The New York Times on Friday released an NCAA fan map based on data from content that was “liked” on Facebook. The Florida Gators are one of the prominent teams featured on the interactive map, not just because of their dominance of the state of Florida but for pockets where fans can be found across the country.
The Gators are by far the most popular team in the state of Florida, with nearly two-thirds of the state claiming UF as its favorite team. Throughout the rest of the state, there are only eight total counties where the Gators are not at worst the second-favorite team: Bay, Escambia, Glades, Hendry, Holmes, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton.
Miami and Florida State rank 1-2 in Hendry, while FSU tops UM in Glades. In five of the other six counties, Florida State and Alabama are 1-2, though residents of Escambia actually root for the Crimson Tide over the Seminoles (the Gators are third in all six).
But Florida graduates claim to be part of Gator Nation, so how popular are the Gators throughout the rest of the country?
Florida is the most popular team in Maine (nine of 16 counties) and New Hampshire (eight of 10 counties), half of Vermont (four counties) and nearly half of Massachusetts (five of 14 counties, half the land area).
Wherever the Gators are not the favorite team in New England, New York and Connecticut, UF is often the second- or third-most popular team.
Florida is the third-most popular team throughout most of Georgia, some southern parts of Alabama, a handful of counties in the Carolinas and Pennsylvania, and in the eastern part of Maryland heading into Delaware.
Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas are the only Southeastern Conference states where no trace of Florida fandom can be found on the map*, though tiny pockets of Gators fans exist in Alaska (yes, really), Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota (not South Dakota, despite the heavy number of Mike Miller fans), Ohio (Ashtabula, Urban Meyer’s hometown) and Wisconsin.
* The map lists only the top-three teams in each county across the United States.