Posted on: August 5, 2010 12:54 pm

Flourishing Five honorable mention

Over the past three weeks we've run a series on ranking the five schools we believe have the best combined football/basketball programs. Not surprisingly, it stirred much debate regarding the order of the top five and the teams that got left out.

Flourishing Five series rundown
No. 5 Pittsburgh: Football | Basketball
No. 4 Wisconsin: Football | Basketball
No. 3 Ohio State: Football | Basketball
No. 2 Texas: Football | Basketball
No. 1 Florida: Football | Basketball
The "chosen ones" were determined by a small group that included myself (as the college basketball production editor), college football production editor J. Darin Darst, college football senior writer Dennis Dodd and college basketball senior writer Gary Parrish.

Now, hopefully, you didn't gloss over the italicized print at the top of every article with included the phrase: ranks and profiles the schools who’ve positioned themselves for success now and into the future in both sports.

So it became of balance of recent/current performance (using a five-year span as our benchmark) and our expectations of what the future holds (looking five years ahead) for these programs.

Florida's four combined championships (two in football and two in basketball) over the past five years made them an easy choice for No. 1. Even without Tim Tebow, the football team is well positioned for continued success under coach Urban Meyer and basketball team is back on the rise after missing the NCAA tournament two straight seasons following their championship runs.

Deciding who was No. 2 between Texas and Ohio State was a little more difficult. Ultimately, Dodd felt that conference expansion wranglings this summer showed just how powerful Texas had become in college athletics and argued that gave them the edge. In reality, we're splitting hairs as both programs are exceptional.

Now where it really got interesting for us was choosing teams 4 and 5. In alphabetical order the teams we brought up for consideration were: BYU, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

After doing the statistical research, we were rather surprised at just how well Wisconsin showed in both sports. Nothing flashy, just solid results year in and year out. And they do so without the high-profile recruits you find at other major college programs. They're the epitome of blue collar teams.

At No. 5, it came down to Big East rivals West Virginia and Pitt. The consternation of Mountaineers fans didn't got unnoticed when Pitt came in at No. 5 and Wisconsin was unveiled at No. 4 a few days later.

To break this particular tie, it was feelings on the futures of the two football programs that broke the tie. Both basketball teams are superb, each accruing eight NCAA tournament wins over the past five seasons. Notably Pitt was the only team that we considered for the Flourishing Five series that managed at least one tournament victory in each of the past five years.

Now clearly West Virginia has had more overall success in football the past five years. But Dodd believes that Pitt is on the rise under coach Dave Wannstedt and isn't sold that West Virginia will remain a power under Bill Stewart. Therefore the Panthers came in at No. 5, while West Virginia just missed out.

BYU, Oklahoma and North Carolina were a little bit further behind.

BYU, like Wisconsin, has been solid for the past several years in both sports, but what eliminated the Cougars from top five consideration was the fact they had managed to make it out of the first round just once in the past five years.

Oklahoma just didn't have the past stats and the basketball team could soon be facing sanctions for NCAA recruiting violations. The Sooners have lost three of their past five bowl games and have finished the season with three or more losses in four of the past five seasons.

North Carolina is an interesting one. A year after winning the title, the Tar Heels missed the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2002. However, all signs point to the team returning to prominence in 2010. But the football team under Butch Davis is still somewhat of a question mark. While improved the team has yet to win a bowl game under Davis, losing to West Virginia 31-30 in the 2008 Meineke Car Care Bowl and falling to Pittsburgh 19-17 in the 2009 Car Care Bowl.

And with that, we close the book on our Flourishing Five series. My guess is the griping still isn't done, but at least now you've gained a little more insight into how the final rankings came to be.

Posted on: August 5, 2010 12:50 pm
Edited on: August 6, 2010 3:39 pm

Worst combined NCAA football/basketball schools

It's pretty clear which schools are among the best combined football/basketball programs, but what about the worst?

Flourishing Five series rundown
No. 5 Pittsburgh: Football | Basketball
No. 4 Wisconsin: Football | Basketball
No. 3 Ohio State: Football | Basketball
No. 2 Texas: Football | Basketball
No. 1 Florida: Football | Basketball
Among the BCS schools, there aren't many that are absolutely atrocious in both sports. Bad in one and average to good in the other or simply mediocre, but not awful.

