The most successful colleges across major sports

The most successful colleges across major sports
According to Andre Viljoen, expert on college sports at, the US is home to the most competitive and exciting college sports programs in the world. Over 8m young Americans take part in college sports every year, in more than 20 different events. In the case of major sports, such as football and basketball, the NCAA competitions are as popular among sports fans as the major leagues, such as the NBA and the NFL.
Not all college programs are equal, and the best US colleges have earned national and global reputations for sporting excellence. Here are six of the most successful colleges in major sports.
University of California, Los Angeles
For the football athletes at the University of California, Los Angeles, there is no greater motivation than playing their home games at the legendary Rose Bowl, a stunning venue that inspires exceptional performances. Not surprisingly, this college has produced some of the top names in NFL history, including the Dallas Cowboys hero Troy Aikman and Baltimore Ravens star Jonathan Ogden. UCLA has also produced its share of basketball heroes to bank on, including the six-time MVP Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and one of the greatest athletes in the history of the NBA, Russell Westbrook.
University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa
College football, along with college basketball, grabs most of the attention for varsity sports. When it comes to football, there is no bigger or more consistent name in the business than the University of Alabama. In fact, since 2009, the Crimson Tide have claimed an impressive six NCAA championship titles, bringing their all-time tally to 16. Among the many stars to emerge from the Alabama program are Derrick Henry, the 2015 Heisman Trophy winner, 2005 Super Bowl champion and NFL MVP Shaun Alexander and the legendary Joe Namath.
University of Kentucky, Lexington
The University of Kentucky basketball team, known as the Wildcats, can claim to be one of the most successful college teams in the sport. Arguably more top-class NBA players have come out of Kentucky than any other college, with a list of alumni that includes DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall and Anthony Davis. The Wildcats have reached the Final Four on 17 occasions, have played in 12 Championship games and have won the Championship seven times, the latest in 2012. Kentucky has also produced National League Cy Young Award winner Brandon Webb and Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb, along with successes in rifle shooting, swimming and gymnastics.
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge
One of the most famous colleges in the US, LSU has consistently produced high-quality NFL players, including the likes of Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry and Patrick Peterson, who registered six consecutive Pro Bowl appearances beginning in 2011. The result has been even greater focus and investment at LSU, and the development of the imposing Tiger Stadium, which now has a capacity of more than 102,000. Beyond football, LSU has one of the best athletics programs in the US.
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
Duke athletes shine particularly on the basketball court. So far, the men’s NCAA team has claimed five NCAA championships and 16 Final Four appearances, as they battle for local supremacy with the Carolina Tar Heels. The women’s team has been equally successful, winning three ACC Championships since 2010 and finishing as runners up in 2014 and 2017. Duke is also home to one of the greatest venues in all college sports, the Cameron Indoor Stadium.
University of Florida, Gainesville
Florida has a rich sports tradition and the University of Florida has been one of the leading college programs for many years. The Gators made history when they landed all three of the Southeastern Conference All-Sports titles during the 2016-17 season, something that has never been achieved by another college in the history of the conference. By the end of the 2017 season, Florida had claimed an incredible 234 trophies, beating all of their conference rivals. They’ve also won their share of NCAA team championships, including two basketball titles, three football successes and seven trophies for the women’s tennis team. Naturally, they’ve also produced some of the most successful athletes in US sport, including 2006 World Series MVP David Eckstein and the NFL’s all-time rushing leader Emmitt Smith, star of three Super Bowl wins with the Dallas Cowboys.
College sports is one of the most gripping and entertaining forms of sport in the world. Its ultra-competitive nature has led to the development of elite centers of sporting excellence that have brought joy to millions and turned aspiring athletes into national heroes.