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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.

Most titles
Here are the schools that won multiple national titles and the sports in which they won. There are 37 titles, and these eight schools won 17 of them.
Texas A&M: 3 (Men's golf, men's outdoor track, women's outdoor track)
Maryland: 2 (Field hockey, men's soccer)
North Carolina: 2 (Men's basketball, women's soccer)
Oregon: 2 (Men's cross country, men's indoor track)
Penn State: 2 (Fencing, women's volleyball)
Stanford: 2 (Men's gymnastics, rowing)
USC: 2 (Men's tennis, men's water polo)
Washington: 2 (Women's cross country, softball)
Conference breakdown
There are 37 national titles, including two in football (FBS and FCS). "Big Six" conferences won 33 of them, up from 30 last year.
Pac-10 (11)
Men's cross country: Oregon
Women's cross country: Washington
Women's golf: Arizona State
Men's gymnastics: Stanford
Men's indoor track: Oregon
Rowing: Stanford
Softball: Washington
Women's swimming: California
Men's tennis: USC
Men's water polo: USC
Women's water polo: UCLA

ACC (5)
Men's basketball: North Carolina
Field hockey: Maryland
Men's soccer: Maryland
Women's soccer: North Carolina
Women's tennis: Duke

Big Ten (5)
Fencing: Penn State
Women's hockey: Wisconsin
Women's lacrosse: Northwestern
Women's volleyball: Penn State
Wrestling: Iowa

SEC (5)
Baseball: LSU
FBS football: Florida
Women's gymnastics: Georgia
Women's indoor track: Tennessee
Men's swimming: Auburn

Big 12 (4)
Bowling: Nebraska
Men's golf: Texas A&M
Men's outdoor track: Texas A&M
Women's outdoor track: Texas A&M

Big East (3)
Women's basketball: Connecticut
Men's lacrosse: Syracuse
Rifle: West Virginia

Hail to the champions
The complete list of the 37 NCAA team champions for the 2008-09 academic year:
Baseball: LSU (SEC)
Basketball, men: North Carolina (ACC)
Basketball, women: Connecticut (Big East)
Bowling: Nebraska (Big 12)
Cross country, men: Oregon (Pac-10)
Cross country, women: Washington (Pac-10)
Fencing: Penn State (Big Ten)
Field hockey: Maryland (ACC)
Football, FBS: Florida (SEC)
Football, FCS: Richmond (Colonial)
Golf, men: Texas A&M (Big 12)
Golf, women: Arizona State (Pac-10)
Gymnastics, men: Stanford (Pac-10)
Gymnastics, women: Georgia (SEC)
Hockey, men: Boston University (America East)
Hockey, women: Wisconsin (Big Ten)
Lacrosse, men: Syracuse (Big East)
Lacrosse, women: Northwestern (Big Ten)
Rifle: West Virginia (Big East)
Rowing: Stanford (Pac-10)
Skiing: Denver (Sun Belt)
Soccer, men: Maryland (ACC)
Soccer, women: North Carolina (ACC)
Softball: Washington (Pac-10)
Swimming, men: Auburn (SEC)
Swimming, women: California (Pac-10)
Tennis, men: USC (Pac-10)
Tennis, women: Duke (ACC)
Track, men's indoor: Oregon (Pac-10)
Track, women's indoor: Tennessee (SEC)
Track, men's outdoor: Texas A&M (Big 12)
Track, women's outdoor: Texas A&M (Big 12)
Volleyball, men: UC Irvine (Big West)
Volleyball, women: Penn State (Big Ten)
Water polo, men: USC (Pac-10)
Water polo, women: UCLA (Pac-10)
Wrestling: Iowa (Big Ten)
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.

Stanford once again took home the trophy, winning for the 15th consecutive year. North Carolina was second and Florida third; it was Florida's 25th consecutive top-10 finish.

Stanford, North Carolina and fifth-place finisher Michigan counted the maximum 20 sports. Florida (10 women, seven men) and fourth-place finisher USC (nine men, eight women) counted 17 sports each.

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 highest-ranked non-Big Six school was Princeton at 40th. Other non-Big Sixers in the top 50 were TCU at 42nd, BYU at 47th and Boise State at 49th.

The winner: Pac-10.

In this category, we look at two variables. The first is how the leagues fared in what I consider the "Big Five" sports (football, men's and women's basketball, baseball and softball). The second is how many slots each league filled in the Elite Eight in each sport (there actually are 10 spots in football, using the BCS bowls as the measuring stick) among the "Big Five."

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.

There are 37 national titles available to Division I teams (three of those fencing, rifle and skiing are open to all divisions), with two in football (Division I-A and Division I-AA).

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.

Winner: Pac-10.

Grid bits
Connecticut projected starting defensive end Marcus Campbell will miss the season, apparently because of academic reasons. Campbell had 3.5 sacks as a reserve last fall but would've started this season as the Huskies look to replace their starting ends from last season. His departure hurts the depth at an iffy position.

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.

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be heard on Rivals Radio every Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. ET and can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.

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