Monday, March 29, 2010

Baseball Predictions

March is passing and April is approaching, so that can only mean that baseball is right around the corner. This means it's time for everyone to show how smart they are by predicting who's going to win the World Series this year and then get it totally wrong. Well I am not going to do that. I'm going to make predictions that are going to be right, which will save you time from having false hope for your team. By all means still go to the games, gorge on peanuts and cracker jacks, and wear your favorite teams baseball cap like a badge of honor, but when it's all said in done the 2010 baseball season is boiled down into this post.

AL East: New York Yankees: I wanna pick Tampa but I can't. Tampa might have the most talented offense in the AL East, but I can't hang my hat on their pitching. Boston has a ridiculous one-two punch in Beckett and Lackey and the defense should be better. The offense will always be a threat with Pedroia, Bay, and Youkilis. If Ortiz can have a year more like '08 than '09, the Sox will be serious contenders not just for the division but for the World Series. Toronto and Baltimore are still a couple of seasons away, but don't count out the Orioles. They have a bunch of young guns just like when the Rays shocked the world in '08. I'm not saying the Orioles are gonna go to the World Series, but fans in Baltimore should be excited about this team.

AL Central: Minnesota: This could be the year the Twins break through and win the AL pennant. Mauer, Cuddyer, and Morneau are tremendous players and should have big years in their new hitters' park. Also the O-Dog and Delmon Young provide the speed a pop that gives this team the perfect blend of speed and heavy hitters. Pitching is their biggest concern. Nathan's injury does not help and the pitching rotation would do wonders if Liriano could get back on track, whether it is as a starter or a closer. The Tigers still have a tremendous batting line-up, but I don't trust them the same way I trust the Twins. If Ordonez improves from last year's disappointing year and if Cabrera can stay away from the booze, then they have a good shot of having the best offense in the division. The Tigers probably have the best pitching in the division, but honestly that's not saying much in this division. It's kind of amazing to think that the White Sox won the World Series in 2005. This team is a shell of that team. The offense is mediocre at best and the pitching is as erratic as their manager. The Indians are still a season away, but the future could be now. Matt LaPorta should be a guy to look out for this year as the Indians offense should continue to improve this year. The starting rotation is top heavy with Fausto and Jake Westbrook but after that there is not much to rely on. Kerry Wood is a shaky closer, mainly due to injuries. If (and this is a big if) he can stay healthy the Indians have a good chance to challenge for the division. The Royals....well if Zack Greinke could pitch everyday, and if he could hit like Albert Pujols then I'd give them a shot.

AL West: Seattle: They should win the division, but I can see why they won't. Lee and Hernadez are amazing and having Ichiro and Figgins at the top of their line-up basically guarantees them two men on base. If Milton Bradley focuses on hitting the baseball and not fans and if they can get great bullpen production, Seattle should win this division for the first time since A-Rod left. The Angels can easily win this division, but I think losing Lackey will hurt them. Also gaining Matsui and losing Vlad is a lost to their lineup. The Rangers will be a tough out in this division, but they do not have as good as pitching as the Mariners, although the offense will keep them in many games. I wouldn't be surprised if they made the Wild Card. The A's fit into that category of being a couple of seasons away.

Wild Card: Boston: It was tough to choose between the Red Sox and the Angels but I give the edge to Boston because they have Lackey.

AL Champ: Yankees

NL East: Philadelphia: The Phillies will have the best offense in the division hands down, but don't count out the Braves and the New York Mets. The Phillies must improve their bullpen if they plan to make it four straight division titles and three straight pennants. Florida has an ace pitcher in Josh Johnson and an ace batter in Hanley Ramirez. Their bullpen will be their Achilles' heel and as good of an offense that they have, it's not as good as the Phillies, Mets or Braves. The Nats are in the same position as the Royals. It will be interesting to see how patient they will be with Stephen Strasburg as he will be the only thing people in Washington will spend money on to go see.

