Thursday, October 3rd, 2019 | 11 min read
Here we go! Week 5 of Sprinklr’s analysis of the top 25 most talked-about college football teams! We’ve analyzed hundreds of thousands of mentions of college football across social media, news sites, blogs and forums using Sprinklr Modern Research. Here are the most mentioned teams from last week along with some key insights.
1 – Ohio State University – (↑ 1 spot) – 83,626 mentions
2 – University of Nebraska (↑ 12 spots) – 50,066 mentions
3 – University of Michigan (↓ 2 spots) – 37,743 mentions
4 – University of Alabama (not ranked) – 26,938 mentions
5 – University of Oklahoma (↑ 6 spots) – 26,191 mentions
6 – Clemson University (↑ 3 spots) – 21,614 mentions
7 – Auburn University (↑ 5 spots) – 19,727 mentions
8 – University of Texas (↓ 3 spots) – 21,677 mentions
9 – University of Florida (↓ 1 spot) – 21,384 mentions
10 – University of Wisconsin (↓ 5 spots) – 19,361 mentions
11 – Louisiana State University (↓ 8 spots) – 17,609 mentions
12 – University of Georgia (↓ 2 spots) – 16,024 mentions
13 – Penn State University (not ranked) – 15,747 mentions
14 – Washington State University (↓ 6 spots) – 15,331 mentions
15 – University of California – Los Angeles (not ranked) – 14,336 mentions
16 – University of Pittsburgh (↓ 3 spots) – 12,923 mentions
17 – University of Tennessee (↓ 11 spots) – 12,201 mentions
18 – University of Arkansas (↑ 2 spots) – 11,109 mentions
19 – Duke University (not ranked) – 10,461 mentions
20 – University of Notre Dame (not ranked) – 9,894 mentions
21 – Florida State University (↓ 4 spots) – 9,678 mentions
22 – University of Southern California (↑ 1 spot) – 9,527 mentions
23 – University of North Carolina (not ranked) – 9,379 mentions
24 – University of Maryland (not ranked) – 9,334 mentions
25 – Mississippi State University (not ranked) – 9,274 mentions
We called it – Ohio State moves to number 1 in the Sprinklr-Top 25
As we elaborated on in last week’s blog, Ohio State has been dominating on the field and in Modern Channels all year. And with them being tabbed as the “Game-of-the-Week” we predicted that they were going to shoot up the rankings. Sure enough, that’s what happened. With over 80,000 mentions, Ohio State has the record this year for most mentions in a week. How did this happen? Here’s our rationale – A premier program with tons of national recognition, who is having a ton of on-field success, was featured in the “Game-of-the-Week”. That right there is a combination that will turn a sports and entertainment brand to go viral. Now the question is, “how long can they keep it up?”
How are Teams Jumping into the Top-5?
One of the questions I’ve received a lot is how and why schools are moving up, down, and all around in these rankings. To be honest, the first couple of weeks I really didn’t know. There were, and still are teams that are moving all over the place in our “Share of Voice” rankings each week. However, after looking at the numbers and how teams have shifted so far there are some key indicators.
The easiest way to make it into the coveted, Top-5 is to be the biggest storyline of the week. Specifically, if you’re the “Game-of-the-Week” and the game lives up to the hype then you’re almost guaranteed to be up there in our rankings. Why? While fans always enjoy talking about their schools, what really gives them a boost in mentions is all of the news coverage. Looking back at data from the past couple weeks, tons of news domains picked up the storylines for the teams that played in the Saturday, prime-time slot. So I’d imagine that each week moving forward, the game that is featured on ESPN’s College Gameday will move both schools into the top-5.
The second way that schools make their way into the Top-5 is a combination of two things – being a big brand, and making storylines. I keep saying this because it’s important – big brands will always be talked about. Whether it’s USC, Ohio State, Florida, etc. they are always going to be top of mind for media companies who from everything I’ve seen so far, are still driving a lot of the conversation. Interestingly enough, some of the most engaging tweets each week are from Fox Sports and ESPN. Personally, I found that very surprising and was expecting viral moments to pop to the top of this feed. The interesting question to ponder now – are college football audiences so segmented that they only go viral within their own community? But back to this subject matter here, big brands will always be talked about. And this isn’t always a good thing for schools. I’m not going to call out schools but there have been several this year that are struggling and staying in the limelight because of it.
Remember – Not all mentions are the same
These rankings are measuring the number of mentions a school gets in a week. Now while that may be a good indication of who is the most prevalent brand that week, it doesn’t factor in the sentiment of the messages about their brand. This is where analysis in Sprinklr’s Modern Research product allows you to go a bit deeper into the data. Let’s look at the University of Michigan football, for example. This week they had 37,743 mentions. Of those mentions, 3,539 of them were marked as positive. That tells us that about nine percent of all messages in about Michigan this week were positive. Now we can compare that to the percentage of negative mentions of Michigan, thirteen percent, and see that while they ranked number three this week in overall volume of mentions, they had more of a negative tone. You can then compare these percentages to that of other schools and see which ones are getting more positive or negative attention. All of that is just scratching the surface of AI analysis but the point here is that it isn’t always good/bad when teams move up and down the rankings. Sometimes, no news is good news for schools that haven’t been going through some tough times. Other times a school that shoots up the rankings is a testament to the superb season they are having. While this rankings are a good place to start, they aren’t the end-all, be-all for these social presence on modern channels. There is a lot more analysis that can be done to see whether the move up and down the ranks is good or bad for that particular institution.
Speaking of Sentiment – People are more Positive than We Think
One of the great things that we can start to do now that the season is in full swing is look at week-over-week trends. In the table below we looked at how overall sentiment of all schools trended for the past five weeks. As you’d expect, the peaks for both positive and negative mentions are football Saturdays. But what stood out to me was that the positive sentiment always was greater than the negative sentiment. I would have expected more fans and media to be upset with their school’s performance and take to social media to voice it. But maybe fans aren’t as mean as we think; perhaps it’s actually the opposite. What really makes me think here is the gap between positive and negative mentions. It’s not like positive mentions were slightly larger. There is a statistical significant difference between positive and negative mentions each week.
Now what exactly are people saying when they are talking positively or negatively. This is where a word cloud is a nice was to visually summarize content. Below are two word clouds that show the top words from all of these messages. It’s obvious that the game is at the center of people’s mind which makes sense, but I was surprised to see coaches as a top word for both positive and negative sentiment messages. It appears that both with success and failure coaches are at the foreground.
Can Sprinklr Predict the Heisman Winner?
One of my favorite things to do with Sprinklr data is to slice-and-dice it in different ways. One of the things that we’ve done is taken all mentions from the schools to determine which players is being talked about most for the Heisman trophy. As of right now Jalen Hurts is leading the pack by a sizable margin. We’ll keep an eye on this and keep you up to date as things change but it will be interesting to see how these mentions correlate with the voting for the trophy at the end of the year.
As we enter the dog-days of the season make sure to stay up to date with us each week for a new set of rankings and analysis. Feel free to shoot any questions to @robvanderzyppe
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