This past weekend, the Final Four of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament was set, with Michigan State, Wisconsin, Kentucky and Duke punching their tickets to Indianapolis. While the two Big Ten teams in that foursome bolstered their two-sport résumés, it still wasn’t enough to catch one of its conference rivals.
Since the advent of the Bowl Championship Series for the 1998 college football season, and bleeding into the College Football Playoff established for the 2014 season, Ohio State has played in 11 so-called major bowl games. Additionally, the hoops version of the Buckeyes has qualified for three Final Fours in that span; that total of 14 BCS/CFP/New Year’s Six/Final Four appearances since the 1998-99 season is the most of any FBS program in general and Power Five conferences specifically.
(Writer’s note: Yes, I’m including the “vacated” Sugar Bowl appearance following the 2010 season.)
Behind OSU is Florida, which has four Final Fours and seven major bowls since the 1998 college football season for a total of 11. The only other school in double figures is Oklahoma, which comes in with a total of 10 that decidedly favors the gridiron — nine on the football side of the ledger, to be exact.
After that it’s the two B1G teams mentioned in the lede, with MSU totaling nine (seven hoops, two football) and UW eight (three and five).
Speaking of the B1G, a total of six of its current members have pulled off this particular “double-double,” with the others being Michigan (one hoops, five football), Illinois (one, two) and Maryland (two, one). And in fairness, yes, none of the latter’s came while it was a part of the Big Ten; in fact, all three came while the Terps were members of the ACC..
As far as the rest of the Power Five conferences go, the Big 12 has had five teams pull it off, followed by the ACC with three and the Pac-12 and SEC with two each.
Other than the schools already mentioned, just one other has multiple appearances in the Final Four and major bowls since 1998: Louisville. The Cardinals have appeared in three Final Fours and two BCS bowl games. Those appearances came while the U of L was a member of Conference USA and the Big East.
There has also been exactly one major college that has won a national championship in both basketball and football in this time period: Florida. And, actually, and more impressively, they won multiple titles in each, with the football Gators laying claim to the crystal following the 2006 and 2008 seasons, and the hoops Gators hoisting the trophy after the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 seasons.
Of course, the head coach of Florida for their two football championships is now the head coach at Ohio State, with Urban Meyer adding the first CFP title to his illustrious résumé in his third year with the Buckeyes.
Below is the complete list of 18 teams that have earned a spot in the Final Four and qualified for a major bowl berth since the 1998-1999 season:
Ohio State, 14 (three basketball, 11 football)
Florida, 11 (four, seven)
Oklahoma, 10 (one, nine)
Michigan State, nine (seven, two)
Wisconsin, eight (three, five)
LSU, six (one, five)
Michigan, six (one, five)
Kansas, five (four, one)
Louisville, five (three, two)
Texas, five (one, four)
UCLA, four (three, one)
West Virginia, four (one, three)
Illinois, three (one, two)
Maryland, three (two, one)
Syracuse, three (two, one)
Arizona, two (one, one)
Georgia Tech, two (one, one)
Oklahoma State, two (one, one)
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