Washington State is part of the former. They're very bad in football, going 18-42 over the past five seasons and 3-22 the last two years. But in basketball they're nothing better than average after reaching the tournament in 2007 and 2008. Prior to those breakout seasons, the Cougars had 10 straight losing seasons. They've been 17-16 and 16-15 the past two seasons.

Indiana is another team you can throw into the mix for BCS worst. The Hoosiers are 23-37 in football over last five years, but we'd be remiss if we didn't point out that the team was hit by tragedy in 2007 when coach Terry Hoeppner succumbed to complications from brain cancer. Recruiting violations under former coach Kelvin Sampson has rocked the basketball program. Tom Crean has been tasked with trying to dig out from the rubble, but it's not an easy process. The Hoosiers were 6-25 in 2008-09 and 10-21 last season.

Inconsistency has dogged the Michigan program. Lloyd Carr's final season as coach in 2007 was marred by a stunning loss to D-I FCS team Appalachian State. Rich Rodriguez took over and he's 8-16 in two season (3-9 in 2008, 5-7 last season). Though the Wolverines basketball team did reach the NCAA tournament in 2009, they were 10-22 during the 2007-08 season and 15-17 last year.

We could be here all day picking on non-BCS schools. Among the worst we came across ...

Eastern Michigan: 12-47 in football over the past five years, 0-12 last year and 1-11 in 2006. The basketball team was actually pretty decent last year going 17-15. It was the first time they finished above .500 in 10 years.

FIU: The Golden Panthers are 14-45 in football over the past five years. They went 0-12 in 2006 and 1-11 in 2007. They haven't had a winning season in basketball since 1999-2000 and have averaged only 10 wins a season the past five seasons.

Tulane: The Green Wave are 15-44 in football over five years, 3-9 and 2-10 the past two seasons. The basketball team has also take a nosedive, falling to 8-22 last season.

Hawaii: At the start of the decade, the Warriors were actually a pretty decent hoops team with eight straight winnings season. But the last three years performance has dropped with finishes of 11-19, 13-17 and 10-20.  The football team enjoyed a resurgence under head coach Junes Jones. It's tough to say where the program is headed under Greg McMackin, who is 13-14 in his two seasons since taking over for Jones, who left for SMU.

I couldn't bring myself to add Army to the list. Yes, they've been bad (very bad) in both sports, but they also operate in a different manner than most other schools. I wasn't sure it was a fair comparison.

So who are some other schools who deserve to be on the worst list?


Posted on: March 20, 2010 9:41 pm
Edited on: March 20, 2010 9:50 pm

History lesson of 9 seeds to upset 1 seeds

In the history of the NCAA tournament, a No. 9 seed had beaten a No. 1 seed in the second round just three times. Northern Iowa's 69-67 victory over Kansas on Saturday made it four. But what does the future hold for the Panthers? Well, history says momentum is fleeting.


Midwest Regional coverage

Gregg Doyel
Not sure where this ranks on the NCAA Tournament Upset Meter -- but it's somewhere near the top. Read more


Farokhmanesh seals it with big trey

Panthers' Jacobson, Farokhmanesh, Koch


Panthers do the impossible

First No. 1 falls | Biggest upset ever?

Message boards: Northern Iowa | Kansas

Regional coverage

East | West | Midwest | South

UTEP was the first No. 9 seed to earn a second round victory over a No. 1 seed, taking down Kansas 66-60.

It was quite an interesting strategy employed by the Miners, who had defeated Evansville 55-50 in the first round. For the first time all season, they used a spread offense, slowing down the game and befuddling coach Roy Williams and his Jayhawks.

Read the AP recap

UTEP hasn't won an NCAA tournament game since. They lost to Cincinnati, 69-67, in the next round.


A couple of years after UTEP, Boston College became the second No. 9 seed to stage a second-round upset of a No. 1 seed. The Eagles hit 12 3-pointers en route to a 75-72 victory over North Carolina, the defending national champions.

Boston College would go on to defeat Bobby Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers in the regional semifinals before its Cinderella run came to an end at the hands of the Florida Gators in the regional final.

