Auburn Family News: AL.com All-Access: Would you trade a football title for one in basketball and baseball?

Thursday, June 29, 2017

AL.com All-Access: Would you trade a football title for one in basketball and baseball?


It would be Florida. Of course it would.

Of all the schools in the Southeastern Conference, it made perfect sense that Florida became the first to win at least one national championship in football, men's basketball and baseball.

The Gators finally added their first baseball crown Tuesday night by completing a two-game sweep of SEC rival LSU in the championship series at the College World Series.

If you like old-school baseball, you had to love watching Florida win with pitching and defense.

If you like a well-rounded athletics department that's more than a football factory, you have to appreciate Florida's commitment to excellence in all its sports. The only surprise is that it took so long for the Gators to win the College World Series for the first time on their 11th trip.

To their credit, they've won at least one national title in each of the Big Three sports of football, men's basketball and baseball since 2007.

Florida became the fifth SEC program to win a baseball national championship. The others: LSU with six, South Carolina with two and Georgia and Vanderbilt with one each. Missouri won one in 1954, long before it joined the SEC.

Florida is one of three SEC programs with a big ring in basketball. The Gators have two. The others: Kentucky with eight and Arkansas with one.

LSU and Georgia also own football national titles so they're a basketball championship away from the triple crown. Arkansas claims the 1964 football title, but that came long before the Razorbacks joined the SEC.

So what are the chances Alabama and Auburn could join Florida on that exclusive list?

The Tide and Tigers have football titles in the bank, but they've never been to the Final Four, advancing to the Elite Eight once each. The good news: Each program is on the rise under Avery Johnson and Bruce Pearl.

Alabama has finished second at the College World Series twice in 1983 and 1997 but hasn't been there since 1999. Auburn has finished as high as third in 1967 but hasn't been to Omaha since 1997. The good news: Butch Thompson led the Tigers one strike away from a Super Regional this season, and his right-hand man, Brad Bohannon, is the new Alabama head coach.

So there's reason for optimism in both sports on both campuses. Is there enough passion in each fan base in the other sports?

Here's a test: You can make a deal with the sports gods. You're guaranteed a national championship in basketball and baseball in the next five years, but to make it happen, you have to accept that your football program won't win another national title in that same time frame.

Would you take that deal? Let me know on AL.com All-Access.



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