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5 Basketball Schools Are Failing at Football

Peter ChenContributor IIINovember 9, 2011

5 Basketball Schools Are Failing at Football

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    As we move into the second half of the 2011 CFB season, a familiar malaise is again enveloping some storied BCS schools. 

    However, and not a moment too soon for alums, students and fans of these FBS football failures, college basketball season is upon us.

    Turn the page to find out which basketball-happy universities will be happy to put another feeble football season behind them.

     

Kansas Jayhawks

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    Kansas is synonymous with the sport of basketball. It was, after all, invented by the Jayhawks’ first coach, Dr. James Naismith.

    The basketball program has won three NCAA titles, made an all-time record 22 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances and has reached 13 Final Fours. The Jayhawks have had the second most all-time hoops victories, with 2,038. 

    Unfortunately, the Kansas football program is headed in the wrong direction. Just a few years removed from winning the 2007 FedEx Orange Bowl (beating VaTech 24-21), KU has won a total of only two Big-12 games since 2008. 

    In 2009, Kansas fell to 5-7, with one Big-12 win, and head coach Mark Mangino resigned. Things have gone from bad to worse under Turner Gill, with a 3-9 record in 2010 and a 2-7 mark so far in 2011. A 2-10 final record seems likely.

    Bring on basketball.

UCLA Bruins

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    UCLA is the most successful men’s basketball program in NCAA history, with a record 11 NCAA titles and 18 Final Fours, including a recent three-straight run from 2006 to 2008. They also have 42 total NCAA tournament appearances and only three losing seasons since 1947. 

    Unlike some of the other woeful football programs profiled here, UCLA football isn’t always awful. But its recent performances have been mediocre at best.

    Even worse, the Bruins have been completely overshadowed by the spectacular success of its cross-town rival, USC. 

    UCLA football has seen just one Rose Bowl since 1994, only three winning conference records since 1998 and two overall winning seasons since 2002. Recent bowl berths have been in bowls that are now defunct (Silicon Valley), renamed (EagleBank) or irrelevant (Emerald and Las Vegas).

    What’s worse, while USC has enjoyed a cavalcade of Heisman Trophy winners and national stars such as Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush and now Matt Barkley, UCLA hasn’t had a household name player since the days of Maurice Jones-Drew.

    Under current head coach Rick Neuheisel, UCLA has finished 8th twice and 9th once in what is now the Pac-12. 

    After a miserable start to the 2011 season, UCLA has actually managed to win two consecutive Pac-12 games, putting another lower tier bowl berth in reach and possibly saving Neuheisel’s job, which may only lead to more football mediocrity in Westwood.

     

Duke Blue Devils

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    The Duke Blue Devils have one of the most decorated programs for hoops. Four NCAA title banners hang from Cameron Indoor Stadium’s rafters, the most recent title from 2010.

    Don't forget about Duke's six NCAA runner-ups, 15 Final Fours and 35 total NCAA tourney appearances, many under the legendary Coach K. 

    In sad contrast, Blue Devil football is borderline irrelevant. When did Duke last win a bowl game? 

    They haven't won one since the 1961 Cotton Bowl. Yes, 1961, when JFK was president. 

    When was Duke’s last winning season in football? The answer is 1994.

    Why do they bother?

Indiana Hoosiers

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    The Indiana Hoosiers have won five NCAA basketball titles. Indiana has been to eight Final Fours and made 35 NCAA tournament appearances. 

    Is there any other college basketball program whose nickname has been immortalized in an iconic sports movie that nearly won an Academy Award? 

    Alas, the inept Indiana football program won’t soon be nominated for any award, other than perhaps worst football team ever in the Big 10. 

    Indiana has been to just nine bowl games in over 120 years and only one since 1993, with but one winning season since 2000.  

    The football Hoosiers have won a mere 19 Big 10 games in the past 12 seasons. Do the math. That is awfully bad week-in, week-out football. 

    Unsurprisingly, Indiana is currently 1-9, and is staring at another dismal, 1-11 final record. Luckily, and as always, basketball season should be better in Bloomington.

Syracuse Orange

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    The Syracuse Orange were national basketball champions in 2003 and have made 34 total NCAA tourney appearances, including three other Final Fours, losing twice in the title game.

    The last time Cuse had a losing basketball season? Over 40 years ago, during the 1968-69 season. 

    Meanwhile, Syracuse football, which in past decades featured stars such as Jim Brown, Larry Csonka, Donovan McNabb, Dwight Freeney and Marvin Harrison, has fallen on harder times. 

    Orange football managed an 8-5 season in 2010 with a victory in the inaugural Pinstripe Bowl, but that was their only winning season since 2001. 

    The 2011 team is currently 5-4 and will need to defeat USF, Cincinnati or Pitt to become bowl eligible.

    Even then, the Orange will likely end up in a lower tier bowl that will hardly match the annual Big East and March Madness feats of the basketball team. 

    In Syracuse, just like Westwood, Durham, Bloomington and Lawrence, people hooray for hoop season.

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