU: $112 million/$56 million
Florida: $111 million/$67 million
Ties in revenue, such as the one between Michigan and Alabama, were broken by profit. Smith noted Alabama was just 10th in profit because "no other program comes close to matching the Crimson Tide in spending" at an average of $68 million per year.
The SEC had 10 teams in the top 25, while the Big Ten wasn't far behind with seven. They were the only conferences with more than three teams on the list.
The next step for Texas A&M, Texas and Michigan would ideally, at least for their fans, be parlaying the head-turning revenue numbers into consistent winning.
None of the three has made the College Football Playoff since the new postseason system was implemented prior to the 2014 campaign. What's more, Texas' 2009 Big 12 championship was the most recent conference title for any of the three programs.