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July 6, 2009
Pac-10 again builds biggest pile of titles
The College World Series was the final athletic event in the 2008-09 academic year. So, which league had the best year?
It's all in how you look at it.
THE DIRECTORS' CUP METHOD
The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics – a sort of athletic directors union – annually presents the Directors' Cup to honor what the group calls "the best overall collegiate athletics program in the country." Schools are allowed to count their 20 highest-scoring sports – 10 men and 10 women.
The Pac-10 had three schools in the top 10, six in the top 16 and eight in the top 24.
The ACC, Big Ten and SEC each had two in the top 10, and the Big 12 had one. The ACC had four of the top 17, the SEC seven of the top 30 and the Big Ten five of the top 20.
The Big Ten's highest-ranked school was Michigan; the Big 12's highest-ranked school was Texas at sixth.
The Big East's highest-ranked school was Notre Dame, at 21st (the Irish are in the Big East for every sport except football). The Big East was the "Big Six" league with the lowest-ranked school, with Seton Hall at 270th.
The winner: Pac-10.
THE 'BY THE NUMBERS' METHOD
The SEC won two titles, in football (Florida) and baseball (LSU). The ACC (North Carolina in men's basketball), the Big East (Connecticut in women's basketball) and the Pac-10 (Washington in softball) had one each.
As for the Elite Eight slots (there were 42), the Big 12 led with eight, followed by the Big East and SEC with seven each, the Big Ten and Pac-10 with six each, the ACC with five and the Big West, Conference USA and Mountain West with one each. The Big West's and C-USA's came in baseball (Cal State Fullerton and Southern Miss, respectively) and the Mountain West's in football (Utah).
Of note: Arizona State and Oklahoma were the only schools to advance to the Elite Eight in three sports.
The winner: The SEC gets the nod. While the Big 12 had the most Elite Eight spots, it won no national titles. The SEC was only one behind in Elite Eight spots and won two national titles.
THE CHAMPIONSHIP METHOD
Among Division I leagues, the Pac-10 had the most team champions, with 11. The ACC, Big Ten and SEC each had five.
In all, 10 conferences won at least one title. That includes the Colonial Athletic Association with Richmond for FCS football, and the Sun Belt, with Denver winning the ski title. The Sun Belt does not sponsor skiing, but we're giving the league the title because Denver's main program is men's basketball, which is in the Sun Belt.
Texas A&M of the Big 12 was the only school to win three national titles, in men's golf and men's and women's outdoor track.
Gee, what a surprise: Oregon will have new uniforms this fall. The biggest change is the material, which the school is touting as having improved ergonomics and ventilation. Get this: Oregon will have 80 possible jersey combinations this season.
Former Indiana quarterback/wide receiver Kellen Lewis has transferred to Division II Valdosta (Ga.) State, where he immediately will be eligible.