When the latest APR scores came out, two numbers jumped out:
USF sitting No. 3 in the league with a 970 score; and Louisville sitting last with a 924 score. The Bulls' score showed exactly how far this program has come, but Louisville's was a bit more misleading.
First, on USF. As Greg Auman of The St. Petersburg Times pointed out, USF tied for 16th out of all the BCS football programs with its APR score.
That was not the case four years ago, when USF had the worst score of all 66 BCS programs. Say what you will about former USF coach Skip Holtz, but these scores are a direct reflection of his hard work in bringing the academics back up in the football program. That is one area where all Bulls fans should agree.
As for Louisville, the Cardinals also have had APR disasters in the past. The 924 score is a four-year average, and includes the 896 the program posted in 2009-10, when coaching turnover made a major impact in the APR rate. That score got the Cardinals an immediate penalty from the NCAA -- three scholarship reductions.
But if you look at the past two single-year APR scores, you see major improvements. The single-year score in 2010-11 was 948; in 2011-12 the single-year APR score was 971. Those were the first two seasons with Charlie Strong in charge. If you just look at the single-year score from 2011-12, Louisville would have ranked No. 4 among all members who were in the Big East at the time. Only Syracuse (984), Rutgers (976) and and USF (972) had higher single-year scores.
If you want to compare to the future ACC, Louisville would have ranked No. 7. Six teams -- Boston College, Clemson, Duke, NC State, Virginia and Georgia Tech -- all had single-year APR scores higher than 971 in 2011-12. Four of them (BC, Clemson, Duke and Georgia Tech) all won NCAA public recognition awards for having multi-year scores in the top 10 percent of all FBS programs. Rutgers was the only Big East team to earn such recognition.