We have the enviable position of picking first in this year's SB Nation Conference Re-Draft. So who should we take? We consider these eight schools and rank the top 5 in a game of Food Chain.
Brian: Texas seems like a no-brainer to me. They had the tradition, facilities and the nation's richest athletics department. They also have a Godzilla-tron and even a full-blown Starbucks inside Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Not only do the Longhorns have a top-notch football program, but they've also held their own in basketball playing in a conference traditionally dominated by Kansas. Throw in the coolness factor of the city of Austin and one of the best states to live in at the moment, and this seems like an easy #1 overall pick.
Jeff: LSU has won recent national championships in both football and baseball. Basketball lags behind a little but did have some great years with Shaq and Big Baby Davis. Death Valley is one of the toughest places to play in the nation at night and they have great tailgating traditions according to every announcer who has ever broadcast a game there. I've heard good stories and LSU attracts plenty of applicants with both its athletic programs and regular being rated a top party school.
Brian: Though Texas may be the richest athletics department in the country, it's The Ohio State University that is home to the largest athletics department. The Buckeyes field 19 men and 20 women's varsity sports, making it the largest collegiate athletics program in the nation. Ohio State is also one of only four schools to ever win a National Championship in baseball, basketball and football. Impending sanctions from the NCAA probably take this school and its football program down a few notches, but there are worse places to call home than the Horseshoe.
Jeff: This professional football program out west that dominated the PAC 10 for more than a decade is home to national championships and great football tradition. It is one of few programs to have multiple Heisman Trophy candidates in the same season. Pete Carroll had things clicking at USC for a long time, so he thought, until Reggie Bush got into some trouble with the NCAA and Carroll decided to head to the NFL. Now, what would get strong consideration for the #1 slot probably falls because of trouble with the NCAA.
Brian: With an enrollment of 49,827, Florida ranks as one of the top 10 public universities in terms of enrollment at a single campus. UF only ranks behind Arizona State, Central Florida, Ohio State, Minnesota and Texas in that category. Historically, Florida isn't a college football powerhouse program, but they've turned it on since the early 1990s, rattling off three National titles and eight SEC Championships. If you take Florida with one of the top picks, you'll be able to build a conference around a stable public state university in the heart of some prime recruiting territory.
Jeff: Between Miami and Florida State as the other school to consider from the state of Florida, you have to choose Miami because they have an all-time winning record over the Seminoles and has 5 national championships compared to 2 for FSU in football. Miami basketball is nothing that is even worth discussing, but let's face it, this is about football.
Brian: Though Alabama doesn't play in a large TV market, Tuscaloosa is still home to one of college football's most storied programs. Alabama claims 13 of college football's National Titles, including most recently in 2009 when the Crimson Tide went a perfect 14-0. Alabama is arguably the best college football program in the best college football conference in the country. The Tide also has easy access to some of the best recruiting hotbeds in the sport, conveniently situated between Florida and Texas. Alabama might not be a first round draft pick, but they'll certainly be gone by BC Interruption's second round pick at no. 12 overall.
Jeff: Oklahoma has to get some consideration. Oklahoma is certainly among the big boys in football and generally has a very respectable basketball program as well. Oklahoma trails Texas in their all-time series in football head to head but has the lead in national championships with seven. And I don't know if there is an official count somewhere, but I believe college gameday has visited Oklahoma more than any other campus. That has to say something.
Brian's Food Chain
2. Ohio State
Jeff's Food Chain