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THE EURO CUP OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL, REVISITED

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REMINDER: WEST VIRGINIA REALLY SHOULDN'T BE PLAYING THIS GAME AT ALL

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Poor Wales. Up 1-0 at half, the state of just over three million people was leading England (population as of 2015: 53.01 million) before what now feels like an inevitable 2-1 loss to a larger, richer neighbor in the 2016 Euros. The emotional journey would seem like one of ecstasy, then real hope, then a quick slide through a trap door into a dark and unsanitary ball pit of despair.

Fortunately for you, the Welsh (here exhibited by a case study size of one) live their emotions in reverse.

Let this man be a model not only for proper emotional recoveries from traumatic life experiences, but also for the fair-skinned who don't care and want to wear red even though it makes them look twice as florid as usual. "You know what I like about this? The red really accentuates all the blood you obviously have right under your skin."

If we work the comparison to college football: when you look at Wales, you're looking at Kentucky or West Virginia. it's not Wyoming/Vanuatu, sure, but it's certainly towards the bottom of the competitive tier when talking about absolute size and talent versus its competitors. It's small, it produces a talented prospect (hi Gareth Bale) from time to time, and in international competition they get steamrolled and fail to make large tournaments. Wales has made the World Cup once in the history of their national side: in 1958, when they made the quarterfinals by drawing every match before being eliminated by a teenaged Pele in a 1-0 loss to Brazil.*

*Drawing every match is a seriously antagonistic and admirable way to get out of your group. Way to go 1958 Wales.

If you're wondering which states would, in a situation where you had state teams competing against each other, well, this question's been asked and answered, and the answers are a little less obvious than you might think.

RECRUITSBYSTATES

The big surprises for a hypothetical state-based competition: how well Teams New Jersey and Missouri would do .It's easy to think of both states as being a series of highway exits passed on the way to somewhere more interesting, but they're both large football states with bigger population numbers than one might even think. (Missouri especially so, since it sits 18th in total population but produces even more recruits than it really should.)

More fun things. For instance: Look at Texas, then look at the number of national titles Texas schools have had in modern college football history. Then just go ahead and giggle while you call them College Football Spain, because that's a fun thing to call someone with only one national title despite rolling in talent year in and year out. Marvel at West Virginia's outsized presence in college football despite having next to nothing in the way of native talent; quietly marvel at Georgia's deep redness, and the relative lack of hardware in their collective trophy cases.

Are we calling you the Portugal of college football, Georgia? Yes, yes we are. You're the Portugal of college football.