Although from time-to-time the fans of a college will adjust the importance of sports – i.e., big swimming fans, then big women’s softball fans, then big equistrian fans – those are just distractions because the football and men’s basketball teams are not living up to hopes and/or the Big Rival.
Pete Fiutak of CollegeFootballNews.com really knows his football (note the name of the site), but he also keeps his finger on the pulse of other sports, starting with men’s basketball.
Regardless of how excited Mississippi State might be because its women’s basketball team defeated UConn, the bread and butter of any major college athletics department is its performance in the two cash cows, football and men’s basketball.
With that in mind, CFN’s Fiutak has attempted to rank the top 130 programs based on football and men’s basketball.
(See his ranking HERE)
We ordinarily agree with Fiutak, particularly in football observations, but a few of his conclusions in this ambitious rankings based on two sports are a bit baffling.
Just to get to the meat of the matter, he has Alabama ranked 10th in the nation for its combination of football and basketball rankings. Just as a reminder, Alabama was 14-1 in football, champion of the SEC and the Peach Bowl/College Football Playoff semifinal game, and came within seconds of a national championship, and 19-15 overall in basketball, but tied for fifth in the conference in a league that had three teams in the NCAA Elite Eight.
He has North Carolina (8-5 in football, but very good in basketball) as the No. 1 combo team.
We look at North Carolina’s success as No. 1 in the ACC as being that lone team out of nine selected for the NCAA Tournament that made it out of the realm of play-in games.
Florida was ranked as the No. 1 team from the Southeastern Conference (and No. 2 in the nation) in combination success. That was expected.
But South Carolina No. 7 overall and No. 3 in the SEC? That’s hard for an Alabama fan to accept when the Gamecocks were 6-7 in football and Alabama’s men’s basketball team beat South Carolina twice – once in Columbia and once in the SEC Tournament.
Kentucky was No. 8 overall, No. 3 in the conference, followed by Alabama (10 national, 4 conference), Arkansas (25-5), Vanderbilt (28-6), Georgia (40-7), Auburn (41-8), Tennessee (42-9), Texas A&M (53-10), LSU (74-11), Mississippi State (77-12), Ole Miss (98-13), and Missouri (125-14).
We would have thought by now that everyone would realize that the Big Ten being overrated in football was exceeded only by the Big Ten being overrated in basketball, but there was Michigan at No. 3 overall and Wisconsin at No. 4 overall.
Tide fans might also have an issue with Southern Cal getting the No. 6 position with a 10-3 football team that included a 52-6 loss to Alabama and a basketball team that tied for fifth in the Pac-12 – the same position in which the Tide finished in SEC basketball.
It was interesting that Troy finished 24th in the national combo rankings, making it second in the state of Alabama to The University.
Also interesting was more documentation of the dumpster fire in Austin with Texas ranked 114 out of the 130.
The CFN Top 10:
1. North Carolina, 2. Florida, 3. Michigan, 4. Wisconsin, 5. Clemson, 6. Southern Cal, 7. South Carolina, 8. Kentucky, 9. West Virginia, 10. Alabama.