Read more about Boston College's 1994 NCAA tournament run


It would be a decade before another 9 seed cracked the code on a 1 seed, this time UAB doing the honors against Kentucky. Mo Finley made a 17-foot jumper with 12.2 seconds left to lift UAB to a 76-75 victory as Kentucky's Gerald Fitch missed a 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds left and Chuck Hayes' tip rolled off the rim just before the final horn.

Read the AP recap

UAB, though, couldn't keep the upset train going as it was blown out in the next round by Kansas 100-74.

Posted on: March 26, 2009 3:37 pm

March Madness! How are your brackets doing?

Wow. I can't believe it has been more than a month since I last put finger to keyboard to post a blog. After the Daytona 500, all my energy has been focused on college basketball for the most part.

With our Bubble Watch feature I correctly pegged 64 of the 65 teams in the NCAA tournament field. I included San Diego State and left out Arizona. I had Arizona as one of the last two out along with St. Mary's.

So then it was on to making bracket predictions.

On my "expert" bracket posted on the site, I picked a Lousville-UNC final with the Cardinals taking the championship. I'm the only one of our "experts" that didn't choose UNC as the champion. Overall that bracket has taken quite a beating, though seven of my Elite 8 are still alive and all my Final Four teams remain intact.

But I'm a man of many brackets, and because I'm not sold entirely Louisville, I have UNC as champion in one of my brackets and UConn in another. I think the champion will come from among those three teams.

I'm not sold on Pitt, but I think that's due in large part because they've failed me in the past. That backfired on me last year when I strayed away from Memphis and Kansas because of past tourney transgressions. We'll see if it hurts me again.

There are some commonalties among all my brackets.

1. Louisville and Pitt were the two teams that I had in the Final Four of all my brackets.

2. In addition to Louisville and Pitt, I had UConn, UNC, Gonzaga, Syracuse and Oklahoma reaching the Sweet 16 in all my brackets.

3. In the West I generally had UConn or Memphis reaching the Final Four and in the South either UNC or Oklahoma

The biggest mistake -- up to this point at least -- that I made in all my brackets:

1. I didn't have Villanova or Michigan State making it out of the second round of any of my brackets. 

Posted on: October 31, 2008 2:54 pm

College basketball conference primers

So you may or may not have noticed (and may or may not care) that I haven't blogged in a couple weeks.

That's because I've been diligently preparing conference primers for your perusal. Not a simple task considering there are 31 conferences (excluding independents). Gary Parrish will be providing commentary/predictions on the big six conferences (ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC) over the coming days, but you can find the remainder of the conferences and all our college basketball season preview material at the following link:

We've also had several community members give their conference predictions and we've included links to some of those blogs as well. If you've written about a conference that we haven't posted a blog for -- surely we have some WAC fans out there -- just send a reply my way with a link to your blog and we'll see what we can do about hooking your blog up.

Less than two weeks to the first tip of the season. Enjoy.

Posted on: October 15, 2008 4:35 pm

Of nicknames and logos ....

OK, so I'm doing my due diligence and checking the site to see whether we have updated logos for all the D-I teams in preparation for the upcoming college basketball season and I come across the interesting tail, er, tale of the South Dakota State Jackrabbits.

Well, at least interesting to me. I have a bit of a fascination with team logos, especially those that fall outside the norm. Bears, Tigers and Bulldogs and the like are a dime a dozen, but you don't see many Jackrabbits out there.

The minor leagues of baseball and hockey are lush with interesting names and logos. We had an IHL team in Orlando back in the day dubbed the Orlando Solar Bears. Get it? Solar Bears?

I bought a Bradford Fighting Squirrels hat back in the day for the sole reason that I liked their logo (check it out:

That was a while ago, so while it was on my mind, I figured I'd scurry the web to see if the logo had changed at all. And you know what I discovered? The school doesn't even exist anymore!

RIP Fighting Squirrels

Anyhoo, back to the Jackrabbits. Cool nickname. In fact, they may very well be the only Jackrabbits in all of the NCAA. So they get an A+ for nickname originality.

As for the logo, in the one they've replaced seen to the right here, the rabbit had a passing similarity to Bugs Bunny. So in 2005, with the school transitioning to D-I athletics, officials began to toss around the idea of replacing the logo.

