JSF Power Rankings: Best Combined Basketball/Football Schools
Sure both sports have their traditional super powers, but for now let’s throw out all the historical success and reputation and look at the schools who, as of October 27, 2010, have the highest rankings in polls for the two biggest sports in the NCAA – football and basketball (BCS poll for football, USA Today preseason poll for basketball).
While its understood that the basketball season has yet to unfold, it still remains a surprise that only six schools share the honor of having Top 25 rankings in both major sports.
Highest combined rankings wins and, as of today, the winners are…
5.) Baylor Bears
I’m guessing that if I would have given you 50 guesses on who the 5th ranked combination football/basketball program was, there is no way in hell you would have come up with the Baylor Bears. Especially considering they’re roughly viewed as about the 10th best school in the state of Texas.
But they made their first appearance this week in the BCS at #25 after a win over previously ranked Kansas State that pushed them to 6-2 overall. Couple that with their #14 ranking in the basketball poll and suddenly they are higher in both sports than their state’s top bully, the University of Texas. Of course the two meet on the field this week in Austin, so the bully has another chance to flex his muscle.
4.) Wisconsin Badgers
Much like Baylor, one of their teams barely snuck into its respective poll, but in the Badgers’ case, its basketball where they’re entering the season as #24. Meanwhile the football squad has back-to-back wins over Ohio State and Iowa that have pushed them up to #10 in the BCS.
Though two teams in the Top 25 is impressive, it still only makes them the third best Big Ten team in this Power Rankings.
3.) Missouri Tigers
Ah yes, the entire reason why this little ranking was thrown together is that the Mizzou Tigers have established themselves as one of the most dynamic two sport schools, as of this week anyway. As mediocre as Mizzou has been in one sport or the other throughout previous decades, it’s fairly impressive to see that coaches Gary Pinkel and Mike Anderson have begun building programs that are consistently earning spots in their respective league rankings.
The Tigers football team is up to #6 in the BCS after the win over Oklahoma with a huge opportunity to jump higher by beating Nebraska on the road Saturday. At the same time, Anderson’s “Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball” enters the season ranked #15 and welcomes it’s most celebrated recruiting class since he came to Mizzou.
The most encouraging part is that, for Mizzou fans who have followed the progress of both programs over the past few seasons and kept an eye on recruiting for the future, the Tigers’ combined success does not scream out “fluke” in any way.
2.) Ohio State Buckeyes
Two weeks ago, the Buckeyes would have been entrenched in the top spot of this ranking considering they were a firm #1 in the BCS, but with the drop back to #11 after a loss to Wisconsin, the football program has slipped behind their #5 ranked basketball team as the dominant force in their athletic department…at least rankings-wise.
All things considered we’ll still give the nod to the football program as the big dog at OSU, at least until Thad Matta’s team starts drawing 100,000 each week like Jim Tressel’s does.
1.) Michigan State Spartans
There’s no doubt that Tom Izzo is the big man on campus when it comes to sports personalities associated with the Spartans. But suddenly nipping at his heels this year is Mark Dantonio, head football coach who had a heart attack earlier this year but is already back on the sidelines coaching his team to a #5 BCS ranking.
They remain undefeated and could roll to a Big Ten title if they remain that way, while their basketball counterparts are seeking out a repeat appearance in the Final Four in 2011. Safe to say that having your two biggest teams in the Top 5 of their sports is not a bad spot to be in for the Michigan State athletic director.
(Honorable Mention: The lone team appearing in both polls is Virgina Tech, ranked #23 in BCS and in the preseason USA Today basketball poll)