The College World Series marked the end of the college athletics season, and I thought it would be fun – as well as time-consuming as we look for some ways to pass the time before football kicks off – to look at how the "Big Six" conferences fared across the board in athletics.
There are a couple of ways to compare, and I admit that none is particularly scientific. Still, like I said, it's fun. So, here we go.
THE DIRECTORS' CUP METHOD
The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics – in short, a sort of athletic directors union – annually presents the Directors' Cup to honor what the group calls "the best overall collegiate athletics program in the country."
PILING IT ON
Schools that won multiple titles (remember that there are 37 titles; these seven schools combined to win 13 of them):
The national titles won by schools in each league (the "Big Six" leagues won 30 of the 37 titles, all but baseball, bowling, women's hockey, rifle, rowing and skiing; there are two titles in football):
Field hockey: North Carolina
Men's ice hockey: Boston College
Men's soccer: Wake Forest
Men's outdoor track: Florida State
BIG EAST (1)
Men's lacrosse: Syracuse
BIG TEN (5)
Fencing: Ohio State
Women's lacrosse: Northwestern
Men's volleyball: Penn State
Women's volleyball: Penn State
To no one's surprise, Stanford is the 2007-08 winner. We say it's no surprise because Stanford has won the trophy 14 consecutive years. UCLA was second for the third year in a row.
Four Pac-10 schools were in the top seven, five in the top 13 and eight in the top 27 (each league school except Washington State, which was 73rd, and Oregon State, which was 89th).
The SEC had seven of the top 25, led by Florida at No. 6 (the 24th consecutive top-10 finish for the Gators). The SEC had three in the top 10 and five in the top 20.
The Big Ten had six of the top 29, with Michigan the highest at No. 3. The league had three of the top 11 and four of the top 18.
The Big 12 had one in the top 10 (Texas, at No. 5), two in the top 12 (Texas A&M was 12th) and three in the top 23 (Oklahoma was 23rd).
The ACC and Big East didn't have any schools in the top 10. The first ACC school was North Carolina at 14th. The first Big East school was Notre Dame at 21st (the Irish are in the Big East for every sport except football). The ACC has four of the top 19, and the Big East two in the top 30.
The winner: 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 (actually 10 spots in football, using the BCS bowls as the measuring stick) among the "Big Five."
The SEC won two titles, in football (LSU) and women's basketball (Tennessee). The Big 12 (Kansas in men's basketball), Pac-10 (Arizona State in softball) and Western Athletic (Fresno State in baseball) each won one.
And as far as filling the Elite Eight slots (there were 42 of them), the ACC and SEC each had eight, the Pac-10 had seven, the Big 12 had six, the Big East had four, Conference USA, the Big Ten and the WAC each had two and the Atlantic 10, Southern and Sun Belt each had one. Interestingly, both of the Big Ten's were in football, with Illinois in the Rose Bowl and Ohio State in the title game.
The winner: SEC.
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 (Division I-A and Division I-AA).
Among Division I leagues, the Pac-10 was the runaway winner in the number of team champions with 13. The Big Ten and SEC tied for second with five. The ACC, with four, and the Big 12, with two, were the only other leagues to win multiple titles. Leagues that won one title were the Big East, Ivy, Mid-Eastern Athletic, Southern, Sun Belt and Western Athletic. Members of two Division II leagues also won titles: Alaska-Fairbanks of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference won the rifle title, and Minnesota-Duluth of the North Central Conference won the women's hockey crown.
One thing to remember is that while the NCAA awards titles in 37 sports, not every conference sponsors each sport. For instance, Denver won the skiing title, but no conference sponsors skiing. For the purpose of this exercise, Denver is said to belong to the Sun Belt Conference because that is the conference of the Pioneers' most prominent sport (men's basketball). (And, yes, we have noticed the irony of a skiing title being won by a team in the Sun Belt Conference.)
• Five seniors went in the first round of the NBA draft, the second-lowest total this decade behind the four picked in 2001 and '04. Six went in the first round in 2007, eight in 2006, 11 in 2000 and '05, nine in '03 and seven in '02.
• The Pac-10 dominated the first round of the NBA draft with more than a quarter of the 30 selections. Seven Pac-10 players went in the first round, including three of the top five and five of the top 11. The Big 12 was second with four, followed by the Big East and Big Ten with three each and the SEC with two. Conferences with one first-rounder were the ACC, Conference USA, Metro Atlantic, Mountain West, Summit, Sun Belt and Western Athletic.
• The one ACC player picked in the first round was North Carolina State forward J.J. Hickson. His selection meant the ACC has had at least one first-round pick in each of the past 20 drafts, the longest such streak in the nation.
• The Pac-10 had the most players selected overall, with 12. The Big 12 was second with 10, if you include second-round pick Mike Taylor (more on him in a minute), followed by the SEC with six, the ACC, Big East and C-USA with four and the Big Ten with three.
• As for Taylor, he was selected in the second round by Portland, then dealt to the Los Angeles Clippers. He was drafted out of the NBA's developmental league – the first time for such an occurrence. Taylor starred for Iowa State in 2006-07, earning honorable mention All-Big 12 honors after averaging 16.0 points and 4.5 assists. But he was kicked out of Iowa State in July 2007 after some run-ins with the law and chose to play in the NBDL. Taylor helped the NBDL's Idaho Stampede to the league title, and Iowa State coach Greg McDermott – who has stayed in close contact with Taylor – told The Associated Press that he was "very proud of Mike. It's always been his dream to play in the NBA, and I'm hopeful that becomes a reality for him."
• Mississippi Valley State picked Sean Woods as its new coach last week. Woods, who had been an assistant at TCU, replaces James Green – who left for Jacksonville State. Woods is No. 5 on Kentucky's career assist list and was UK's point guard in the famous – or infamous, depending on your point of view – Duke-Kentucky regional final in 1992 decided by Christian Laettner's miracle jumper.
• Backup Louisville defensive tackle Aundre Henderson has decided to give up football. A backup defensive lineman leaving isn't that big a deal – except that Henderson's departure means 21 scholarship players have left the team in the past 15 months.
• From the "Wow. Really?" department: In a statement released Friday, the lawyers for former Alabama linebacker Jimmy Johns said their client is "distraught over his arrest" earlier last week. He was charged with five felony counts of cocaine distribution and one felony count of drug possession. The statement also said Johns is " deeply saddened" that his arrest has hurt his family.
• Move over, T. Boone Pickens – well, a little bit, anyway. Oklahoma State alum Malone Mitchell has donated $57.2 million worth of SandRidge Energy stock to the school – half to be used on academic programs, the other half on athletics. That should come in handy as Oklahoma State continues on its $185 million stadium renovation. The school also has plans to begin work on an indoor practice facility – expected to cost between $40 million and $50 million – later this year.
• Last year at this time, Rutgers unveiled a Web site touting Heisman contender Ray Rice. Last week, West Virginia unveiled a Web site touting Heisman contender Pat White.
Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.