Best college athletics programs

July 7, 2008

(Based on most wins and titles held)

Best College Athletics Programs

College sports fans can easily keep up with who’s No. 1 (or close, at least) in their favorite sport. But which NCAA programs do the best job overall in terms of keeping the fans satisfied?

Texas get your horns up. Your Longhorns are No. 1.

The survey began with just football and baseball. Through those two seasons, Oklahoma ranked No. 1 overall. But Texas’ four baseball national championships (1975, ‘83, 2002 and ‘05) skewed the numbers the Longhorns’ way after a third sport was added to the mix.

Data was analyzed back to the 1974-75 school year, which was the first in which more than one team from a conference could receive a bid to the NCAA basketball tournament. Texas also ranked No. 1 when schools were rated in the BCS era, which dates back to 1998.

1. Texas (60.5 football, 30 basketball, 122 baseball, 212.5 total points)
The Longhorns have one Final Four appearance in basketball to go along with one national championship in football (2006) and four in baseball (1975, 1983, 2002 and 2005). The Longhorns ranked 10th before baseball was factored in to the equation.

2. Florida State (111 football, 10 basketball, 79 baseball, 200 total points)
Florida State barely has enough basketball points to qualify after failing to reach the NCAA Tournament since 1998. The Seminoles won two national titles (1993 and 1999) in football and reached the College World Series final in 1986 and 1999. FSU was sixth before baseball was considered.

3. Oklahoma (108.5 football, 36.5 basketball, 39 baseball, 184 total points)
The Sooners were first on this list when we only included football and basketball. Although Oklahoma won the 1994 College World Series, Texas' baseball program has enjoyed far more success over the past 35 years.

4. LSU (51.5 football, 31 basketball, 95.5 baseball, 178 total points)
LSU has won five national titles in baseball (1991, 1993, 1996, 1997 and 2000) to go along with two championships in football (2003, 2007) and three Final Fours in basketball (1981, 1986, 2006). LSU was 13th before baseball was added to the equation.

5. North Carolina (20 football, 111.5 basketball, 41 baseball, 172.5 total points)
The Tar Heels have more basketball points than any other school. They also reached the College World Series championship round in 2006 and '07 and had back-to-back top-10 finishes in football in 1996 and 1997. The Tar Heels were third before baseball was considered.

6. Michigan (90.5 football, 45.5 basketball, 34.5 baseball, 170.5 total points)
Here's an example of how including baseball hurts the northern schools in these rankings. Even though Michigan traditionally boasts one of the top baseball programs north of the Mason-Dixon line, the Wolverines dropped from second to sixth when baseball was added to the mix.

7. USC (101.5 football, 10 basketball, 56.5 baseball, 168 total points)
USC didn't have enough basketball points to qualify for the football-basketball list when we released it in late January, but the Trojans' NCAA Tournament appearance last spring made them eligible.

8. Florida (80.5 football, 42 basketball, 41.5 baseball, 164 total points).
Even though Florida has reached five College World Series (1988, 1991, 1996, 1998, 2005), the Gators' lack of consistent baseball success – particularly during the 1970s and early 1980s – caused them to drop from a tie for fourth.

9. Alabama (85.5 football, 25.5 basketball, 35 baseball, 146 total points)
Alabama has made the most of its infrequent trips to Omaha: The Tide placed second in the 1983 and 1997 College World Series and was one of the last four teams remaining in 1999. Alabama was 18th before baseball was added.

10. UCLA (38 football, 79.5 basketball, 21 baseball, 138.5 total points)
The Bruins only have one College World Series appearance (1997), but they've won two national titles in basketball during this era (1974 and 1995) and have reached the Final Four each of the past three years. The Bruins fell from seventh once baseball was added.

11. Ohio State (94.5 football, 28 basketball, 13.5 baseball, 136 total points)
The Buckeyes have reached the NCAA Tournament in baseball 12 of the past 18 years to go along with their extraordinary football success and their 1999 and 2007 Final Four appearances. Still, Ohio State dropped from a tie for fourth when baseball was added.

12. Stanford (11 football, 21 basketball, 91.5 baseball, 123.5 total points)
Perhaps no school received as much of a boost once we added baseball to the rankings. Stanford has made 14 College World Series appearances since 1974, including national titles in 1987 and 1988. The Cardinal were 38th before baseball was added.

13. Arizona (13.5 football, 56 basketball, 52 baseball, 121.5 total points)
The Wildcats won a 1986 national championship in baseball and captured the basketball title in 1997. The only other schools on this list to win national titles in multiple sports are Texas, Oklahoma, LSU, USC, Florida and Georgia. Arizona was 18th before baseball was included.

