May 5, 2011

Gators remain atop combined standings

MORE: Combined football-basketball standings in the BCS era

This wasn't a dream year for Florida's athletic department.

Florida's football team struggled through an 8-5 season and suffered an even bigger loss off the field with the departure of Urban Meyer. Then, the Gators' bid for the Final Four ended when they fell to Butler in overtime in the Southwest Regional final after leading virtually the entire way.

Share of national title: 10 points
BCS championship game loser: 7 points
Top-4 ranking: 5 points
No. 5-8: 3 points
No. 9-16: 2 points
No. 17-25: 1 point
Unranked team with bowl bid: 0.5 points
National title: 10 points
Runner-up: 7 points
Final Four: 5 points
Elite Eight: 3 points
Sweet 16: 2 points
Round of 32: 1 point
Loss before round of 32: 0.5 points
Of course, this represented a disappointing year only by Florida's lofty standards. Fans of most schools would sacrifice a month's worth of desserts for the chance to win a New Year's Day bowl and reach an NCAA tournament regional final in the same school year.

Recent history suggests no school can match Florida's combination of football and men's basketball success. Our math bears it out.

For the second consecutive year, has put together a formula to determine which schools have enjoyed the most combined success in football and men's basketball since the 1998-99 school year, which is when the "BCS era" began. Once again, Florida owns a commanding lead over the rest of the nation.

We award football teams 10 points for a national title, seven points for a loss in the BCS championship game, five points for a top-four finish in the coaches' poll that didn't include an appearance in the title game, three points for finishing fifth through eighth in the coaches' poll, two points for finishing ninth through 16th and one point for finishing 17th through 25th. Teams that played in a bowl but didn't appear in the final rankings received half a point

Our basketball scoring system grants 10 points for a national title, seven points for a loss in the NCAA tournament final, five points for an NCAA semifinal loss, three points for a regional final loss, two points for a Sweet 16 loss, one point for a loss in the Round of 32 and half a point for an earlier tournament loss.

Here's one critical point: We wanted to reward balance, so our final rankings only included schools that amassed at least 5.5 points in each sport. That's why you won't find basketball powers Duke and Kansas or football heavyweights Florida State and Miami in our rankings.

Florida led the way with 81 points, while Ohio State ranked second with 69 points. Texas, Oklahoma and USC rounded out the top five. Florida had 77.5 points last year, while Ohio State and Texas were tied for second with 64 each.

We did grant a few exceptions to the scoring system. USC and LSU each received 10 points for their respective national titles in 2003. Alabama also received two points for finishing 11th in the AP rankings in 2002, when probation prevented the Tide from appearing in the coaches' poll. USC also was given full credit for its 2004 BCS title and 2005 appearance in the BCS championship game, even though NCAA sanctions forced the Trojans to vacate 14 wins from those two seasons.

Thirty schools across the country actually posted at least 5.5 points in each sport, so we listed all of them. The list includes three newcomers: Oklahoma State, Stanford and BYU. Oklahoma State and Stanford didn't have enough football points to qualify until each team finished in the top 10 last season. BYU's Sweet 16 appearance in the 2011 NCAA tournament gave the Cougars enough basketball points to qualify this year. We also should mention that Auburn fell off the list despite winning its BCS title. Auburn had five basketball points, which was good enough to barely qualify last year. When we increased the mandatory minimums to 5.5 points in each sport because of the additional year, Auburn failed to qualify in basketball.

MORE: Combined football-basketball standings in the BCS era

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