NL Central: Cardinals: I would like to choose the Brewers, but I am playing it safe and I am choosing the Cardinals. A deep pitching rotation and a deep lineup disappointed in the postseason last year, but they should be much better this year. I don't think having Big Mac back as their hitting coach will vastly improve their hitting, but I think having him around will provide some energy to that lineup. The Brew Crew have a dangerous line-up and the pitching rotation got much deeper with Randy Wolf as their third starter. I am still worried about their bullpen, and once you get past the number five hitter the batting order does not seem as daunting. The Cubs got much deeper in the outfield and if Big Z can pitch like the All-Star pitcher that he is the Cubs should be a contender. The Reds and Astros will be dangerous teams in the division. Carlos Lee cut himself in half and is in the best condition of his life. Chapman should help the Reds pitching rotation, but the Reds fall into that dreaded year away category. Pittsburgh has been a year away for nearly two decades. Players like Lastings Milledge, Andrew McCutcheon, and Akinori Iwamura show that Pittsburgh is going in the right direction. Their offense should be much better than last year, but the pitching is dreadful.

NL West: Rockies: Dodgers are good, but the Rockies are better. If they can avoid the slow start that they had last season I see them running away with this division. The window of opportunity for the Dodgers is still open but it's barely open. Clayton Kershaw is a great young pitcher but losing Randy Wolf hurts their rotation. They still have potent batting lineup with Manny, Kemp, Loney, and Ethier, but I don't think that will be enough this season. The Giants have the best pitching rotation in baseball and a sneaky good offense led by Pablo Sandoval. However, I think their offense is not consistent enough to take the division away from the Rockies. The Padres and D-Backs are on a level below those other teams. The D-Backs have to deal with injuries already in their pitching rotation and the Padres can't hit.

Wild Card: Braves: I like this team very much. Jason Heyward has a lot of hype surrounding him and I think he'll live up to it and the pitching is not quite 1995, but it's pretty darn good. In addition, this is Bobby Cox's last year as a manager and you have to figure the players will be playing hard for the best baseball manager in my baseball viewing life time.

NL Champ: Cardinals

World Series Champ: Cardinals: I think they have the most complete team. I want to pick the Phillies but I think they have serious bullpen issues. The Cardinals are solid all around-- and did I mention that they have the best baseball player in the world? I would like to see the Cardinals play the Yankees in the World Series just so Pujols can prove once and for all that he is a better baseball player than A-Rod.

So, Jordan thinks he knows how it is. How sad for him. Here's the real scoop.

AL East: Of course, it's the Yankees. Like Jordan, I'd love, love, love to pick the Rays, but I don't think they're the team this year. The Yanks are just too deep. Thankfully for Baltimore, they may not finish in last this year. It seems like that hasn't happened in a long time. Last will go to Toronto, because apparently they have no idea how to run a baseball organization. It's even less fortunate for Cito Gaston, who did a great job with no talent last year. And, by the way, you can stick a fork in the Red Sox-- they're done. Third place for Boston this year.

AL Central: Now, while I live in Minnesota (and root for the Twins, as long as they're not playing my Brewers), it's not just hype making me say that the Twins will win the division-- rather, it's that they are, de facto, the best team in the division until someone else can prove a capable contender. While Jordan likes Cleveland, I don't see them making the move yet. Cleveland pitchers seem about as stable as Tiger's marriage (please see Lee, Cliff; Carmona, Fausto; Sabathia, CC; et all). The good news for the pitchers, at least, is that they always seem to succeed once they leave Cleveland (Leaveland? No-- that pun is just awful). Interestingly, it's also great news for Seattle and New York. Anyway, I don't particularly like the Tigers. Good rotation, not much else to offer, unless you believe that their hitters are going to hit like they did three years ago. Chicago is interesting, simply because there isn't one consistent player on the roster, so they could win 89 games if it all works out, and 59 games if it all breaks down. More likely, it'll be somewhere in between. Finally, Kansas City is great because of Greinke, but one more emotional breakdown from him and they're the worst team in the majors. They spent last year starting the majors' worst player every day at shortstop. These are the things that good organizations simply don't do.

