July 3, 2008

Texas moves to top of combined rankings

Inside Look: Steve Megargee breaks down the combined rankings

When Rivals.com ranked the schools with the most successful combination of football and men's basketball programs in late January, we got plenty of requests to add baseball to the mix.

Best of BCS Era (Minimum 4 pts/sport)
Best since 1974 (Minimum 10 pts/sport)
BY SPORT: Football | Basketball | Baseball
Share of National Title = 10 points
Runner-up = 7 points*
Top 4 ranking = 5 points
No. 5-8 = 3 points
No. 9-16 = 2 points
Bowl win, outside top 16 = 1 point
Bowl loss, outside top 16 = 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 points
First-round loss (since 1979) = 0.5 points
College World Series title = 10 points
CWS Runner-up = 7 points
Third or fourth in CWS = 5 points
Third or fourth in CWS = 3 points
Super regional loser = 2 points**
Regional runner-up = 1 points***
Regional participant = 0.5 points
* - In the pre-BCS era, the No. 2 team in the AP poll was awarded the 7 points. However, during the BCS era, the BCS title game loser was awarded 7 points.
** - The NCAA didn't start using the super regional format until 1999. For years before 1999, the second-place team in each of the eight regionals received 2 points each.
*** - The regional runner-up received two points each before the 1999 season, when the eight regional winners advanced to the College World Series. Before 1999, teams that finished in third or fourth place in their respective regionals earned 1 point each, with the fifth- or sixth-place teams getting a half-point. Since 1999, only teams that finished second in their regionals received 1 point. The rest of the regional participants earned a half-point.
Now that the 2007-08 basketball and baseball seasons are complete, we've done exactly that. And that's good news for Texas fans.

We used a similar mathematical formula to the one we employed in January to find out which schools had the best combination of football, basketball and baseball since the start of the BCS era (the 1998-99 school year). That also happened to be the year that college baseball began using the "super regional" format.

We also extended our analysis to find out which program has enjoyed the most football, basketball and baseball success since the 1974-75 school year, which marked the first year that more than one school from each conference could earn an NCAA Tournament bid in basketball.

When we put these lists out in January including only football and basketball, Oklahoma topped the rankings since 1974 and Florida owned the No. 1 spot in the BCS-era list. Once we factored in baseball, Texas soared to the top of both rankings.

Texas has won four College World Series (1975, 1983, 2002 and 2005), has earned one Final Four bid (2003), had three more appearances in the Elite Eight in basketball (1990, 2006 and 2008) and has finished 16th or better in the final Associated Press football poll 17 times since 1974.

The Longhorns have two national championships in baseball, one more in football (2005), one Final Four appearance and two more trips to the regional final during the BCS era alone.

Our final list of the top combined athletic departments from the BCS era only included teams that had earned at least four points for each sport. The older list that dated to the 1974-75 school year required schools to have at least 10 points in each sport. That eliminated basketball powers such as Duke and football heavyweights such as Nebraska from being considered unless they'd earned at least a modest level of success in all three sports. Only 24 schools qualified for the 1974 list once baseball was added; only 20 qualified for the BCS-era rankings.

We've also included a separate list showing the schools with the strongest baseball programs based on our mathematical formula.

Miami collected the most points of any team since 1974, while Stanford topped the BCS-era list. Even though Stanford hasn't won a national title during the BCS era, the Cardinal racked up plenty of points by reaching the College World Series three times (2000, 2001, 2003) and finishing in the top four on three other occasions (1999, 2002, 2008).

Inside Look: Steve Megargee breaks down the combined rankings

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


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