The 10 Best Football-Basketball Institutions Since 2000
Some of us are just getting over the excitement that was the 2011-12 college football season, and many of us are about to get entrenched in the drama that will soon be March Madness.
What better time than now to recognize the schools who put together the top 10 best basketball-football programs in college sports in recent memory?
Counting down from 10 to one, here’s my take.
10. Notre Dame
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
2011-12 didn't end up being as great of a season as most people were expecting from Notre Dame, but the team has steadily improved under Brian Kelly’s direction.
In two years, I expect them to be challenging for BCS berths and national championships just like the good ol’ days.
Furthermore, Mike Brey has done a solid job with the men's basketball program since taking over in 2000. He has led the Irish to five straight 20-win seasons and seven NCAA tournament appearances.
9. Michigan State
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Basketball is king in East Lansing.
Tom Izzo is easily one of the top five coaches in college basketball. He has taken the Spartans to six Final Fours, two different national championship games and he won the 2000 title against Florida.
In football, Michigan State has really taken big strides since Mark Dantonio took over in 2006. The past five seasons in East Lansing have culminated in five bowl games. In addition, Dantonio is 3-0 against Michigan in the last three years, and he is 4-1 against the Wolverines overall.
Two years ago, Michigan State was co-Big Ten champion with Ohio State and Wisconsin.
This past year, the Spartans were the regular season conference champions, but just missed its shot at the Rose Bowl because of a roughing-the-kicker penalty.
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
The Huskies have never been a powerhouse in college football and with Randy Edsall leaving for Maryland after last season, they probably never will be.
But Connecticut joined the Big East in football just eight years ago, and in those eight years, the Huskies have made five bowl games.
Two years ago, Connecticut played in a BCS bowl (albeit mainly by default in a very weak conference). That is something teams like Missouri, Duke, North Carolina and Michigan State have never done in the BCS era.
As for the basketball team, Jim Calhoun has won three national championships while at Connecticut.
That’s more than either Roy Williams or Izzo.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Nick Saban has turned Alabama into a juggernaut in college football, coming off its second national championship in the past three years and a third BCS bowl appearance.
The Tide will be one of the favorites to repeat as national champion again this coming season.
When all is said and done, there's a good chance Alabama ends up with two of the top five greatest coaches in college football history.
Although Alabama basketball doesn't garner the same attention as the football program, the Crimson Tide was a regular participant in the NCAA Tournament in the early 2000s, making a run to the Elite Eight in 2004.
Things hit a rough patch from 2006-2009, but after nearly getting back to the tourney in each of his first two years, Anthony Grant appears to have the skills to make Alabama a regular in the NCAA Tournament once again.
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Whether you want to talk about Barry Alvarez or Bret Bielema, Wisconsin football has always been good.
Between those two, Wisconsin has had five Big Ten Conference titles and five Rose Bowl appearances, with three of them being victories.
Men's basketball coach Bo Ryan has not let the football team take over the spotlight though. He has been to the NCAA Tournament every year since he moved from Milwaukee to Madison.
Ryan has won or tied for the league title during three of those seasons. He has been every bit as important to Badger basketball as his peers have been to Badger football.
5. West Virginia
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
West Virginia has been a regular BCS bowl participant over the past decade.
The Mountaineers have actually won the Fiesta, Orange and Sugar Bowls--one of those being a 70-33 beatdown over a Clemson team that beat Virginia Tech twice during the season.
The Mountaineers have four 10 win seasons since 2005.
In addition, West Virginia basketball has been stellar over the past seven years. During that time, West Virginia has been to six seven NCAA Tournaments, two Elite Eights, and a Final Four in 2010.
4. North Carolina
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Since replacing Matt Doherty in 2003, Roy Williams has won two national championships and taken North Carolina to three Final Fours. He is also second all time in wins at UNC behind Dean Smith.
In football, the talent level at UNC has been dramatically improved.
In last April’s NFL Draft, UNC tied USC for the most players selected with nine, and there are still several players who will be drafted high this next month.
If the football team isn’t destroyed by NCAA sanctions, UNC will be a force in a couple years.
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
In football, Texas won the Rose Bowl in 2004, the national championship in 2005, the Fiesta Bowl in 2009 and runner-up in the 2010 national championship.
In basketball, Rick Barnes has taken Texas to every NCAA Tournament since he has been in Austin.
Some of the players he has coached include LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Durant, Tristan Thompson, Damion James, Avery Bradley and T.J. Ford, just to name a few.
2. Ohio State
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images
Jim Tressel owned Michigan and the Big Ten, pure and simple. He went 94-22 as a coach at Ohio State and won six Big Ten titles.
Furthermore, he had an 8-1 record against the Wolverines during his tenure, which left him second only to the legendary Woody Hayes. I'm pretty sure Urban Meyer will build upon his success.
Since taking over at Ohio State, Thad Matta has coached Ohio State to four Big Ten regular season championships, Big Ten tournament championships in 2007, 2010 and 2011, an NIT championship, a berth in the NCAA national championship game, and at least 20 wins each season he has been in Columbus.
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
The Gators have won two National Championships in both football and basketball since 2005.
Combine that with another BCS bowl in 2009 (actually 2010, but the 2009 season) and berths in the NCAA Tournament the past two years, and no one else is even close.