AL West: This is a toughie, so I'll start at the bottom. The A's are still a decade away. I'd like to say a year, but a team that may now be run by Al Davis (who else would pay $10 mil for a guy who hasn't played in a year and had an injury history even before then?). I don't get it. Just a bad, bad roster. And I think it's a good sign of the atmosphere when a player (like, say, Matt Holliday) can succeed everywhere else except in that place. Factor in the Raiders (remember how Randy Moss was exactly the same as Holliday?), and I understand why Oakland fans are surprisingly pitiable. Well, they would be if they weren't such @$$holes. The top spot in the division will be a three-team race. I see the Angels as the odd-team out. I should know better than to doubt Scioscia, but they're clearly slipping, and they're definitely aging. Of course, with a manager like that, would I be surprised if they were the team celebrating in November? Well, yeah-- but only a little. As for the division crown, I see it going to Texas. They're a pretty deep team, and I think (with absolutely no evidence to support this) that Josh Hamilton will revert to 2008 form. If that happens, they'll win over 90 games. Regardless, I think they're the team to beat, even given Cliff Lee in Seattle. I like Seattle-- I just don't think they have the hitting to win the division.

AL Wild Card: Here's where things get interesting. I don't think there's anyone coming from the Central, but I think we'll see those three competitive teams from the West battling with the Rays for this spot. Obviously, one of the teams from the West will win the division, so the other two will be fighting for this spot. Personally, I like the Rays. They're a quality team, and I see this as a time when they can make a return trip to the playoffs.

ALCS: Yankees over Rays. I love this matchup. As for the four playoff teams, I see the Twins going out to the Yankees (a very, very familiar site this past 10 years), and the Rays shocking the Rangers. However, I think the Yanks take this one. Like I said, I think they're just too talented.

NL East: It's got to be the Phillies again. While I think there are a lot of other talented teams, I don't think there's anyone to match the Phillies. I think it's pretty obvious that the Nationals (who are getting better) and the Marlins (who are getting worse) can still be pretty competitive, I think it's even more obvious that they aren't the competitors. The Mets, who are a talented team, have built themselves a stadium which isn't going to help them. Additionally, I don't think they're as good as they were a couple of years ago. I, like Jordan, like Atlanta a lot. The Braves have the best young prospect in years, and I think they're going to be a great team in a couple of years. I just think things will need to fall into place, and they will be the team to beat in two or three years-- or maybe even in 2011. Just not yet. The point is, the man who gets Bobby Cox's job will be the luckiest man in baseball.

NL Central: The Cardinals, the Cardinals, the Cardinals. You have to love the team with the best player in baseball. They have the #2 and 3 pitchers in the league, they have Matt Holliday, who may have cost them a playoff series last year, but is still a solid player. There's too much talent here. You know that old saying, "those who can't do, teach." Well, Mark McGwire sure couldn't hit for average, so this whole team should hit about .450 this year. Seriously, though, I do think McGwire could be a good addition. You have to remember that he was a very good hitter in a lot of ways. No matter what steroids can do, I'll tell you this much-- they can't make something out of nothing. And Big Mac clearly had something. I like the Astros-- to finish last. They were just sooooooooo old last year, and then they went out and made themselves even older. That's called bad strategy. Then, there are the Pirates. They'll be bad, too, but I think they'll be better than the Astros. The Reds are a huge question mark. They could be .500 (or even a bit better), and they might finish in last. I have no idea. So I'm going to say fourth place, but they could be anywhere from 2-6. Now the Cubs. Why on earth do people still think this is a viable major league team? I think that Chicago is still solid enough for third place, but I can't see a playoff push. This leaves my Brewers in second. They should be about as good as last year-- maybe even better, because there are so many young guys. There are a lot of question marks, though, given the rotation, the bullpen, and over half of the starting lineup. But yes-- Fielder, Braun, Gallardo, and Wolf are good enough for second place.

NL West: I think it's the Dodgers, but solely because it's the safest pick. I don't like the Padres and I don't like D-Backs (although I wouldn't be shocked if they were a little better than some people are expecting). You can't help but like the Lincecums... I mean, Giants. They have a decent rotation, in spite of Barry Zito. The Rockies, though, are the major challengers. I don't think their level of play from the second half of last year is sustainable over a whole season, like people are saying. I think the Dodgers are in, but I don't really see anything coming out of this division.

NL Wild Card: Well, it looks to me like a team from each division (Atlanta, Milwaukee, and Colorado) will compete for the Wild Card. As fun as it would be to pick the sentimental favorite (like that sap Jordan did), I'll take the Rockies. I like the team-- I just don't think they'll win 120 games. They'll be right there, but I expect a quiet playoff exit. I do think Atlanta will be in it until the end, and Milwaukee should be competitive until the last 2 or 3 weeks-- unless a couple of players really outperform their expectations, in which case they could be in it until the end, as well. Again, though, I'm going to go with what I perceive as the "safest" pick, which is the Rocks.

