CBS started presenting the “Best in College Sports” to NCAA athletic programs in 2013, a year in which Louisville was recognized as No. 1. In the most recent ranking recognizing the 2021-2022 academic year, MSU’s rival, the Michigan Wolverines, are at the top after winning Big Ten banners in football and hockey.
The National Association of College Directors Athletics, for years, has ranked programs by weighing each individual sport equally. CBS’ rankings, however, value football and basketball more heavily. Each university is ranked based on its football team, men’s and women’s basketball teams and two “wild card” programs, or the best two sports at a university outside of the aforementioned categories.
For Michigan, its Big Ten-winning football team gained a point-total of 212, with 128 in men’s basketball, 73 in women’s basketball, 90 in hockey, and 85 in wrestling. MSU was given a score of 172.5 in football after Mel Tucker’s 11-2 Peach Bowl-winning season, a 100 in men’s basketball after a Round of 32 loss to Duke last season, a zero in women’s basketball and two wild card scores of 66.75 and 32.
It’s unclear as to what MSU’s wild card scores were, but its gymnastics program had an incredible year. MSU’s other sports like softball, baseball, and hockey have not fared as well. Wrestling seems like it could be a good contender for slot No. 2 in the wild card.
The highest Michigan State has finished in CBS’ rankings was 2013-2014, when it finished second.