Power Ranking the Schools with the Best Football and Basketball Programs
Most schools in the country are either dominated by the sport of football or basketball; very few can say they have an elite team in both sports. It is hard enough to be one of the best in either sport, so being great on the gridiron and hardwood at the same time takes something special.
When you think of a school such as Duke, Mike Krzyzewski and cutting down the nets is the first thing that comes to mind. However, when you think of Alabama, you picture head coach Nick Saban and winning multiple national championships. While both are nice schools and hold their own in a certain area, neither are to be considered two-sport schools that can beat you with the pigskin and basketball.
This group is very thin, but the schools on this list should feel proud that it can get the job done in either sport.
Here are the schools that feature the best football and basketball programs.
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The goal for Oklahoma is to reach a BCS bowl each and every season and that has happened in either of the last two seasons. However, there have been double-digit victories in six of the last seven seasons. Even though things haven't exactly gone the way Bob Stoops would have hoped lately, the Sooners remain a program that should be respected, and there are many schools out there that would kill to reach 14 consecutive bowl games.
Besides being the school that produced Blake Griffin, Oklahoma has actually had some above-average basketball success as well. No, it hasn't been ranked in the AP Poll in three years and has yet to win a national title, but there have been nine NCAA Tournament appearances since 2000 and three of those trips resulted in reaching the elite eight. For a primarily football school, the Sooners can get it done on the hardwood as well.
9. North Carolina
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North Carolina has been that football team that has been consistent as of late, but still doesn't receive much love nationally. Winning at least seven games the last five seasons, the Tar Heels appear to be just a few pieces away from seriously competing for ACC titles on a consistent basis. Despite the recent scandal and a head coaching change, Larry Fedora still led his team to eight victories in his first year. This is quickly becoming a balanced program.
What needs to be said about the basketball program? There have been five national titles, 18 Final Four appearances and countless NBA players produced in Chapel Hill, including some guy named Michael Jordan. This is by far one of the more prestigious basketball schools you will ever find, and ESPN considers it to be the most successful over the last 50 years. The basketball side really speaks for itself.
8. West Virginia
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Since 2002, the Mountaineers have reached a bowl game and finished in the final AP Poll a total of seven times. Whether it was under Rich Rodriguez, Bill Stewart or now Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia is quickly becoming that team you don't want to play due to the high-scoring attack. The next task is adjusting to the conference change, but it appears to be only a matter of time before the Mountaineers are competing for a Big 12 title.
How about the job Bob Huggins has done? Taking over a program that was never really big on basketball, West Virginia reached its first final four back in 2010 and has qualified for the tournament in five of his first six seasons. Last year was much of a culture shock with the move to the Big 12, but knowing Huggins and the job he has done so far, it won't be long before West Virginia is making noise again with the basketball.
No 1. Louisville vs. No. 12 Oregon: Sweet 16 Preview
There is really nowhere to go but up with Charlie Strong at the head coaching spot, and he proved that last year. The Cardinals reached a BCS bowl game for the first time since Bobby Petrino was coaching, and found a way to knock off the heavily favored Florida Gators. Strong has led this team to three straight bowl games and people are finally starting to take notice. With a move to the ACC next year, big things are ahead for this football team.
Louisville easily has one of the brighter basketball minds in the country with Rick Pitino at head coach. Known for its basketball success even before he arrived, it is Pitino that has led the Cardinals to more than 300 victories in 12 years, 10 NCAA Tournament bids and five conference tournament championships. Pitino is still searching for that crystal basketball with Louisville, but he has a terrific chance to earn it this season with Louisville now participating in yet another Sweet 16.
No. 1 Kansas vs No. 4 Michigan: Sweet 16 Preview
There were some major slip ups from the Wolverines when Rich Rodriguez was running the show, but with the overall history and recent emergence under Brady Hoke, it is hard to argue with Michigan still being an elite program. Hoke has turned things around in two short years, winning 19 games and getting the team back to a BCS bowl in 2011. When you add that to 42 conference titles and more than 900 wins all-time, the Wolverines still help set the bar in college football.