NLCS: I imagine the Cards with the best record in the league, and that they'd defeat the Rockies easily. I also see the Phillies topping the Dodgers-- this year, in the first round. That sets up the dream matchup of the two best teams in the National League. Like Jordan, I see the Cardinals taking this one. Too much pitching, and I fear for Roy Halladay's health. Without him, the Phillies don't have too much in the way of pitching, besides a shaky bullpen (a feature the Cardinals share). I think the Cards are, for now, the more complete team.

World Series: The best part of every fall is watching the World Series, and I can't help but love a matchup between the two teams who have been there the most. I think this one could go the distance. It has compelling matchups-- the best 1Bs in each leagu;, the best two players of the last 6 or 7 years; a great bullpen in New York versus great starters in St. Louis; East Coast-Midwest-- everything you could ever want. You know what I don't like? I don't like that the Yankees have gone to the last two Series, I don't like that they're so consistently good, I don't like that they have a stadium that cost more than the GDP of several countries in the Western world, and I really hate New York baseball fans (the worst in the world). Mostly, then, I don't like the Yankees. And that's why I can't bring myself to pick them. Seriously, though-- they have some advantages, but I think the advantages in starting pitching is most likely to be the difference, and while Sabathia is great, the thought of Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain starting a World Series game against Albert Pujols makes me laugh. I say, bring it on Yanks-- but the Cardinals will win it all.

Well that's it folks. Any questions?


Despite all the Kenny Florian-esque jabs that David threw at me, he still followed the leader and picked the same World Series participants and the same champ.

Well let's see if David can keep up as I tell you who will be the award winners for the 2010 MLB season.

NL Rookie of the Year: Jason Heyward: This might be the easiest choice. Jason will obviously improve the Atlanta Braves offensively and defensively. He will carry them into the playoffs ( Yes I said they are going to the playoffs David.) and will revive one of the best baseball franchises in my life-time.

NL Manager of the Year: Bobby Cox: This is his last year and he's going down swinging. Bobby Cox is the best manager that I have ever seen. The man won the NL East division eleven times in the row. He won the NL Pennant five times and won a World Series. Bobby Cox's departure from baseball is a huge lost to the league. Uncle Charlie Manuel should get a vote or two and Tony LaRussa should get a vote as well, but this is the year of Bobby Cox.

NL Cy Young: Roy Halladay: Go ahead call me a homer. The fact of the matter is the best pitcher in the AL will no longer have to face a DH in the batting order. If you thought Cliff Lee was amazing when he came to the NL wait until you see Roy Halladay. He's a ground ball pitcher which is important for pitching at Citizen's Bank Park. He has a terrific curve ball and his recently added change up will do wonders after he destroys his opponents with his four and two seam fastball. Tim Lincecum will be a contender, and don't forget about Josh Johnson and my dark horse Clayton Kershaw.

NL MVP: Albert Pujols: Albert is the best player and baseball so he should be penciled-in for this award every year. Prince Fielder is in a contract year so he should have an outstanding year and if the Brewers can win the division I think the voters would give the award to Prince over Pujols. Also pay close attention to Ryan Howard. He's batting above .300 this spring and if he bats .300 this season he'll be the runaway MVP in the NL.

AL Rookie of the year: Austin Jackson: I usually think that pitchers have an advantage when it comes to the Rookie of the year award. Because it does take time for hitters to get use to a new pitcher which can lead to a successful first year. However, I think a player that plays everyday has more opportunities to leave a lasting image and that's why I went with Austin Jackson over Brian Matsuz. Austin Jackson will replace Curtis Granderson and I believe he'll be a good defensive player and will bat pretty well for the Tigers. He batted .353 in spring in 68 ABs and he had 40 total bases. I think Brian Matsuz will have a good year for the Orioles but I question if he can stay healthy all year since he's a young pitcher.

AL Manager of the Year: Don Wakamatsu: Seattle will win the division and Wakamatsu will make history as the first Asian-American manager to win this award. Ron Gardenhire will make a strong push especially since he has never won the award before. Joe Giradi is also another good choice.

