College football isn’t just about the uniforms or even the games. It’s about the full experience, and there are definitely some amazing places to have fun on Saturdays in the fall. Sometimes a good tailgate can be the most exciting part of the day.
However, in college towns, hosting a game means more traffic and tailgates can lead to potentially dangerous situations for those traveling on the roads. This is not a public service announcement, by any means, but excessive partying and more cars on the road leads to increased traffic accidents and even deaths. After Car Accidents did a fascinating and sobering study by analyzing traffic fatalities near Division 1-A schools on college football game days.
The worst place on the list? McLennan County, Texas, which is home to the Baylor Bears in Waco, Texas.
In the study, the ACA team researched incidences of traffic fatalities on days with home games in the counties of every Division I-A college football team. They compared those numbers to the average number of traffic fatalities in the same county on Saturdays in the spring when there are no football games.
The data is from 2012-2016.
McClennan County, Texas has a 766.67 percent increase in traffic fatalities, while Ingham County, Michigan (Michigan State) and Onondaga County, New York (Syracuse) have the next worst totals of 367 percent and 333 percent, respectively.
Here are the Top 10 worst college football gameday crowds and the percentage increase in fatalities from home games in the fall to Saturdays in the springtime:
1. Baylor — McClennan County, Texas (767 percent)
2. Michigan State — Ingham County, Michigan (367 percent)
3. Syracuse — Onondaga County, New York (333 percent)
4. Colorado State — Larimer County, Colorado (233 percentt)
5. New Mexico — Bernalillo County, New Mexico (223 percent)
6. Wake Forest — Forsyth County, North Carolina (200 percent)
7. UL Monroe — Ouachita Parish, Louisiana (167 percent)
8. Missouri — Boone County, Missouri (157 percent)
9. LSU — East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana (150 percent)
10. Tennessee — Knox County, Tennessee (143 percent)
Oklahoma, Kent State, Washington, Boston College, Ole Miss, Virginia Tech, Clemson, and Oklahoma State all have increases of 100 percent and above as well.
The report doesn’t factor in the increase in population on gamedays as opposed to the spring weekends, nor does it factor in the city’s or town’s infrastructure or even the weather.
These are just five years worth of numbers, too, but it’s enough to raise a lot of eyebrows.
Moral of the story: Just be safe out there.