Although the teams are from diverse conferences, the emphasis is on Midwestern teams. As of 1930, seven of these schools were members of the Big 10 Conference (Chicago, Purdue, Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern, Wisconsin and Ohio State), three were in the Big 6 (Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri), three were in the Eastern Independent Conference (Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Carnegie), and two were in the Pacific Coast Conference (Stanford and Washington). However, it’s unclear if “Washington” refers to the University of Washington or to Washington University of St. Louis, which also fielded varsity teams.
It can be posited that this painting once decorated a sports venue, student center or fraternity house, and thus might have been the work of a college student. Stylistically it dates from the 1930s to 1940s. Indeed, the University of Chicago — represented in the painting — dropped its football program in 1939, and in 1946, as part of a new direction to deemphasize athletics, withdrew from the Big Ten Conference. This is a further indication that the painting likely dates to before 1946.