AL Cy Young: CC Sabathia: He is a bull. He might go down as the most durable pitcher in my generation. He brought a World Series back to New York and was able to remain composed in the post-season. He slayed the post-season demon and I think with that off his mind I think he'll be an even better pitcher this year. Zack Greinke will be solid but I think he will not be able to have the kind of year that he had last year. Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez will be strong contenders and my sleeper is Fausto Carmona.

AL MVP: Carl Crawford: He has the best combination of speed and power in the AL. I think he'll have a breakout year and he'll be the reason the Rays will have a winning record this year. Evan Longoria may steal votes from him and A-Rod always has a shot at the award. Joe Mauer and Derek Jeter are two other guys that the world should keep their eyes on.

Well that's the're up!!

Monday, March 22, 2010


Okay, to our readership of zero, I apologize for a rather lazy month. But, since it's long-past time to update, I thought I'd piggyback off of one of Jordan's thoughts from a few posts ago. He noted the over-thinking of NFL GMs when it comes to the draft. Well, here, right in front of us, is the perfect example. Here's Peter King's column from today:

Now, scroll through the NFL overtime thing (which is in just as much need to be fixed as the BCS, but that's another column). Tim Tebow's draft stock is rising. What. The. Heck. I don't understand. How? Has he become a better QB in the last two months? Didn't think so. But let's look at the case for and against Tebow. Keep in mind, Jordan and I are both anti-Tebow guys-- not because we hate him. Actually, I really respect him for being honest and sharing his beliefs and not being afraid of taking flak. My only criticisms are about him as a quarterback. So, here's what people say:

1. But look at the record-- he's proven himself!
This is one of the most common complaints of combine-haters. Now, I hate the combine, and I agree with this logic-- generally. We have to keep in mind, though, that "on-field results" have a number of factors. Yes, Tebow was a winner. So were Chris Leak, Major Applewhite, Josh Heupel, Jason White, Matt Leinart, Eric Crouch, Craig Krenzel-- the list goes on and on-- and that's just from the last decade. So clearly, winning is not the only factor. There are also statistics. Yes, Tebow's stat line is great. But so were the stat lines of the majority of the guys listed above. The things you have to look at in order to see NFL success is a combination of these factors:
a) Pro-style offense: In my opinion, Florida and Urban Meyer are too gimmicky for long-term NFL success.
b) Talent of players: Florida had tremendously talented players around Tebow, and the SEC has been down for the last three years-- that's why Florida and 'Bama have been able to dominate so thoroughly.
c) Types of patterns/routes: In my opinion, Tebow doesn't throw an NFL ball, and he doesn't throw to NFL-type routes.
Obviously, there could be a lot of disagreement about some of that stuff. I just think that the Florida football team of these last couple of years reminds me, interestingly, of the Florida basketball team of a few years ago. You have a lot of players, all of whom are so much better than the competition that they blow everyone away, and they're extremely well-coached. The thing is, though, Al Horford is probably the best pro player from those teams. Why would Tebow have to be an NFL star in order to validate the "dynasty" he had at Florida? It doesn't make sense.

2. Tebow's a great "character" guy.
True. I can't deny that Tebow's a good guy. But I have a few questions. First, how often does a rookie QB walk in, and 12-year NFL vets just listen to him? Never. Not once. QBs earn respect. He wouldn't just "walk in and be a leader," or whatever nonsense people say. On the contrary, I have a feeling veterans would resent him, call him an over-hyped virgin (which, incidentally, is true), and he'd never get the time of day. Yes, he would, in all likelihood, avoid trouble with the law. But so too, on average, do about 50 of the 53 guys on each roster. Is "but he won't get arrested!" really a good enough reason for a guy to go in the first round? No.

3. He's a warrior.
So. What. It's pointless. Only once every 30-50 years does a guy come around in each of the major sports who's legitimately tough enough to play game-in, game-out without ever having to take some days off. And Tebow won't be that guy. It requires physical and mental toughness, an insatiable will to win, and never, ever, EVER crying on the field during a loss. But Tim Tebow's not Brett Favre, or Jim Marshall, or Peyton Manning. Even if he were, he might not be as lucky as they. He's somewhere between Favre (ultimate tough guy) and Adam Morrison (awkward girl with a fake-looking mustache). The comparison to either one is too extreme, but Tebow isn't going to be either one. And even if he is, do you really think that Tebow's going to be the next Favre? I'm sorry. I just don't buy it.