14. Arkansas (34.5 football, 53 basketball, 33 baseball, 120.5 total points)
Arkansas has finished in the top 16 in the AP football poll 11 times to go along with four Final Four appearances (including a 1994 national title) and five College World Series berths (1979, 1985, 1987, 1989 and 2004). The Hogs dropped from 11th in the rankings when baseball was added to the mix.

15. Oklahoma State (16.5 football, 25.5 basketball, 71.5 baseball, 113.5 total points)
The Cowboys made six College World Series appearances in a seven-year stretch from 1981-87. They also finished second in the 2000 CWS and went back to Omaha in 1993, 1996 and 1999. The Cowboys zoomed up from 31st when baseball was added.

16. Notre Dame (65 football, 28 basketball, 17 baseball, 110 total points)
The Irish reached the 2002 College World Series and made eight consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances in baseball from 1999-2006, but their lack of baseball success for most of the 1970s and 1980s caused them to tumble from ninth.

17. Georgia (65 football, 12 basketball, 32.5 baseball, 109.5 total points)
Georgia won the 1980 national title in football and the 1989 championship in baseball. If the Bulldogs had beaten Fresno State in this year's CWS final, they would have jumped ahead of Notre Dame in these rankings. The Bulldogs were 15th before baseball was added.

18. Tennessee (60 football, 17.5 basketball, 19 baseball, 96.5 total points)
Tennessee's lack of baseball success in the 1970s and 1980s kept the Vols from ranking higher, though they did reach the College World Series in 1995, 2001 and 2005. The Vols were 16th before baseball was considered.

19. Auburn (53 football, 12.5 basketball, 22.5 baseball, 87 total points)
Known mostly for its football program, Auburn also has three College World Series appearances (1976, 1994, 1997) plus one spot in the Elite Eight (1986) and three Sweet 16 berths (1985, 1999 and 2003) in basketball. The Tigers held the same ranking before baseball was added.

20. Georgia Tech (21.5 football, 26.5 basketball, 36.5 baseball, 84.5 total points)
The Yellow Jackets won a share of the 1990 national football title, reached the 2004 NCAA Tournament final and finished second in the 1994 College World Series. Tech moved up from 26th, thanks to the addition of baseball to the mix.

21. BYU (37.5 football, 13.5 basketball, 11.5 baseball, 62.5 total points)
BYU's baseball program was a regular participant in the NCAA tourney for most of the 1980s, which gave the Cougars enough baseball points to qualify for this list. BYU moved up from 24th when baseball was considered.

22. North Carolina State (15 football, 26 basketball, 19.5 baseball, 60.5 total points)
The Wolfpack made 12 NCAA appearances in baseball during a 14-year stretch from 1986-1999 and have returned to the postseason each of the past six years, helping them move up from 32nd in the rankings.

23. Houston (20 football, 22 basketball, 14.5 baseball, 56.5 total points)
Houston reached a baseball super regional in 2000, 2002 and 2003 to go along with its Final Four appearances in 1982 and 1983. Houston and BYU are the only non-"Big Six" schools to qualify for this list. Houston was 30th before baseball was added.

24. Missouri (13.5 football, 25.5 basketball, 11 baseball, 49.5 total points)
Missouri's fourth-place finish in the AP rankings last season gave the Tigers enough football points to qualify for this list. They were 34th before baseball was considered.

Share of National Title = 10 points
Runner-up = 7 points*
Top 4 ranking = 5 points
No. 5-8 = 3 points
No. 9-16 = 2 points
Bowl win, outside top 16 = 1 point
Bowl loss, outside top 16 = 0.5 points
National Title = 10 points
Runner-up = 7 points
Final Four = 5 points
Elite Eight = 3 points
Sweet 16 = 2 points
Round of 32 = 1 points
First-round loss (since 1979) = 0.5 points
College World Series title = 10 points
CWS Runner-up = 7 points
Third or fourth in CWS = 5 points
Third or fourth in CWS = 3 points
Super regional loser = 2 points**
Regional runner-up = 1 points***
Regional participant = 0.5 points
* - In the pre-BCS era, the No. 2 team in the AP poll was awarded the 7 points. However, during the BCS era, the BCS title game loser was awarded 7 points.
** - The NCAA didn't start using the super regional format until 1999. For years before 1999, the second-place team in each of the eight regionals received 2 points each.
*** - The regional runner-up received two points each before the 1999 season, when the eight regional winners advanced to the College World Series. Before 1999, teams that finished in third or fourth place in their respective regionals earned 1 point each, with the fifth- or sixth-place teams getting a half-point. Since 1999, only teams that finished second in their regionals received 1 point. The rest of the regional participants earned a half-point.

   Send article as PDF   

Comments are closed.