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Best, worst APRs in the BCS

Posted May 7, 2008 by Brett McMurphy

Updated May 7, 2008 at 12:36 AM

Last season, the University of South Florida’s football team was ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation. In Tuesday’s Academic Progress Report (APR), based on the eligibility, retention and graduation of each scholarship student-athlete, the Bulls came in with the nation’s third-lowest APR among BCS football programs.

Only Arizona and Washington State were worse academically than USF among the 67 BCS football programs. The reports are based on NCAA Division I Academic Progress Rate (APR) data submitted by each institution for the four academic years between 2003-04 and 2006-07. There is a maximum score of 1,000.

USF was one of four BCS programs that had football and men’s basketball programs with both teams among the lowest 10 APR scores in each sport. The others: Mississippi State, Purdue and South Carolina.

Four BCS programs had football and men’s basketball programs that each ranked among the APR’s highest 10 scores: Duke, Notre Dame, Northwestern and Wake Forest.

Here’s a look at the 10 teams with the best and worst APRs in football and basketball among the six BCS conferences (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Big East, Pac-10 and SEC).

Football BCS Top 10 APRs
1. Stanford 986
2 (tie). Duke 977
2 (tie). Rutgers 977
4. Boston College 972
5 (tie). Miami 969
5 (tie). Notre Dame 969
5 (tie). Northwestern 969
8. California 967
9. Georgia 965
10 (tie). Penn State 964
10 (tie). Wake Forest 964
Noteworthy: Six of the top 11 schools played in bowl games last season – and all six (Rutgers, Boston College, Cal, Georgia, Penn State and Wake Forest) won their bowl games. Not surprisingly, the ACC had three teams ranked in the top five and four of the top 11. The Pac-10 had two teams, which is impressive, until you look at the bottom 10 football schools below. Of the six BCS conferences, only the Big 12 was not represented in the BCS Top 10.
Top 3 by conference: ACC (Duke 977, BC 972, Miami 969); Big 10 (Northwestern 969, Penn St. 964, Michigan 951); Big 12 (Oklahoma 942, Texas 942, Nebraska 941); Big East (Rutgers 977, Syracuse 955, UConn 950); Pac-10 (Stanford 986, Cal 967, USC 948, Washington 948); SEC (Georgia 965, Florida 962, Vandy 959).

Football BCS Bottom 10 APRs
1. Arizona 902
2. Washington State 916
3. South Florida 917
4. Kansas 919
5. Purdue 920
6 (tie). Oregon 921
6 (tie). South Carolina 921
8. Mississippi State 924
9 (tie). Michigan State 926
9 (tie). Oregon State 926
Noteworthy: While the ACC dominated the BCS Top 10 APR rankings, not one ACC team could be found in the BCS Bottom 10 APR rankings. The Pac-10, however, took Bottom 10 honors with four teams: No. 1 Arizona, No. 2 Washington State and the Oregon duo of the Ducks and the Beavers. As far as last year’s bowl lineup, No. 3 USF and No. 6 Oregon met in the academically challenged Sun Bowl, while the Orange Bowl had the next lowest combined APR bowl matchup with No. 4 Kansas and Virginia Tech, which just missed the Top 10 with the 14th lowest football APR.
Bottom 3 by conference: ACC (Va. Tech 929, NC State 941, Maryland 943); Big 10 (Purdue 920, Mich. St. 926, Minnesota 927); Big 12 (Kansas 919, Iowa St. 927, Texas Tech 928); Big East (USF 917, West Virginia 935, Cincinnati 939); Pac-10 (Arizona 902, Wash. St. 916, Oregon 921); SEC (South Carolina 921, Miss. St. 924, Arkansas 936).

Basketball BCS Top 10 APRs
1. North Carolina 995
2. Villanova 990
3. Illinois 989
4. Vanderbilt 985
5. Duke 984
6. Kansas 981
7. Oregon 975
8. Wake Forest 974
9. Northwestern 972
10. Notre Dame 971
Noteworthy: Each of the six BCS conferences are represented with the ACC (North Carolina, Duke and Wake Forest) leading the way. The Big East (Villanova and Notre Dame) and Big 10 (Illinois and Northwestern) each had two representatives. Seven of the top 10 made the NCAA Tournament with three reaching the Sweet 16: Villanova, North Carolina and national champion Kansas.
Top 3 by conference: ACC (North Carolina 995, Duke 984, Wake 974); Big 10 (Illinois 989, Northwestern 972, Penn St. 964); Big 12 (Kansas 981, Missouri 957, Okla. St. 957); Big East (Villanova 990, Notre Dame 971, Syracuse 955); Pac-10 (Oregon 975, UCLA 968, Stanford 954); SEC (Vandy 985, Georgia 958, Arkansas 944).

Basketball BCS Bottom 10 APRs
1. Southern Cal 863
2. Iowa State 869
3. Cincinnati 872
4. Colorado 873
5. Kansas State 880
6. Purdue 894
7 (tie). Indiana 899
7 (tie). South Carolina 899
9. Mississippi State 901
10. South Florida 904
Noteworthy: You won’t find any ACC teams on this list, but you’ll find plenty of Big 12 clubs: No. 2 Iowa State, No. 4 Colorado and No. 5 Kansas State. The SEC (South Carolina and Mississippi State) and Big East (Cincinnati and USF) also were represented by two teams. Five of the BCS Bottom 10 reached the NCAA Tournament, but none won more than one game. The most academically challenged first-round NCAA Tournament game last year: No. 1 Southern Cal vs. No. 5 Kansas State.
Bottom 3 by conference: ACC (Maryland 906, Clemson 920, Georgia Tech 931); Big 10 (Purdue 894, Indiana 899, Ohio St. 909); Big 12 (Iowa St. 869, Colorado 873, Kan. St. 880); Big East (Cincinnati 872, USF 904, DePaul 918, St. John’s 918); Pac-10 (USC 863, Arizona St. 905, Wash. St. 905); SEC (South Carolina 899, Miss. St. 901, Auburn 905).

Reader Comments

Por (Phil) on May 07, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Can someone explain to me how Washington State with a 916 loses eight scholarships and USF with a 917 loses none?

This system is more complicated than the Tax code.

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Por (Rich) on May 07, 2008 (Suggest removal)

This is such a flawed system, it’s not even funny. It penalizes teams for athlete turnover which happens when a program hires a new coach or maybe needs to upgrade talent when joining a new conference. While it rewards teams that have athletes working towards their degrees in physical education (not actually graduating mind you, just on pace to graduate in 5 years). Check out this site ranking teams from the top 25 last year. Texas actually graduates 32% of its players. we rank ahead of such programs as UF, UGA, Tenn, OU, LSU, OSU, Oregon and Texas.

http://www.newamerica.net/blogs/education_policy/2007/11/academic_bowl_championship_series

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Por (Jon McKee) on May 08, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Does this system take into consideration the demographics of the student population of the school?  Seems a bit unfair to compare USF to Stanford, Duke and Notre Dame.  They obviously recruit higher qualified students in general so the same applies to the sports.  I don’t see this as USF failing, but rather a reflection of the school in general.  Some schools get a better cut of scholars than others, that should not reflect negatively on USF or any other program if thats the nature of their student demographic.

BTW, how did USF compare to non-BCS schools?  I bet a lot better!!!!

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Por (JoeB) on May 08, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Thanks for telling only half the story Brett, we’re used to this type of journalism from the Trib.

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