Each year Arizona State University alum and dedicated college football fan, Michael Allor, makes the trek to Seattle with his brother David, a University of Washington grad, to watch the Sun Devils face off against the Huskies.

“It’s always been a good way to connect with my brother,” Allor says. “We have a bit of a friendly rivalry. It’s a nice tradition.”

At least, it used to be.

Changes to the structure of the Power Five — the term that refers to the top athletic conferences in the National Collegiate Athletic Association, or NCAA — mean that the Sun Devils and the Huskies will never play each other in the regular season.

Computer science research students in the School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence, part of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU, have crunched the numbers.

They’ve concluded some conference realignments will almost double carbon emissions.

Jiayi Hong, a postdoctoral scholar who conducts research in the Center for Accelerating Operational Efficiency, and Sia Sheguri, an undergraduate computer science student, worked under the supervision of Ross Maciejewski, director of the School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence, to calculate the annual carbon footprint of college football teams after the conference realignments. They have released the findings in a new paper titled, “Carbon Emission in Football Games,” which was published in the March edition of the Sustainability and Sports Science Journal.

Carbon emissions refer to the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air, especially by car and jet engines. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. Experts believe that air travel alone accounts for about 4% of the planet’s global warming. Due to the longer travel distances associated with the conference changes, teams will fly more to get to their opponents’ football stadiums.

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