Taking titles in two sports?

Everything used to be so simple. You had your football schools, and you had your basketball schools. The football schools (Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma) thrived on the gridiron and struggled on the hardwood, while the basketball schools thrived on the hardwood and struggled on the gridiron.

Now the line has been blurred a bit. Many of the basketball schools (Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, Indiana, UCLA, Vanderbilt) continue to flounder in football but a surprising number of football schools have begun making a mark on the hoops landscape, as well.

Exhibit A: Florida and Ohio State met for the NCAA football title in January, then met again for the NCAA basketball title Monday night. Clearly, the Gators and Buckeyes are proof that a school can field elite teams in both sports. Texas has done the same thing in recent years, with LSU, Louisville and Alabama close behind.

Pat Forde of espn.com touched on this theme in a column posted April 1 entitled "Buckeyes and Gators lead the Mega-program parade." Forde believes five schools in addition to Ohio State and Florida are capable of making a run at national titles in both revenue sports. The five are Southern Cal, Texas, Louisville, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

Here's what Forde has to say about the Vols:

"Tennessee. In two seasons, Bruce Pearl has pushed the Volunteers back into the NCAA Tournament - winning one game last year and two this year, and very nearly eliminating Ohio State in the Sweet 16. Football is actually the program having traction issues, but putting 110,000 fans in the Neyland Stadium stands keeps the cash registers ringing."

Forde also lists five "notorious underachievers" that excel on the gridiron but continue to fall flat on the hardwood. These are Penn State, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State and Nebraska. Here's what he has to say about Auburn:

"Auburn. Has missed the past four NCAA Tournaments, and six of the past seven. Jeff Lebo is trying to produce a slow and steady turnaround but hasn't yet broken through in the fluid SEC West."

Finally, Forde lists five basketball schools that have never found the winning formula for football – Duke, North Carolina, Arizona, Illinois and Kentucky. Here's his take on the Big Blue:

"Kentucky. The Wildcats turned a corner this past fall by winning eight games, including a bowl, and should be at least as good this year. But upward mobility in the SEC East is always difficult."


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