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Football Schools/ Basketball Schools; Myth or Reality?

There has always seemed to be two different types of schools when it comes to big time college athletics. There are your “football schools” and your “basketball schools”. Some schools, maybe even most, would consider themselves football schools. A football school would be one that would rather win at football than basketball. Such schools would be any school from the SEC other than Kentucky, all Big 12 schools other than Kansas, all Pac 12 schools other than UCLA and Arizona. The Big Ten would all be considered “football schools” except for Indiana, Purdue and possibly Michigan State.

Then there are your “basketball schools” which would be all of the ACC other than Florida State, Miami and Virginia Tech, also the Big East schools except for possibly USF and Pittsburgh (and Notre Dame). Basketball schools, of course, are schools who would rather win at basketball than football. It isn’t that they don’t want to win at football, but if given the choice, they would pick basketball. Conventional wisdom has always been that schools need to pick one, (or maybe just want to pick one) and concentrate on it, leaving the other to suffer in mediocrity and apathy. But his may not be the case any longer.

Looking at this week’s Top 25 rankings, you may notice that there are a lot of the same schools participating in college football bowl games. Let’s look at the AP Top 10 and the schools corresponding bowl games.

1. Indiana Hoosiers– no bowl.

2. Duke Blue Devils- Belk Bowl

3. Michigan Wolverines- Capital One Bowl

4. Syracuse Orange– Pinstripe Bowl

5. Louisville Cardinals– Sugar Bowl

6. Florida Gators– Sugar Bowl

7. Ohio State Buckeyes– no bowl but was 12-0 in football

8. Arizona Wildcats– New Mexico Bowl

9. Kansas Jayhawks– no bowl

10. Gonzaga Bulldogs– does not play FBS football

So of the nine schools in the top ten in basketball that play football, seven had successful football seasons, and if not for the Buckeyes being on probation, three would be playing in BCS Bowl games.

Other schools you will find in the top 25 and also in a bowl include Cincinnati (Belk), Minnesota (Meineke Car Care), San Diego State (Poinsettia), Michigan State (Buffalo Wild Wings), Notre Dame (BCS National Championship Game), Oklahoma State (Heart of Dallas) and North Carolina State (Music City). In addition, Texas A&M, (Cotton), Alabama (BCS National Championship Game) and Baylor (Holiday) are in the top 25 in the RPI rankings.

Just about all of the aforementioned schools can be designated either as “football” or “basketball” schools. Obviously Duke, N.C State, Louisville, and Arizona would rather win at basketball. Florida, Michigan, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Alabama would rather win at football. But as we can see, it is now possible to do both.

In 2006, the Gators did exactly that. They won the BCS National Championship and the NCAA Tournament. Then to prove it was no fluke won the NCAA Tournament again in 2007 and the BCS National Championship in 2008. Interestingly, they played the Ohio State Buckeyes in the BCS National Championship GameĀ  in January of 2007 and then met them three months later in the championship game of the NCAA Tournament. Since then the Gators have been to two more Sugar Bowls and two more Elite Eights while the Buckeyes have been back to the Final Four and the BCS National Championship Game.

Louisville has been to the Final Four and a Sugar Bowl in the same year. The UConn Huskies have been to a Fiesta Bowl and won the NCAA Tournament in the same year. So it is possible to excel at both sports as many schools are now proving.

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