It Could Be Worse
So we know that under Morgan Burke, Purdue added two national titles to its collection of, uh, one, which is good. Sort of. I mean, three is much better than one, and yes, we can all name schools with more than that in just basketball ... but how bad is it? We're not the fans with the least, are we? To answer those questions, I did some research.
Well, that's not entirely true. I started by doing some research, and then once again, my sources had incomplete data, so I put something together myself. You've probably stumbled across this table on Wikipedia - no, seriously, I don't care what your freshman-year professors told you, Wikipedia is generally the best source for this kind of thing because people who care about sports will update stuff, sometimes as soon as it happens. (21st-century problems: people not updating the UEFA Euro 2016 page within seconds of the final whistle.) Anyway, yes, this is up-to-date as of now (insert joke about lack of Big Tenteen national titles), and ... yeah.
Crash course in NCAA titles: they count NCAA tournaments only, so no I-A football stuff (yet), and no older we-voted-on-it stuff (yes, that's why I ignore 1932). Fencing (since 1990; from 1982-89 it was women only), rifle and skiing are the only co-ed sports, and yes, Penn State is/was very good at fencing. (West Virginia dominates rifle, and Colorado and Utah rule the skiing empire.)
So you can exclude Penn State's fencing titles, you can turn up your nose at Maryland's field hockey (8) and women's lacrosse (12) titles, and we can marvel at how Indiana managed 24 men's titles and no women's titles (only Oklahoma State has more men's titles without at least one women's crown), but none of that moves Purdue up from the spot they're in. Yay Rutgers! (BTW, their one title ... is in fencing. My numbers have it in the Mixed column.)
Fine, but we kind of knew that already - I've noted it before. What about the other P5 schools? I went searching, and that's where I hit my first obstacle. The Pac-12 lists them neatly, along with individual titles (of course they do, wouldn't you if you had that many?), as does the ACC, but that's it. And of course that doesn't put all the data together for us. So I took the NCAA combined record book (link to PDF), parsed it into Excel, and then added the relevant 2015-16 titles.
Bad news: of 65 P5 schools, Purdue is pretty far down the list, and obviously miles behind the teams at the top. Good news: not the worst! Not at all! More than one-sixth of other P5 schools have fewer team titles, and five don't have any.
Naturally, this would be the kind of information that would be great to have online ... too bad we're not at that point yet. Anyway, never mind that. At this point, you're probably thinking "Wait a minute Dave - don't you spend a lot of time telling us that championships aren't everything?" In that case, I'll remind you that the internet convention is for such things to be asked in bold type.
Wait a minute Dave - don't you spend a lot of time telling us that championships aren't everything?
Um, yes. Yes I do.
But you just did a mini-post on championships.
I did. They're the ultimate prize, so even though I don't believe they're the best indicator of success, they're where a lot of discussions start, so I thought we'd start with them.
Does that mean you're going into more detail next?
Does a bear ... oh right, family site. Does a bear look at a Jeep with a soft-top and think of it like a Hot Pocket? Yes - next, we'll look at conference performance, both historical and Burke-era. No, I'm not going to compile overall softball records ... but I will have some data like that.