Michigan managed to win its only basketball national championship back in 1989 and is putting itself in position under coach John Beilein to win more. Reaching the tournament four out of the last five seasons, there is finally some consistency being added to the basketball side of things. The Wolverines have also reached their first Sweet 16 since 1994 and are given themselves a chance to win this year’s national championship, which would only move this school up a few notches.
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Go ahead and pick on the lack of success there has been during the last three years. Texas has still won 32 conference titles, produced two Heisman Trophy winners and has won more than 850 games all-time. Regardless of the recent struggles there have been, the Longhorns remain a staple in college football and the roster remains filled with more talent than most. Whether it is under Mack Brown or a different head coach, it won't be long before Texas is back in the national championship conversation.
Texas experienced minor accomplishments before Rick Barnes arrived, but he really gave this program a boost on the basketball side and things really took off. Under Barnes, Texas has reached the tournament 14 times, made the Final Four back in 2003 and produced a handful of elite NBA talent, including Kevin Durant and LaMarcus Aldridge. The Longhorns are just as fearless in hoops as they are on the gridiron.
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It is hard to argue with success when Wisconsin has won three straight conference titles and appeared in a BCS bowl each of those years. Winning double-digit games in five of the last eight seasons, the Badgers have become one of the most consistent teams in the Big Ten. Hopefully for the fans in Madison, some of that success can continue with Bret Bielema taking his talents to Arkansas.
Is there a more unappreciated coach in college basketball than Bo Ryan? It seems like his team is doubted every year, but he has led Wisconsin to the tournament every year he has been on campus, including five of the schools six trips to the Sweet 16. Wisconsin has now reached the big dance 15 straight seasons, but is still searching for its first national championship since 1941.
3. Michigan State
No. 2 Duke vs No. 3 Michigan State: Sweet 16 Preview
Surprisingly enough, Michigan State is still searching for its first BCS bowl appearance. It doesn't really feel that way since head coach Mark Dantonio has taken over, providing a toughness to this program and leading the Spartans to six straight bowl games. The football program is still hungry for that taste of major success, but as far as consistency during the regular season and giving any team in the country a run for its money, Michigan State is clearly not far away.
There aren't many more respected head coaches in college basketball than Tom Izzo. Winning more than 400 games in his 18 years with Michigan State, he also gave the program a national title in 2000. The Spartans have reached the Final Four six times under Izzo and the Sweet 16 11 times. When you throw in three conference tournament championships and seven regular season conference titles, this is a basketball program that should be feared by the rest of the country.
2. Ohio State
No. 2 Ohio State vs No. 6 Arizona
Much like the basketball program of North Carolina, Ohio State football needs no introduction. With seven national titles, 36 conference championships and seven Heisman winners, the Buckeyes have been getting the job done on the gridiron for quite some time. Now, with Urban Meyer taking over as head coach, there is little doubt that the hardware will continue to pile up. Ohio State is in good hands, and will soon look to steal the spotlight from some of those SEC programs.
Not as decorated as the football program, but the Buckeyes hold their own when it comes to basketball. They have reached the NCAA Tournament five straight times under head coach Thad Matta and five Sweet 16 appearances since 2007. There was some success before Matta arrived, including a national title back in 1960, but it is the consistency as of late that has really made Ohio State a two-sport school.
No. 3 Florida vs No. 15 FGCU
I think it is safe to say that Florida football is a little more comfortable in the hands of head coach Will Muschamp, and he will have this team competing for national titles in no time. Regardless, this is a program that has reached 22 straight bowl games, including two national championships in the last decade. Besides what Alabama has done over the last few years, the Gators make a strong case for being the most successful SEC football team over the last 10 years or so.
Thank goodness Billy Donovan decided to turn down the Orlando Magic and remain with the Gators. Florida won a national title in 2006 and 2007, becoming the first and only school to win a football and basketball title in the same year. Besides that accomplishment, there have been seven Sweet 16 appearances under Donovan and three conference tournament championships. This year’s Florida squad also provides a decent chance to add some more hardware to the trophy case.