Tuesday Question: If you were a top two-sport college football and college basketball athlete, what school would you choose?
Let’s just throw out the ridiculous notion that I actually care about getting the best education possible.
If I had the opportunity to choose back when I was applying for college, I’d probably have gone to Ann Arbor. But after years of Michigan people have annoying me more than just about any other fan base – including several of my best friends, who I don’t really like all that much because they use “I went to Michigan” like Trump drops a “believe me” – the whole Leader and Best thing doesn’t really get me juiced.
It’s 2016, I’m 18, and I’m able to pick a school with the best combination of football and basketball to fulfill my needs and desires – and considering if this was possible, I’m probably a skill player, tight end, or defensive back – I’m taking my talents to …
(Picture several bad hats in front of me.)
Wisconsin and Michigan State are out – too cold.
Ohio State is out – too creepy.
Louisville is out – a few years ago I’d be one recruiting visit away from this being a slam-dunk.
The SEC is out – too footballey, and I’m one-and-done if I’m that good at hoops.
The Pac-12 is out – I want to be seen on TV, but UCLA is No. 3 behind …
Texas is out – But it was close.
I wish it was back when Miami was Miami – with all the perks that came with that – but I’m in on the weather, the campus, and the ACC. I’ll play for Jim Larranaga and his style, and Mark Richt is the exact type of football coach I’d be great with.
So it’s Miami … unless some other school deposits a ton of coin in a third-party offshore account of my choosing.
The right side of my brain says West Coast. The more practical left half, though, would send me to East Lansing.
I enjoy all things pertaining to the Pac-12, from its campuses and its weather to its locales and its fan bases, which are passionate but not in such in a way that your skin crawls or your historic oak trees die from poisoning.
The city life of Los Angeles. The perfect weather of Arizona. The outdoor beauty of Northern California or the Pacific Northwest. Student-athlete nirvana for the next four or five years.
But as a two-sport star, I’d choose carefully with two objectives in mind: Playing for a winning program and playing for a staff with a track record for developing talent and preparing it for the next level.
In both cases, Michigan State is a great fit. I really respect Tom Izzo and Mark Dantonio, because they not only win but they also do it the right way. And with choices, I’d elect to play for teachers whose blueprint is time-tested and whose blue-collar approach matches my own.
MSU football has won at least 11 games in five of the last six years. When not gagging to Middle Tennessee, Spartan hoops has been one of the gold-standard programs of the past two decades. There’s staff stability in East Lansing and a perennial expectation for competing for titles. That’s exactly the kind of environment in which I’d want to be engulfed as a two-sport athlete.
By Jonathan Bass, CampusInsiders.com
My initial thought was North Carolina. The football team is on the upswing thanks to Larry Fedora and his golden six pack, and Roy Williams is one of the best coaches in America – who offers a fun brand of basketball, to boot.
A Julius Peppers model of big body banging down low and coming off the edge feels perfect. However, uncertainty surrounding the program gives me pause.
There are others that made me think: Texas, Duke, Michigan, Michigan State and Oregon (hello, Nike).
Ultimately, though, I’m going with Oklahoma.
On the hardwood, Lon Kruger lets guys get after it. The Sooners will fire away, and there’s room for all comers: athletic bigs to clean up below the basket, and lightning-quick wings.
Play on the gridiron is no less fun, as Oklahoma perennially has one of the more explosive offenses. If you’re a defensive guy, few college coaches are better on that side of the ball than Bob Stoops.
Toss in that I get to play in both the Red River Shootout – sorry, Red River SHOWDOWN – and at Allen Fieldhouse, and that there’s a realistic chance of making the Final Four in both sports, and I’m in. Also: Norman seems like a cool college town to spend four years in.