In conclusion, I understand why Tebow's stock is rising. It's because we all want it to be true. We'd love for the "good guy" to be the "good player." Too prove Leo Durocher wrong-- sometimes, nice guys finish first. But this isn't the time, nor the place. This is just an example of a media story being perpetuated by the media, and cared about only by the media. Let's call it Tigerwoodssexscandalitis. Anyway, I wish Tim Tebow luck, I really do. He seems to be a smart, talented dude. That's good, because he won't be making it as a starting QB in the NFL.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Great Debate

Jordan and I will debate who the greatest college sports program of our sports-watching lifetime (the last 15 years or so) has been. Here are the criteria. First, we'll consider the following sports, in this order: football, men's basketball, and baseball/men's hockey (since most schools don't have both of those). We'll be considering overall record, championships, production of pro athletes, college athletes, and coaches. Additionally, we'll use other sports as "tie-breakers." Enjoy!

Jordan's List:

Well after a couple of days of research and agonizing over how to evaluate these institutions, I have been able to come to a conclusion of the top 15 college sports programs in a our viewing lifetime. The time period is from 1995 to the present. Enjoy!

15) Syracuse: I know the football program has not been that good in recent years( they have not won five games in a season in the last five seasons and have not had double digit wins since 2001) However, the football program was a powerhouse in the mid 90's even making the Orange Bowl in the late 90's. In addition they were able to produce great NFL players such as Donovan McNabb, Dwight Freeney and Marvin Harrison. Syracuse also has a tremendous basketball program that we all can attest to. They have won 1 national title and have appeared in 2 final fours during this time period. Furthermore, the school has an iconic basketball coach in Jim Boeheim who has supplied the NBA with talent for years, especially in recent history. Wesley Johnson will be another Syracuse great to become a lottery pick in the NBA draft. The schools lack of football success definitely hurt them in the rankings but, their basketball program was so strong that it was enough for them to make the list.

14) Michigan State: Sparty has been stronger on the court than on the football field, but they have done enough to make the list. Though they only have 95 victories on the football field with zero BCS appearances, the Spartans have made 5 final fours in during this time span which is second most. Furthermore, the Spartans were also aided by winning a national title in basketball and in hockey. Also, having a future hall of famer as your basketball coach helps them out huge in this list.

13) Florida St.: Unlike the previous two schools, Florida St. has made their name on the field and not the court. FSU has won one national title in football and has made 9 BCS bowl games during this time period. Having Bobby Bowden also helps the school in their rankings and being able to produce football players like Corey Simon, Warrick Dunn, Derrick Brooks, and a plethora of other players certainly makes the case for the Seminoles. Though their success on the court isn't tremendous (no sweet sixteen appearances and only two tournament appearances so far in my viewing lifetime but that will change this year, but it wasn't terrible. Also the school is fairly successful on the diamond.

12) LSU: The Tigers are like the Noles, but the major difference is that LSU has 1 final four appearance during this time period. Also LSU has 4 baseball titles which gave them a considerable edge over Florida St.

11) Ohio St.: Now the Ohio St. would be ranked in the top 5 except their basketball seasons from 99 to 02 were erased due to scandals. I took that into consideration mainly because I was not able to calculate the wins because they were not there. But Ohio St. is one of the most balanced sports programs in the nation. They produced a number one pick in both the NFL and the NBA; they have the most BCS appearances and wins in football and have two final four appearances. If only those basketball seasons still counted....

10) North Carolina: The Tar Heels are to college basketball what Ohio St. is to college football. UNC has 6 final four appearances and two basketball national titles and has produced tremendous players like Jerry Stackhouse, Vince Carter, Rasheed Wallace, and plenty more. UNC has had the pleasure of being lead by great coaches like Dean Smith and Roy Williams and has become the standard of excellence in college basketball. The football program is okay. They have 91 wins during this period (average of 6.5 wins a season) but they have produced NFL studs like Greg Ellis and Julius Peppers which was enough to get UNC into the top 10 on this list.

9) Wisconsin: Shocked? It's okay if you are because I had to take a double look at this too, but it's true. The school is helped by having one of the strongest hockey programs in the nation, but they also have a very strong basketball program and football program. When you think of consistency Wisconsin has to come to mind. They have two BCS appearances (I'm talking about the two Rose Bowl games of course) and have made one final four. They've produced Pro Bowlers (Joe Thomas, Chris Chambers, and Lee Evans) and an NBA All-Star (Devin Harris). Furthermore, this school has been led by great coaches as well in both basketball and football. This school knows how to party but more importantly they know how to win.

