July 3, 2008

The Big Three: Rankings since 1998

The best combined football, basketball and baseball programs since 1998 (minimum four points per sport).

Click here for the formula used to determine the standings.

The top 20 since 1998
1. Texas (29.5 football, 18.5 basketball, 39 baseball, 87 total points)
The buzz: The Longhorns have national titles in football (2005) and baseball (2002, 2005) plus a Final Four appearance in basketball (2003). They were fifth before baseball was added.
2. Miami (31.5 football, 4.5 basketball, 38.5 baseball, 74.5 total points)
The buzz: Miami didn't have enough basketball points to qualify for the football-basketball list that we released in late January, but the Hurricanes' appearance in the 2008 NCAA Tournament put them over the top.
3. Florida (27.5 football, 33 basketball, 13 baseball, 73.5 total points)
The buzz: Florida has two national championships in basketball (2006 and 2007), one more in football (2006) and also reached the College World Series final in 2005. The Gators were No. 1 before baseball was considered.
4. LSU (34.5 football, 8 basketball, 26 baseball, 68.5 total points)
The buzz: LSU has two national football titles (2003 and 2007), one College World Series championship (2000) and a Final Four appearance (2006) during the BCS era. The Tigers were sixth before baseball was added to the equation.
5. Ohio State (29.5 football, 15.5 basketball, 45 total points)
The buzz: Ohio State has two super regional appearances in baseball (1999 and 2003) to go along with a 2002 national title in football and three championship game appearances (2006 and 2007 in football, 2006 in basketball). The Buckeyes were second before baseball was added.
6. USC (43 football, 6 basketball, 12 baseball, 61 total points)
The buzz: Football is the big reason USC ranks this high, though the Trojans also made the College World Series in 1999 and 2000 and reached the Sweet 16 in basketball in 2007. USC dropped from fourth when baseball was considered.
7. Oklahoma (36 football, 14 basketball, 6 baseball, 56 total points)
The buzz: Baseball helped most Sun Belt teams in the standings, but it hurt Oklahoma, which hasn't made the College World Series and has reached just one super regional during the BCS era. OU dropped from third when baseball was considered.
8. Tennessee (24.5 football, 8.5 basketball, 8.5 baseball, 41.5 total points)
The buzz: Tennessee won the 1998 national football title, has reached the Sweet 16 in basketball in each of the past two years and advanced to the College World Series in 2001 and 2005. The Vols also were eighth before baseball was added.
9. UCLA (7.5 football, 24 basketball, 7 baseball, 38.5 total points)
The buzz: The Bruins have made the Final Four each of the past three seasons, finished eighth in the AP football rankings in 1998 and reached baseball super regionals in 2000 and 2007. UCLA was 12th before baseball was considered.
10. Arizona (5 football, 19 basketball, 8 baseball, 32 total points)
The buzz: Arizona's fourth-place finish in the 1998 AP poll gave the Wildcats enough football points to qualify, even though they haven't earned a bowl bid since. The addition of baseball to the equation helped the Wildcats move up from 13th.
11. Georgia Tech (8 football, 9 basketball, 14 baseball, 31 total points)
The buzz: Georgia Tech finished second in the 2004 NCAA Tournament, has reached two College World Series (2002 and 2006) and has earned a bowl bid each year in the BCS era. Tech was 19th before the addition of baseball.
12. Alabama (11.5 football, 6 basketball, 11 baseball, 28.5 total points)
The buzz: Alabama reached an NCAA Tournament regional final in 2004, played in the 1999 College World Series and finished 11th or better in the AP football poll three times (1999, 2002, 2005) during the BCS era. The Tide moved up six sports when baseball was added.
13. Auburn (15 football, 5 basketball, 6 baseball, 26 total points)
The buzz: Auburn's two Sweet 16 appearances (1999, 2003) gave the Tigers enough basketball points to qualify for this list. The high-water mark in all three sports during the BCS era came when an undefeated 2004 football team finished second in the AP poll. Auburn was 16th until baseball was considered.
14. Louisville (10 football, 11.5 basketball, 4 baseball, 25.5 total points)
The buzz: Louisville's surprising run to the 2007 College World Series gave the Cardinals enough baseball points to crack our rankings even though they had only made one NCAA appearance in the BCS era before that season. The addition of baseball to the mix helped Louisville move up from 17th in the standings.
15. Oklahoma State (4 football, 13 basketball, 8.5 baseball, 25.5 total points)
The buzz: The Cowboys reached the 2004 Final Four, advanced to the College World Series in 1999 and earned just enough football points to qualify for this list. They were 19 h before the addition of baseball to the equation.
16. Notre Dame (6 football, 5.5 basketball, 9 baseball, 20.5 total points)
The buzz: Here's one obvious indication of the changing times in college sports: Notre Dame actually has racked up more points in baseball during the BCS era than it earned in football or basketball. They were 31st before baseball was considered.
17. Texas A&M (5.5 football, 4 basketball, 10 baseball, 19.5 points)
The buzz: The Aggies qualified for this list by advancing at least to the second round of the NCAA basketball tournament each of the last three years after a long absence.
18. Missouri (8 football, 6 basketball, 5 baseball, 19 total points)
The buzz: Missouri might not be known for its baseball program, but the Tigers have advanced to NCAA regional competition in each of the past six years. That enabled them to move up from 26th in the rankings.
19. North Carolina State (6 football, 5.5 basketball, 7 baseball, 18.5 total points)
The buzz: The Wolfpack have six consecutive NCAA regional appearances in baseball, reached the Sweet 16 in basketball in 2005 and finished 12th in the 2002 AP football rankings. The addition of baseball to the mix enabled them to move up from 29th.
20. Arkansas (4.5 football, 4 basketball, 9 baseball, 17.5 total points)
The buzz: By reaching the second round of the 2008 NCAA basketball tournament, the Razorbacks earned just enough hoops points to qualify for the list.

Steve Megargee is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at smegargee@rivals.com.

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