July 5, 2010

Monday with Mike: The title winners

South Carolina's 2-0 sweep of UCLA for the College World Series title put a cap on the athletic events for the 2009-10 academic year.

As we have done for the past few years, we'll take a look at which league had the best year.

The answer, of course, is all in how you look at it.

THE DIRECTORS' CUP METHOD

Take a bow
The complete list of the 37 NCAA team champions for the 2009-10 academic year. Asterisk denotes consecutive titles:
Baseball: South Carolina (SEC)
Basketball, men: Duke (ACC)
Basketball, women: Connecticut * (Big East)
Bowling: Fairleigh Dickinson (Northeast)
Cross country, men: Oklahoma State (Big 12)
Cross country, women: Villanova (Big East)
Fencing: Penn State * (Big Ten)
Field hockey: North Carolina (ACC)
Football, FBS: Alabama (SEC)
Football, FCS: Villanova (Colonial)
Golf, men: Augusta State (Peach Belt)
Golf, women: Purdue (Big Ten)
Gymnastics, men: Michigan (Big Ten)
Gymnastics, women: UCLA (Pac-10)
Hockey, men: Boston College (ACC)
Hockey, women: Minnesota-Duluth (Northern Sun)
Lacrosse, men: Duke (ACC)
Lacrosse, women: Maryland (ACC)
Rifle: TCU (Mountain West)
Rowing: Virginia (ACC)
Skiing: Denver* (Sun Belt)
Soccer, men: Virginia (ACC)
Soccer, women: North Carolina * (ACC)
Softball: UCLA (Pac-10)
Swimming, men: Texas (Big 12)
Swimming, women: Florida (SEC)
Tennis, men: USC (Pac-10)
Tennis, women: Stanford (Pac-10)
Track, men's indoor: Florida (SEC)
Track, women's indoor: Oregon (Pac-10)
Track, men's outdoor: Texas A&M * (Big 12)
Track, women's outdoor: Texas A&M * (Big 12)
Volleyball, men: Stanford (Pac-10)
Volleyball, women: Penn State * (Big Ten)
Water polo, men: USC * (Pac-10)
Water polo, women: USC (Pac-10)
Wrestling: Iowa * (Big Ten)
Doubling-up
Schools that won multiple national titles (these 11 schools won 23 of the 37 national titles)
3
USC (Pac-10): Men's tennis, men's water polo, women's water polo
2
Duke (ACC): Men's basketball, men's lacrosse
Florida (SEC): Men's indoor track, women's swimming
North Carolina (ACC): Field hockey, women's soccer
Penn State (Big Ten): Fencing, women's volleyball
Texas A&M (Big 12): Men's outdoor track, women's outdoor track
Stanford (Pac-10): Men's volleyball, women's tennis
UCLA (Pac-10): Softball, women's gymnastics
Villanova (Colonial/Big East): Football (FBS), women's cross country
Virginia (ACC): Men's soccer, rowing
Big surprise - Stanford won again, for the 16th consecutive year.

The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics annually presents the Directors' Cup to honor what the group calls "the best overall collegiate athletics program in the country." Schools are allowed to count their 20 highest-scoring sports - 10 men and 10 women.

In occupying in its usual top spot, Stanford finished in the top 10 in 17 sports, scored in all 20 sports and won two titles - men's volleyball and women's tennis. Florida was second, the school's 26th consecutive top-10 finish. The Gators scored in 18 sports and won two titles, in men's indoor track and women's swimming.

Four of the next eight schools were from the ACC - Virginia in third, Florida State in fifth, North Carolina in seventh and Duke in 10th. The other schools in the top 10 were UCLA (fourth), Texas A&M (sixth), Ohio State (eighth) and California (ninth).

The Pac-10 had three schools in the top 10, five in the top 14 and eight in the top 30. The ACC had four in the top 10 and five in the top 28. The SEC had one in the top 10, four in the top 20 and seven in the top 29. The Big Ten had one in the top 10, three in the top 18 and five in the top 25. The Big 12 had one in the top 10, four in the top 17 and five in the top 31. The Big East had one in the top 35, Notre Dame at No. 27.

The highest-ranked non-Big Six school was the Ivy League's Princeton, at 32nd. Other non-Big Sixers in the top 50 were BYU (Mountain West) at 36th, TCU (Mountain West) at 40th and New Mexico (Mountain West) at 47th.

The lowest-ranked Big Six school? The Big East's Marquette, at 204th. The lowest-ranked Big Six school that plays football was the Big 12's Kansas State at 123rd. The lowest-ranked school that plays FBS football was a tie at 236th between Ball State, Louisiana Tech, Northern Illinois, UAB and Utah State.

The winner: The Pac-10. Eighty percent of the league's teams were in the top 30. That trumps the ACC, which had the most in the top 10 by one over the Pac-10.

THE 'BY THE NUMBERS' METHOD

In this category, we look at two variables. The first is how the leagues fared in what I consider the "Big Five" sports (football, men's and women's basketball, baseball and softball). The second is how many slots each league filled in the Elite Eight in each sport (there are 10 spots in football, using the BCS bowls as the measuring stick) among the "Big Five."

The SEC won two titles, in football (Alabama) and baseball (South Carolina). The ACC (Duke in men's basketball), the Big East (Connecticut in women's basketball) and the Pac-10 (UCLA in softball) had one each. (It's the second year in a row that the breakdown was exactly the same among the conferences; last year, the winners were Florida, LSU, North Carolina, UConn and Washington, respectively.)

As for the Elite Eight slots (there were 42), the SEC led with 10, followed by the Big 12 and Pac-10 with seven each, the ACC with six, the Big East and Big Ten with three each, the Mountain West and WAC with two each and the Atlantic 10 and Horizon with one each.