8) Tennessee: The Vols are in a stage of rebuilding in football, but the football program has been a staple in the college football elite for some time. They have won one national title and have 137 wins in football during this time period (average of 9.78 wins a season). The basketball program is considerable stronger on the Women's side, but the Men have not done that bad. Bruce Pearl has the program going in the right direction and the school has won 273 games during this period (average of 19.5 wins per season). Having a hall of fame coach in Philip Fullmer and being able to consistently produce great NFL pros like Manning, Jamal Lewis, and Albert Haynesworth helped this school land in the number 8 spot on this list.

7) Kansas: The Jayhawks land in this spot due to their recent success in football. KU's one BCS appearance gave them enough of an edge to land in this spot. The basketball program speaks for itself. The basketball program notched 403 wins and one national title during this time period. KU also has produced tremendous NBA players like Paul Pierce and Raef Lafrentz. The football program also produced a relevant football player in Aqib Talib. Though the football program and the basketball program do not get along in Kansas, their individual success has helped lift this school as an elite sports institution.

6) USC: Saying the football program is amazing is an understatement. Eight BCS appearances, three Heisman trophy winners, and two national titles (should be just one but that's for another day) makes USC one of the most successful football programs in my sports-viewing lifetime. The basketball program is not that bad either. Henry Bibby did an admirable job win he was the coach at USC and was able to make one elite eight appearance during this time period. Also players like OJ Mayo, Nick Young, and Demar Derozan have raised the level of play for the program, but it just was not enough to get them into the top 5.

5) Utah: The Utes have a very good sports program. They have a number 1 pick in both the NBA and NFL. They've made 2 BCS appearances and have made a final four in during this period in time. They have 123 wins in football and 322 wins in basketball. Also having great leaders like Urban Myer and Rick Majerus helped this school become synonymous with winning.

4) Miami: the U has been a fixture in the elite of college football programs. The school has produced the most quality 1st round picks in the NFL out of any school and has won 132 games with 4 BCS appearances and one national title. The basketball program has been average at best, but the baseball program won two national titles.

3) Oklahoma: Boomer Sooner produced two Heisman trophy winners and a Naismith winner and has won a football national title and made one final four appearance. The school has been lead by great coaches such as Kelvin Sampson and Bob Stoops. The school has produced good prospects for the NFL, and if Blake Griffin can get over the Clippers' curse than OU will be able to hang their hat on this young man as well.

2) Texas: The Long Horns are successful on the court and the field. The Long Horns have a national title in football and two national titles in baseball. They have made one final four and have 323 wins in basketball. Also they have 6 BCS appearances and 150 wins during this time period. Texas has also produced great players in the NFL and in the NBA. Also two of my favorite college athletes happen to have gone to Texas (Vince Young and Kevin Durant).

1) Florida: As much as I hate Florida I have to give them credit. With three national titles in football and two national titles in basketball it is hard to argue against them. They have great coaches in football and in basketball and were able to produce two Heisman trophy winners. Florida has the most wins in football during this time period and has eight BCS appearances. Also Florida has three final four appearances has been able to produce pro players such as Mike Miller, Al Horford, Jevon Kearse and Fred Taylor. As much as I hate everything that Florida represents, I can't deny the fact that Florida is the best sports program in the nation.

That's the list....any questions?

David's List

I've decided to just pick the same 15 teams as Jordan, only to put them in the correct order. I have valued peak value a lot, and less so consistency. While consistency is definitely important, I like the teams that were hot for just a couple of seasons. My order is basically split in two: the first eight teams are those that have excelled in one sport, the higher seven are those that have excelled in both, because I do value consistency in two sports over excellence in one. I also gave a little more weight to prospects living up to their hype than Jordan did, so I hope that you all enjoy. I'd also like to give out honorable mentions to Virginia Tech (it really hurt to leave off Beamer Ball), Oklahoma State (good in both, not great), Michigan (although, being honest, their recent disappointments in football are what left them out), Notre Dame (ew, but I could've gone there), and Stanford (super underrated in basketball, and while they've had a lot of bad seasons in football, they're peaks have been really good, and they've excelled in a bunch of peripheral sports).

