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The Top 40

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  • The Top 40

    No, this isn't football rankings.

    I like to look at the global university rankings to get a good idea where colleges stand vs. one another. The US rankings in US News and Forbes are hogwash in a multitude of ways and meant to pad reputations, but aren't nearly accurate enough. US News and 5 others have pretty good rankings that show a good global picture, though. I think G5 pushes foreign colleges too much and pushes US schools down, but there is another top 100 list that is too US prone and they all balance out well if you look at all of them.

    I have a top 71 schools in the world list and it's 71 because there are 71 schools that average better than 100 across all 6 rankings. 40 of the 71 are in the US and that's why the world comes here for college. 32 of the Top 50 are in the US and 20 of the top 25 are here.

    With the conclusion of baseball, we also have the conclusion of the Learfield Directors Cup standings. I think there is a huge correlation of better schools having better overall athletic programs and the extra money that power 5 schools have also lead to better overall athletic programs.

    21 Power 5 schools:

    Stanford, 3rd in the world, average rank of 4, and 1st in D1 athletics for the 25th straight year out of over 350 teams.
    Cal, 6th, 10 rank, and 18th in the D1 standings.
    Michigan, 12th, 16 rank, and 2nd in the standings.
    UCLA, 14th, 17 rank, and 6th in the standings.
    Duke, 19th in the world, 24 rank, and 9th in the standings.
    Washington, 21st, 26 rank, and 24th in the standings.
    Northwestern, 24th, 29 rank, and 45th in the standings.
    Wisconsin, 25th, 31 rank, and 16th in the standings.
    Texas, 29th in the world, average rank of 37, and 4th in the Cup standings. Keep in mind that only Harvard has a larger endowment and they're 1st, not 29th.
    Illinois, 32nd, 45 rank, and 43rd in the standings.
    North Carolina, 34th, 47 rank, and 10th in the standings.
    Minnesota, 40th, 57 rank, and 20th in the standings.
    USC, 44th, 62 rank, and 5th in the standings.
    Penn State, 45th, 63 rank, and 13th in the standings.
    Maryland, 48th, 67 rank, and 40th in the standings.
    Georgia Tech, 49th, 67 rank, and 66th in the standings.
    Ohio State, 52nd, 75 rank, 12th in the standings, and I think both their stadium and campus look like garbage. At least Penn State tries to improve things.
    Purdue, 55th, 78 rank, and 55th in the standings.
    Pitt, 59th, 81 rank, and 137th in the standings.
    Colorado, 64th, 89 rank, and 50th in the standings.
    Michigan State, 70th, 98 rank, and 47th in the standings.

    1 D1 football school:

    Rice, 63rd, 88 rank, and 122nd in the standings. It's going to be hard for Group of 5 teams to ever get in a Power 5. Some are going against geography of other conference teams, they don't push the needle, very few have good enough academics to get in a Power 5, and most don't have a good enough athletic program to compete. Houston is trying to get there on all fronts, but BYU was still the best athletic program this year at around 31st-35th and they have shortfalls to get in a Power 5, too.

    10 D1 schools:

    Harvard, 1st in the world, 2 rank, and 58th in athletics.
    Princeton, 7th, 11 rank, and 30th in the standings.
    Columbia, 8th, 11 rank, and 80th in the standings.
    Yale, 10th, 13 rank, and 74th in the standings.
    Cornell, 11th, 15 rank, and 81st in the standings.
    Penn, 13th, 16 rank, and 64th in the standings.
    Boston U., 46th, 63 rank, and 181st in the standings.
    UC Davis, 50th, 72 rank, and 112th in the standings.
    Brown, 54th, 78 rank, and 118th in the standings. No, I didn't forget about Dartmouth, the SEC, or the rest of the Big 12.
    UC Irvine, 67th, 91 rank, and 155th in the standings.

    1 D2 school:

    UC San Diego, 22nd, 26 rank, and 2nd in the D2 standings. They'll be D1 next year in the Big West with UC Davis, UC Irvine, and UC Santa Barbara among others.

    7 D3 schools:

    MIT, 2nd, 3 rank, and 6th in the D3 standings.
    Chicago, 9th, 13 rank, and 9th in the standings.
    Johns Hopkins, 16th, 21 rank, and 2nd in the standings.
    Caltech, 18th, 22 rank, and 290th in the standings. They are a school under a 1000 students, though.
    New York U., 23rd, 27 rank, and 34th in the standings.
    Washington U. of St. Louis, 39th, 57 rank, and 3rd in the standings.
    Carnegie Mellon, 43rd, 61 rank, and 33rd in the standings.

    You can see an advantage in sports for academic prowess at D1 schools in sports and it's even more evident in D2 and D3.
    Last edited by lonny23; 07-05-2019, 09:31 PM.

  • #2
    Those rankings very seldom include the service academies, which I understand because research and graduate programs do not exist there.

    It is interesting how they all "rack & stack."


    • #3
      Originally posted by slorch View Post
      Those rankings very seldom include the service academies, which I understand because research and graduate programs do not exist there.

      It is interesting how they all "rack & stack."
      That's exactly why it doesn't include the academies. Everyone agrees that service academy degrees mean something. I do think the ROI numbers for the academies are skewed by not having to pay and for officer pay in the military giving you a good salary if you stay in for a while. It wasn't good enough for us to hire a Naval academy grad when we had an opening for maintenance engineer.

      I think religious schools are held in lower regard, too. Some of it is deserved and some is probably agenda driven. The ROI for most religious schools is in the toilet.

      I like the global ranks because they don't try to tell us that small liberal arts colleges are better because it takes a higher SAT/ACT to get in. Public universities have lower SAT's in most cases because they make a lot of effort to let kids from that state get in. I think the schools that deserve to be on the list have to be great all around in math, sciences, law, medicine, and engineering.


      • #4
        What intrigues me about college rankings is how they influence future conference affiliations. The Presidents choose who can join and they like to keep the member pool alike. The Big 10 doesn't want you if you're not an AAU school and Nebraska is the only member that isn't in the AAU. They used to be and even being the worst school in the Big 10 is still better than almost everyone that would like to be a Power 5 school.

        You pretty much have to join a conference that doesn't have a team from your state to get into a Power 5 now. I'll use Houston as an example. The Big 12 will never want them. I'm not sure they could get into the SEC with the Aggies already in. They're not good enough academically yet for the Big 10. Would the ACC ever take them? The Cougars only hope to get into the Pac 12 is if they'd want Rice. I say that because the Pac 12 creates travel partners for their members. Rice is the only D1 school in the western half of the US that's not a Power 5 that fits academically with the Pac 12. Even Wazzu and the 2 moron Oregon schools are better than Houston. Academics were probably a sticking point for not taking Big 12 schools into the Pac 12 in 2010. It's one thing to be stuck with teams that have been in your conference for decades and another to take a new school.