Which schools had the best seasons in the two major sports? What were the 25 best college football and basketball combinations of 2017-2018?
Who had the best seasons in the two major sports?
Which schools did the best job both on the football field and basketball court? They’re the two major college sports, and yeah, they’re the ones that matter to the bottom line, and on a national scale.
To be among the top 25 teams of the best football and basketball schools, there had to be a trip to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, and to a bowl game.
Extra credit was given to teams that won a conference championship, and when push came to shove, football got more of a boost than basketball – football is more important to the school’s revenue.
With all due respect to Texas, Marshall, New Mexico State and Georgia State – the three who just barely missed the cut, the 25 best football & basketball schools in 2017 – and part of 2018 – were …
25. Texas A&M Aggies
It might not have been the smoothest of basketball seasons, but the Aggies got into the tournament as a seven-seed after finishing tied for seventh in the SEC race. The football team had a good start – at least after the UCLA meltdown – and it battled hard in the Belk Bowl loss to Wake Forest. On the plus side, it might have been a step back to take a leap forward, getting Jimbo Fisher as the new head man.
24. UCLA Bruins
There might have been a problem with the whole Ball world early on this basketball season, but everything ended up fine, finishing third in the Pac-12 and getting an 11-seed in the tournament.
The football program was a dud, going 6-7 and not taking advantage of having a quarterback as good as Josh Rosen. However, consider it all a plus that the losing season – dropping the Cactus Bowl to Kansas State – led to getting Chip Kelly.
23. Missouri Tigers
It was a tale of two Mizzou football seasons. When it played bad teams, everything was fine. When it played good teams, it started out 1-5 and looked like a disaster. It was a 7-6 winning season, but it closed with a 33-16 loss to Texas in the Texas Bowl.
The Tiger basketball team was supposed to be a bit better, but the loss of Michael Porter Jr. early on had a lot to do with it. Even so, the Tigers finished tied for fourth in the the SEC and got an eight-seed.
22. Texas Tech Red Raiders
It might have been a losing football season under Kliff Kingsbury, but beating Texas on the road made it a great year – and knocked the Longhorns off this list. Just going to a bowl – and battling with USF in a loss – was a step forward. With a No. 3 seed in the tournament after finishing tied for second in the Big 12 regular season, it was a fun year for the hoops team.
21. Florida State Seminoles
FSU might have been the most disappointing team in college football, losing QB Deondre Francois early and needing to rally late just to go bowling. As bad as things were, though, the Noles finished 7-6 with a blowout bowl win over Southern Miss.
The FSU hoops team was okay, but nothing special, going 20-11 and tied for eighth in the ACC. But, considering Louisville and Notre Dame were left out of the tournament, just getting in was a success.
20. Duke Blue Devils
Of course, the basketball team did its part, finishing second in the ACC regular season. However, it got bounced in the ACC Tournament to North Carolina – that’s never okay. The football team struggled over the second half of the year, but it got to a bowl game and won it, rolling through the final three games with a 36-15 win over Northern Illinois in the Quick Lane Bowl.
19. Houston Cougars
It would’ve been nice if Major Applewhite was able to do more with a football program that should’ve been more of a player in the American Athletic race. The Cougars went 7-5, but lost to Fresno State in the Hawaii Bowl.
UH did a nice job in basketball, finally getting back to the NCAA Tournament going 26-7 overall, tying for second in the AAC regular season, and battling Cincinnati hard in the conference tournament final loss.
18. North Carolina State
There was hope for a bigger football season, but the Wolfpack finished 9-4 with a blowout win over Arizona State in the Sun Bowl. With wins over Louisville and Florida State, there was fun along the way.
The basketball team earned a nine seed after going 22-11 and finishing tied in the logjam at third in the ACC. However, losing to Boston College in the ACC Tournament was unacceptable.
17. Kansas State Wildcats
It was a tough year to make a whole lot of noise in the Big 12 football world, but the Wildcats still managed to beat Oklahoma State and finish 8-5, beating UCLA in the Cactus Bowl.
Bruce Snyder’s basketball team finished fourth in the loaded Big 12 going 22-11 overall, getting a nine-seed in the big tournament.
16. West Virginia Mountaineers
With Wisconsin not getting into the NCAA Tournament, West Virginia now has the longest run of getting a team into a bowl and the big dance, doing it 15 years in a row. The bowl game loss to Utah and the 7-6 record, though, was a disappointment.
The hoops team got a fifth-seed in the tournament after finishing tied for second in the Big 12 regular season, and losing to Kansas in the conference tournament. It deserved a better seed after finishing 24-10 in the nasty league.
15. San Diego State Aztecs
It was a fun finish to the college basketball regular season. The Aztecs might have finished fourth in the Mountain West, but they rolled through the conference tournament to take the title, finishing 22-10 and getting an 11 seed.
The football team didn’t take back its Mountain West title, and it lost to Army in the Armed Forces Bowl, but it finished 10-3 with thrilling victories over Stanford and Arizona State along the way.
14. Arizona Wildcats
It was a controversial season – and it could still be a problem – but the Wildcats rolled through the Pac-12 regular season and conference tournament, earning a four seed in the tournament.
The football season might have ended with a crashing thud, losing four of the last five games, dropping the Foster Farms Bowl to Purdue, and losing head coach Rich Rodriguez in embarrassing fashion. But getting Kevin Sumlin is a plus, and Khalil Tate turned into one of the nation’s most fun players.
13. Purdue Boilermakers
It was a wonderful year in both big sports, in a surprising way for the football side. Jeff Brohm was supposed to make a difference, but to beat Indiana in the rivalry game to go bowling, and then to beat Arizona made it a special run.
The Boilermaker basketball team might have lost the Big Ten tournament championship, but if finished tied for second in the regular season, going 28-6 and landing a two seed.
12. Virginia Tech Hokies
It might not have been the football season the Hokies might have wanted – they’re used to at least playing for the ACC title now – but going 9-4 was solid, even with the Camping World Bowl loss to Oklahoma State.
The basketball team finished seventh in the ACC regular season going 21-11, earning an eight seed in the big tournament after losing three of their last four games.
11. Kentucky Wildcats
The basketball team won another SEC Tournament title – all is right with the world. That’s what truly matters in big blue world, overcoming a rocky regular season to go 24-10 with a fifth-seed in the tournament – and with that SEC title.
It might not have been a great football campaign, but the Cats went 7-6 and got to a bowl – that’s more than good enough. However losing four of the last five games and dropping the Music City Bowl to Northwestern stinks.