Both of the Mountain West's came from TCU, with was in the Fiesta Bowl and the College World Series. They were one of nine schools with at least two "Elite" appearances. Florida led with three (football, baseball, softball), and Baylor (men's and women's basketball), Duke (men's and women's basketball), Florida State (baseball and women's basketball), Kentucky (men's and women's basketball), Oklahoma (baseball and women's basketball), Tennessee (men's basketball and softball) and UCLA (baseball and softball) were the others with two.

The winner: The SEC. This is easy. The SEC won two national titles and had the most "elite" appearances.

THE CHAMPIONSHIP METHOD

There are 37 national titles available to Division I teams (three of those - fencing, rifle and skiing - are open to all divisions), with two in football (FBS and FCS).

The ACC and Pac-10 each had eight team champions. The Big Ten was next with five, followed by the Big 12 and SEC with four and the Big East with two.

The Big East situation is interesting. Villanova is a Big East school in all sports except football, where it is a FCS program in the Colonial Athletic Association. Villanova won the women's cross country title but it also won the FCS football title, meaning it won titles for two leagues.

In all, 10 Division I conferences won at least one title. That includes the Colonial with Villanova for FCS football; the Mountain West with TCU for rifle; the Northeast with Fairleigh Dickinson for bowling; and the Sun Belt, with Denver winning the ski title. The Sun Belt does not sponsor skiing, but we're giving the league the title because Denver's main program is men's basketball, which is in the Sun Belt. Two Division II schools won titles -- Minnesota-Duluth in women's ice hockey and Augusta (Ga.) State in men's golf.

Winner: The ACC. The ACC and the Pac-10 had the same number of titles with eight, and each also won one of the "Big Five" - Duke with men's basketball for the ACC and UCLA with softball for the Pac-10. But men's basketball trumps softball, so we'll go with the ACC.

Grid bits

The tenure of USC running back coach Todd McNair ended with little fanfare last week, as he lost his job when his contract ran out Wednesday. McNair, of course, was the assistant that the NCAA ruled had knowledge of Reggie Bush's dealings with marketing agents.

Alabama has moved its game against FCS program Georgia State - playing its first season of football this fall - from Nov. 20 to Nov. 18. We could make a joke and say the Thursday night game now is akin to a Thursday night practice, but we won't - because the practice would be tougher. Alabama plays Auburn on Nov. 27 and Auburn is off Nov. 20; by moving the Georgia State game, the Tide gets two extra days of rest.

Last week, we mentioned nine teams hoping to win conference titles despite first-year starting quarterbacks. One of those was West Virginia sophomore Geno Smith. It turns out that Smith has not recovered all that well from a broken foot suffered in January conditioning drills. He told the Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette last week that he's still "in the recovery process." Smith is working in seven-on-seven drills and throwing to his receivers, but his full mobility has yet to return.

Two key receivers for USF could miss the season; both also could return at some point during the season. Senior A.J. Love, the leading returning receiver and a projected starter, blew out his knee during spring practice. Last week, Sterling Griffin - in the mix for a starting job but a solid backup at the least - suffered a fractured ankle during a workout. Griffin is expected to miss at least two months, but USF coach Skip Holtz has said Griffin "very definitely" will play this season. Right now, a backup wide receiver is Evan Landi - who's also the No. 2 quarterback.

What does winning do for you? Just ask SMU. The school hired June Jones after the 2007 season and is paying him upward of $2 million per season. It looks as if the salary is worth it. The SMU athletic department said it set a fund-raising record for the second consecutive season and that all premium seating is sold out for the 2010 home schedule. Jones guided SMU to a bowl last season, its first postseason appearance since 1984.

Houston is a hot program right now, and as such, the school is discussing building a new stadium. The school released early plans for a 40,000-seat on-campus stadium.

Army is playing Notre Dame at Yankee Stadium this fall. The Black Knights announced late last month that they will play Rutgers at the stadium in 2011 and Air Force in 2012.

Eastern Washington, a FCS program, recently held a ground-breaking ceremony for the new field at the school. The turf will be red and will be named Roos Field, in honor of Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Michael Roos, an alum who donated $500,000 to the project. The red field makes its debut Sept. 18, when the Eagles play FCS powerhouse Montana.

Conference breakdown
Here's a look at national titles by league. There are 37 national titles, including two in football (FBS and FCS). "Big Six" conferences won 33 of them, the same number as last year.
ACC (8)
Field hockey: North Carolina
Men's basketball: Duke
Men's ice hockey: Boston College
Men's lacrosse: Duke
Men's soccer: Virginia
Rowing: Virginia
Women's lacrosse: Maryland
Women's soccer: North Carolina
Pac-10 (8)
Men's volleyball: Stanford
Men's water polo: USC
Men's tennis: USC
Softball: UCLA
Women's gymnastics: UCLA
Women's indoor track: Oregon
Women's tennis: Stanford
Women's water polo: USC
Big Ten (5)
Fencing: Penn State
Men's gymnastics: Michigan
Women's golf: Purdue
Women's volleyball: Penn State
Wrestling: Iowa
Big 12 (4)
Men's cross country: Oklahoma State
Men's outdoor track: Texas A&M
Men's swimming: Texas
Women's outdoor track: Texas A&M
SEC (4)
Baseball: South Carolina
Football (FBS): Alabama
Men's indoor track: Florida
Women's swimming: Florida
Big East (2)
Women's basketball: Connecticut
Women's cross country: Villanova
Colonial (1)
Football (FCS): Villanova
Peach Belt (1)
Men's golf: Augusta State
Mountain West (1)
Rifle: TCU
Northeast (1)
Bowling: Fairleigh Dickinson
Northern Sun (1)
Women's ice hockey: Minnesota-Duluth
Sun Belt (1)
Skiing: Denver

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.



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