The main spectacle in college football is of course the actual game of football being played by student-athletes. However, it is the fans that breathe life into this sport. After all, you never see the teams tailgating before the game. Nor to you see the players going shirtless in negative degree weather (at a student rally and challenged by their coach is another matter). Nope, those would be the fans. They are what make college football great. Fiercely loyal, overzealous, and blindly optimistic, all reasons why the fans are so great.
Occasionally a fan comes along and does something really awesome. That is what happened with the College Imperialism Map by Reddit user nbingham196. You might remember nbingham196 as user behind The Most Disliked School Poll on Reddit from a few months ago.
Since its inception, the College Imperialism Map has grown into one of the most anticipated posts on reddit.com/r/CFB. Teams can go from “owning” no land, to being one of the largest “landed” gentry in the country. Or, fans dread the new map which shows all their lands evaporate as a rival has now “conquered” them. The map is consistently one of the highest up-voted posts on /r/CFB and the Week One map is the highest rated post of all time, no small feat for being only 10 weeks old at this point.
So, how does the map work? We reached out to nbingham once again.
The rules for the Imperialism map are pretty simple. Each FBS team was given the counties that they are closest to at the beginning of the season. If a team beats a team who was on the map the previous week they take over all land that team owned on the previous map.
From there the results on the field spoke for themselves, sometimes weirdly. Like the fact that West Virginia currently owns almost all of Oklahoma besides the fact that they have lost to Oklahoma State and have yet to play Oklahoma. Or Iowa not controlling any counties in their state since week four, just to win them all back after upsetting Ohio State this past weekend. Or that not one, but two FCS schools own territory on the map. Or that no conference has more than three teams on the map. Oh, and the Mountaineers now own Ohio State’s home turf as the land has changed hands twice since Baker Mayfield literally planted a flag in it.
To say that this map is an unexpected fan favorite is an understatement.
I was honestly shocked by the overwhelming response to the first Imperialism map post. I had almost talked myself out of posting it and then next thing I knew it was the top post in /r/cfb history. – nbingham196
The map has also adds an extra dimension to college football. Many games have no playoff implications. After all, nobody (that did not have to) watched the TCU vs Kansas game a few weeks ago as the TV ratings clearly showed. But, the map gives fans something for which to cheer. Even some schools have jumped on it with Colorado, Villanova, and UCF all at least referencing it in tweets.
The idea has grown so much, that Reddit users TheChandog and The_BobbumMan helped launched an interactive website for the imperialism map and more. You can look at the map by conference and even look at the most war-torn areas.
So go ahead college football fans, plant your flags! Here’s how the map has changed from week to week.