April 9th, 2013 10:12 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Kentucky
Tags: Alabama, Auburn, BCS, CORRECTION, Peyton Siva, Rick Pitino
Sorry to start your morning with an SAT-style analogy, but the answer to the query posed in our headline should be quite simple. With Louisville cutting down the nets in Atlanta last night, the Commonwealth of Kentucky is to basketball as the State of Alabama is to football.
The Yellowhammer State is home to the last four BCS championships. After Alabama won the national crown in 2009, rival Auburn followed up in 2010. Since then, Bama has captured two more titles.
The Bluegrass State won its first title since 1998 last year under John Calipari. Last night, their rival, Louisville, won the NCAA Tournament. Rick Pitino was behind last night’s run and a ’96 UK title, for what it’s worth… becoming the first college basketball coach to ever win national titles at two different schools.
Moving forward, expect both states to be named favorites to keep the hardware within their state boundaries next season.
Alabama under Nick Saban has become the winningest dynasty since Nebraska won or shared national titles in 1994, 1995, and 1997. The Crimson Tide inked another highly-ranked signing class in February and there’s little doubt that — despite playing in a tough conference — Vegas will make them the BCS favorites in college football again this fall.
Next basketball season, Kentucky and Louisville should both be among the top title contenders as well. The Wildcats aren’t likely to do another bellyflop, especially not after signing six McDonald’s All-Americans in what some are calling the greatest class in the history of college hoops. Louisville will lose Peyton Siva, but the Cardinals are bringing in a four-man signing class that’s loaded with backcourt talent.
Chemistry and injuries should serve as caveats to any speculation regarding future national titles. Calipari’s team had issues with both this past season. Saban’s 2010 squad didn’t have the same mental makeup as his 2009 team, opening the door for Cam Newton and Auburn to capture their crystal football.
But on paper, Alabama, Kentucky, and Louisville should once again be back in the mix for their respective sports’ national crowns in the 2013-14 academic year. For that matter, as long as Saban, Calipari, and Pitino are coaching those programs, they will likely be in the mix for a national championship just about every year.
Alabama in football and Kentucky in basketball. When it comes to college championships, SEC fans don’t have to look to other regions to see where the finest programs reside.
CORRECTION — Kentucky’s last NCAA Tournament win came in 1998 under Tubby Smith, not in 1996 under Rick Pitino as initially noted.
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