Louisiana, the only school in the nation where its baseball and softball teams have reached the NCAA Super Regionals in the past two seasons, recorded a regular-season title in softball, a Sun Belt Conference Tournament title in baseball, a fourth straight bowl victory on the gridiron and reached the post-season in both men's and women's basketball.
The final standings marked Louisiana's second straight finish in the top 50 after the Ragin' Cajuns were 34th overall after an historic athletic campaign in 2013-14.
Five sports -- football, men's basketball, women's basketball, baseball and a "wild card" sport (which took the best season performance from a group that includes: softball, men's lacrosse, men's ice hockey, men's soccer, wrestling, volleyball, women's soccer or women's gymnastics) – were rated in the poll.
The CBSSports.com formula -- which takes into account only schools that field FBS football programs -- weighed football three times as much, while men's basketball is worth twice as many points as the other sports that are part of the formula. General fan and media interest in those sports, relative to the others that were part of the survey, informed that part of the formula.
Finishing with 223 points in the CBSSports.com formula, Louisiana finished fourth overall among schools in the Group of 5 behind Boise State (25th, 303), BYU (40th, 240) and San Diego State (42nd, 225). The Ragin' Cajuns earned 75 points in football after posting a fourth straight 9-4 record under head coach Mark Hudspeth that was culminated by a 16-3 victory over Nevada in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.
Led by veteran coaches Michael Lotief (softball) and Tony Robichaux (baseball), the Ragin' Cajuns softball and baseball teams each recorded 64 points by virtue of their respective appearances in the NCAA Super Regionals. The men's basketball team, led by head coach Bob Marlin, earned 20 points in the poll after winning 22 games and securing a berth in the CollegeInsider.com (CIT) Tournament.
NACDA has been ranking athletic programs for years, but weighs every sport equally, meaning a football national title is worth the same number of points (100) as a women's water polo title. But the CBSSports.com "Best in College Sports Award" is more reflective of those sports that generate the broadest base of fan and media interest.
Ohio State finished No. 1 in the ranking of 128 FBS schools on the list with 550 points with Louisville (488), UCLA (480.5), Oregon (468) and Florida State (462) rounding out the top five. Michigan State (459.5) was ranked sixth followed by Wisconsin (442), Maryland (422), Duke (422) and Notre Dame (419).
OSU received 300 points for winning the football national title (100 points times three). Oregon finished second in the AP Top 25 for football and was awarded 270 points. Football teams that finished with a winning record or went to a bowl game, but didn't rank in the final AP poll, received 75 points (25 points times three). Teams that were bowl-eligible, but didn't play in the postseason were awarded 30 points.
For all titles that were settled via a bracket, point totals were based on via how many teams filled out the bracket. Duke's national title in men's basketball was worth 200 points. Teams that made the NIT, CBI or CIT were given 20 points (10 points times two).