Athletic supremacy – the Battle of Birds

Luc Hancock FishWrap, FishWrap Archive

As the 2012-2013 college athletic season comes to an end, very few of the 346 Division I schools can say they had success across all sports.  This makes perfect sense, since some schools tend to focus on one sports program over another.  For example, Duke and Mike Krzyzewski are awaited by fans and media to contend for another national title in basketball, while Cal-State Fullerton is always linked to the College World Series in Omaha.  On the flip side, we never hear anything about Duke’s football team or Cal-State Fullerton’s basketball team.  This goes to show the level of difficulty in having a well rounded and successful athletic program.

Oregon has turned into a national brand with their success on the field

Oregon has turned into a national brand with their success on the field

This year, however, two schools have taken steps towards the improbable of reigning over college sports across all spectrums.  The University of Oregon and the University of Louisville have gone blow for blow as they compete for the title of overall athletic supremacy in this year’s 2012-2013 season.

We will go through each sport, comparing Oregon and Louisville’s success, and assigning a winner. The winner in the three major sports (football, basketball and baseball) will count as one point while the minor sports will be given half a point.  I will attempt to be as unbiased as possible when assigning points since I am writing for an Oregon sports site.


Overall record:

Oregon: 12-1 (Won Fiesta Bowl)

Louisville: 11-2 (Won Sugar Bowl)

Both schools kicked off the collegiate athletic season off with a bang winning a BCS bowl game. These two teams have two of the most explosive quarterbacks in college football with Marcus Mariota and Teddy Bridgewater.  Many mock drafts have Bridgewater as the first overall pick in next year’s 2014 draft with Mariota following his footsteps a few draft picks later.

Oregon and Louisville had similar seasons and records, but one drastic difference separates them. Oregon played in a much tougher conference being tested week in and week out by their opponents.  Louisville played in a seemingly weak Big East Conference, losing two games to questionable opponents Syracuse and Connecticut.

Oregon: 1        Louisville: 0

Men’s Basketball

Overall record:

Oregon: 28-9 (Lost in the Sweet 16)

Louisville: 35-5 (Won the National Championship)

The Ducks came out of nowhere, placing second in the Pac-12 and winning the conference tournament outright in Las Vegas. They were under-seeded in the NCAA tournament and proved it by beating tough teams, Oklahoma State and Saint Louis.

Russ Smith had the game of his life scoring 31 points against the Ducks

Russ Smith had the game of his life scoring 31 points against the Ducks

The Ducks met the eventual national champions in the Sweet 16, giving them a run for their money, but the Cardinals would not let anyone stand in their way.  They had experience, chemistry and played in the Big East, arguably the toughest conference to play in. Louisville is the obvious winner here with their utter domination in the tournament.

Oregon: 1        Louisville: 1


Overall Record:

Oregon: 48-16 (Lost in Regional play)

Louisville: 51-12 (Clinched spot in College World Series – still playing)

With Oregon’s baseball program still only five years old, they have taken people by surprise with their success in what is thought to be one of the toughest conferences to play in. The Ducks, looking to build off their impressive 2012 campaign, were knocked off by Rice in a “win or go home” Game 7 at the Eugene Regional.  Louisville ran through their regional round and swept second overall seed Vanderbilt to secure a spot in the College World Series in Omaha. Louisville cruised through the Regional and Super Regional rounds, making it look easy.

Oregon: 1        Louisville: 2

Women’s Basketball

Overall Record:

Oregon: 4-27

Louisville: 29-9

The Ducks struggled as their record suggests.  Louisville played in a tough conference and surprised people by narrowly knocking off favorite Baylor and Britney Griner.  They reached the finals against UConn, but were demolished 93-60.

Oregon: 1        Louisville: 2.5

Women’s Softball

Overall Record:

Oregon: 50-11 (Lost in Super Regional play)

Louisville: 48-13 (Lost in regional play)

The Ducks played were tested each week playing tough conference opponents, but lost two out of three games to Nebraska, who they had beaten 11-2 earlier in the season. Louisville had an equally tremendous season, but was eliminated by UCLA in a 19-2 thrashing.

The Ducks softball team had quite the season but were trumped in the Super Regionals

The Ducks softball team had quite the season but were trumped in the Super Regionals

Oregon: 1.5    Louisville: 3

Women’s Volleyball

Overall Record:

Oregon: 31-4 (Lost in the NCAA Finals)

Louisville: 30-4 (Lost in second round of NCAA tournament)

Both these teams reached the tournament with Oregon reaching the finals versus Texas.  They ended up losing in three straight sets but did surprise favorite Penn State in the semi-finals.

Oregon: 2     Louisville: 3

Track and Field

Overall Record:

Oregon: M – ranked 3rd, W – ranked 5th

Louisville: M – ranked 36th, W – NR

Liz Brenner played a larger part in Oregon's Track & Field success

Liz Brenner played a larger part in Oregon’s Track & Field success

This one was dominated by the Ducks who represent Track Town USA.  They impressively finished with both teams in the Top 5 reinforcing their dominance of this sport.

Oregon: 3        Louisville: 3

Both schools had record setting years in athletics with similar results.  From the point system as was created, there is a tie.  As a record breaker, I have to lean towards Louisville because it won a BCS bowl game and the NCAA national basketball championship.

This is not to discredit Oregon, who equally had a year to remember across the board.  Hopefully these schools can keep up their athletic prowess into the upcoming years and continue this friendly competition for the ultimate sports school.

Overall Winner: Louisville




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