15) Syracuse: Have to agree with Jordan. When we first came up with this idea, I was really excited to include them and to be unique and for this to be my surprise team. Damn. I thought I had this one. But Jordan's right: while they may not have the consistency, they've certainly had a lot of peaks, and a great coach. While they may have fallen out of my top 15 upon further analysis, I think they're deserving of being in this conversation.

14) Michigan State: I wish they had had a little more consistency in football. If you want to know what I think, just take what I wrote about UNC, and subtract a few superstars.

13) Florida State: Oh FSU. If only you'd succeeded at basketball. What a program in football. Consistently great, produced great pros, particularly on defense (which is why Bowden succeeded and Charlie Weis failed-- please, PLEASE understand this if you're a D-I football coach). They were the team I loved to hate, and, to be honest, I've missed them.

12) North Carolina: I grew up a huge, huge fan of the Tar Heels basketball program. Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter, Ed Cota, and Julius Peppers were probably my favorite 4 players growing up. I wish I could rank them higher, but they've been mediocre in football, although they've produced two excellent NFLers (Dre Bly and Peppers-- of course, the fact that I mentioned Peppers as a hoopster first should mostly tell you what you need to know about their football team). This is the right spot for the Heels.

11) Kansas: Some recent success on the gridiron helps, but mostly it's the success on the hardwood that's made their reputation. They're deserving of this ranking. Actually, they're in-state rivals over at K-State make a compelling argument, as do their fellow K-basketball brethren at Kentucky, but Kansas gets the nod due to excellence in hoops and some pretty good seasons in football.

11) Miami: So low, huh? Well, they're an average basketball program, and, frankly, rank just ahead of #13 FSU and just behind #9 USCbecause they're basically "same song, different verse," as the saying goes. Better than FSU in football, worse than USC, and more mediocre than both in basketball, this is the right spot for the 'Canes.

9) USC: Surprised to find "the team" in college football for the last decade this low? Well, how have their football players fared in the pros? Their only relevant basketball player was brought there illegally, and they won only 1.5 national titles in football (and, frankly, didn't deserve the 1/2 title they got, and should have been splitting the other with Utah), even though it seems like they won about seven. Very good. Top ten overall, but not top five, and definitely not in the class of those schools that excelled in both sports.

8) LSU: This 8/9 line is the thinnest, in my opinion, of any of these. They have an equal number of college football titles, and an equal number of relevant basketball seasons. I'm giving the edge to the team with the tougher road, and with fewer colossal flops in the pros.

7) Tennessee: The Vols have been consistent in both sports, and that's really what you ask for from teams at this level. They've consistently performed at a high level in both sports, and if they were in a different football conference, say the ACC, they'd be much more highly looked upon.

6) Wisconsin: While this may have been surprising to Jordan, it certainly wasn't to me. Wisconsin is here in the top 7-- these are the schools that have excelled in both sports, year after year. They are consistently near the top of the Big Ten in both of the major sports, and they are vastly, vastly underrated.

5) Utah: Utah has a two national titles in football, no matter what anyone says. The basketball program that is led by Rick Majerus, perhaps college basketball's ultimate nice guy, is definitely worthy. Heck, he made it to the national title game with a team led by none other than Keith Van Horn.

4) Oklahoma: OU has had a lot of pretty good basketball teams, but that doesn't nearly match their success in football, where they've been one of the top 4 programs of the decade. This is an easy choice, as OU is clearly ahead of any of the other teams ranked above them.

3) Texas: This is the first of the three balanced teams. Texas has had a lot of success in both of the major sports. The major difference is that the level of success for Texas and for the two schools ranked ahead of them. Texas has certainly had a lot of good teams, but with their one national title in football, they're not quite on the level of the #1 and #2 schools. Which are...

2) Ohio State: I understand what Jordan's saying. Ohio State has lost a number of seasons due to NCAA violations. However, instead of holding those seasons against them, I've decided to just ignore them. And Ohio State has been, arguably, the best football team in the nation in the last decade. This is a no-doubter in my mind.

1) Florida: It totally and completely pains me to do this, but Florida is definitely the top program. There's no denying it. Florida has had three national titles in football, and two consecutively in basketball. They also had a number of other successful seasons. They're the choice.