Eventually they decided to hire a design firm for $6,000 to create a new logo. The firm began early renderings in Oct. 2006 with plans to unveil a new official design in Feb. 2007.

And that's where the story takes its twist. Come Feb. 2007 there was no logo to unveil. A commitee put together to approve the new logo, did not like the logos the firm was coming up with and eventually became so frustrated it staged a $1,000 contest for someone to come up with the new logo.

And sure enough it was a contest winner that designed the schools new logo. In fact there were two winners, the logo with the actual Jackrabbit image was designed by two brothers from a graphic firm in Denver, while the Jacks logo with the ears and tail was designed by somebody else. So the school actually has two different styles of logos.

If you really want a thorough timeline of the evolution of the Jacks logo, I recommend this story --
  -- while taking in all the various offshoots to The Collegian, which detailed the trials and tribulations. And if you scroll down toward the bottom of the comments section of the aforementioned story, you'll see the logos the design firm had come up with. I can see why the logo committee was frustrated.

I'd definitely rate the new logo an improvement over the old logo, and give it a solid B. Ideally, they would have found a way to combine the typographical Jacks with the Rabbit logo.

New Jackrabbits logo

Posted on: July 9, 2008 4:18 pm

National Champions All-Stars Bracket

So I'm taking a break from my usual motorsports commentary to bring you a little ....

college basketball?

Yup. That's right. A little choops in July.

This being the dog days of summer for college basketball, we put together a little feature to hopefully fill the void for a little bit. Get the passions running of the diehard college basketball fan.

What we've done is taken the six programs with the most NCAA Tournament championships (UCLA, Kentucky, Indiana, North Carolina, Duke and Kansas) and pitted them against each other featuring rosters of some of their all-time greatest players .... with one little rinkle. The All-Stars in this particular contest must have won a championship while at the school. So Kansas fans, sorry to disappoint you, but no Wilt Chamberlain.

Click here for further details:

First-round matchups: North Carolina-Duke | Indiana-Kansas

UCLA and Kentucky earned opening round byes by virtue of having the most national championships. If people vote with heads and not their hearts and/or hatred of a certain team, UCLA should win this thing hands down. We haven't revealed who is on UCLA's roster just yet, but you can probably make an educated guess as to who made the cut.

As for the first-round matchups, my feeling is the Indiana-Kansas matchup could go either way. I don't see either roster with a particularly distinct advantage.

The Duke-UNC matchup is just "wow". Man that would be a awesome matchup of these longtime rivals in their college primes. I acutally think the Blue Devils would prevail in this hypothetical matchup -- and I'm as anti-Duke as they come.

Let the debate begin ...

First-round matchups: North Carolina-Duke | Indiana-Kansas

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 15, 2008 9:43 am

Put the biscuit in the basket


Have they made the rims smaller or something?

Just this past week, you had Savannah State held to a record 4 points in the second half against Kansas State in an 85-25 loss back on Jan. 7.

Then St. Louis scores all of 20 points -- 20 freakin' points! A record low total -- in a 49-20 loss to George Washington.

I kind of understand Savannah State's woeful performance as they were overmatched vs. a Big 12 team. Quite frankly, what's Savannah State doing in Division I in the first place?

Unfortunately, Division I college basketball has about 40 Savannah State's mucking things up.

New Jersey Tech? North Florida? Kennesaw State? Longwood? Did you even realize these are Division I schools? Are you kidding me? But that's a rant for another day.

Back to the business at hand.

What's the Billikens' execuse? This isn't some infant program and they were playing against a team that, statistically, they were superior too.

So what happened? The were 7 for 48 from the field. They missed 23 consecutive shots. They were 1 of 19 from 3-point range. I've never seen such ineptitude.

But I actually think the worst stinker of all came via Michigan State on Saturday.

The Spartans could manage a pitiful 36 points in a loss to Iowa. Sure they didn't set any records, but going into the game they were the sixth-ranked team in the nation sporting a stellar 14-1 mark. So how does this happen? How does a team with championship aspirations manage only 36 points?

Sadly, I don't think we've seen the end of this atrocious scoring as its been happening all season. Remember that 47-44 barnburner between Louisville and Miami (Ohio)?

Based on the way teams have been shooting this year, I think another team is going to give the Billikens a run for their money.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or