Tag:Best combined college football/basketball programs
Posted on: August 5, 2010 12:54 pm

Flourishing Five honorable mention

Over the past three weeks we've run a series on CBSSports.com 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: CBSSports.com 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.

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