Numerous universities take immense pride in one of it’s athletic programs. That is how most universities, and it’s fans, identify themselves. For example, North Carolina is known as an amazing basketball school but it possesses a so-so football program at best. Alabama is dominant and synonymous with college football but it hasn’t had much success on the hardwood.
Wisconsin Badgers athletics are in rare company as a university that doesn’t have to identify with just one of it’s two major programs. It boasts consistent success in both college basketball and football. Think about it, there truly aren’t many universities that regularly compete for conference championships in both major collegiate sports. Not only that, the Badgers are at least in the conversation as a contender for the national championships of both sports as well. How many other sports can routinely claim that? Trust me, it’s not that many.
It turns out that this bilateral success is extremely rare. In fact, Wisconsin finds itself ranked as the fifth best university in the nation at dual-success. That is in terms of success in football and basketball in the twenty-first century. That ranking system was put out by College Spun (check it out) and it is an extremely interesting read. They used a weighted point system that values success in both sports. The categories include detailed point breakdowns weighing bowl appearances and wins. As well as weighing NCAA Tournament appearances and levels of success in the big dance.
Here Is How The Top Ten Two-Sport Universities Of The 21st Century Shook Out:
6. Michigan State
2. Ohio State
The Big Ten is well represented as the Badgers landed at Number 5. Michigan State came in at Number 6 and the Ohio State Buckeyes led the conference — as they came in at Number 2. Impressive, right? The Big Ten is undoubtedly the best conference in the nation at having universities the most consistently-successful at both college football and basketball. Now that’s something that fans of the Badgers, and the Big Ten, should be proud of. It should be noted that Michigan squeaked in at Number 17, too.
As you can see some schools (Duke and Kansas in basketball, and LSU and Oklahoma in football) built up so much success in one sport that it carried the other enough to crack the top top of this list. But when looked at closely, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Ohio State and Florida are literally the only four schools that have had legitimate success in both sports. That is consistent success, since the beginning of the twenty-first century. Quite amazing company to be in. Some would even argue that Michigan State doesn’t belong in that category, as it’s football team reached only one BCS game in this century.
Either way, Badgers fans should be proud. Wisconsin’s accomplishments in both sports are being recognized nationally.
A look at the specifics reveal that Wisconsin has missed only one bowl in the twenty-first century; the best in the Big Ten. Plus it made every single NCAA Tournament, tied with Michigan State as the best in the conference. It’s no wonder Wisconsin came in so high on this ranking. The results do not lie, the Badgers are consistently one of the top universities in the country in both of the major sports. At the least they are always in the conversation. Always.
How Did Badgers Athletics Reach Such Heights?
The credit to the Badgers’ success in both sports is undoubtedly due to it’s phenomenal coaches of the last 25 seasons. Barry Alvarez, current athletic director and former head coach (and Godfather of current Wisconsin athletics) began the athletic revolution in Madison in the early 1990s. His blueprint has paved the way for Wisconsin football to rise to “powerhouse status” year after year. His overall record at Wisconsin was an impressive 118-73-4. The Badgers’ football team, now led by Gary Andersen, is in great shape, too. It is considered one of 12 schools that has a realistic chance at being invited to the first ever (four-team) College Football Playoff.
But Alvarez wasn’t alone in building Wisconsin athletics. Bo Ryan, the Badgers’ current basketball coach, has been the most consistent coach in all of college basketball the last 15 years. He owns a 321-121 record and his squads have never finished lower than fourth in the Big Ten. Plus, his Badgers are a national championship favorite in the 2014/15 season following their march to the Final Four this past March.
All in all, it’s a hell of a good millennium to be a fan of Badgers athletics. And we didn’t even mention Hockey, Volleyball or Track and Field — a few of the other sports Wisconsin has excelled in and even dominated.
On Wisconsin…all the way to a top five finish in the ranking of the best two-sport universities in the nation since the twenty-first century began.