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The best (and worst) combined football and basketball years in Mizzou history

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Mizzou is typically good at either football or basketball and rarely both. But despite current basketball struggles, recent history has been awfully kind in this regard.

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

SB Nation recently took a look at the best combined football and basketball programs in the country. Needless to say, Mizzou didn't make the cut, but I thought I would use that as a prompt for looking at the times in Mizzou's history when football and basketball were at its highest (and lowest) combined levels.

Mizzou has had a pretty interesting history. The Tigers have typically been pretty good in either basketball or football but have rarely been particularly strong at the same time. We already kind of knew this, but the numbers more than back it up.

To figure out rankings for recent history, I'm turning to Sports Reference's SRS (Simple Ratings System) ratings, which exist for football going back to the beginning of the 1900s and exist for basketball going back to 1979. So we'll break Mizzou's history into two pieces: since 1979 and before 1979.

Best Combined Seasons Since 1979 (according to SRS)

Jamie Squire-Getty Images

Year Football Basketball Combined SRS Average Win Pct.
2008-09 10-4 (Alamo Bowl) 31-7 (Elite Eight) 32.67 .765
2011-12 8-5 (Indy Bowl) 30-5 (Round of 64) 30.85 .736
2013-14 12-2 (Cotton Bowl) 23-12 (NIT) 30.03 .757
1981-82 8-4 (Tangerine Bowl) 27-4 (Sweet 16) 29.46 .769
2010-11 10-3 (Insight Bowl) 23-11 (Round of 64) 28.75 .723
2007-08 12-2 (Cotton Bowl) 16-16 28.52 .679
1980-81 8-4 (Liberty Bowl) 22-10 (Round of 48) 26.70 .678
1998-99 8-4 (Insight.com Bowl) 20-9 (Round of 64) 26.04 .679
1979-80 7-5 (Hall of Fame Bowl) 25-6 (Sweet 16) 23.20 .695
1987-88 5-6 19-11 (Round of 64) 22.27 .544

(I'm using average in percentage instead of combined win percentage here, simply averaging football's and basketball's percentages together. I'm doing this for an obvious reason -- there are a lot more basketball games than football games, and this is the easiest way to give them equal weight.)

Obviously an athletic director's job goes a lot deeper than simply putting good football and basketball teams on the field/court at the same time. But this list suggests that history will be pretty kind to Mike Alden's legacy. Because football stunk for most of the 1980s and basketball faded dramatically for portions of the mid-1990s and mid-2000s, there haven't been many parts of Mizzou's recent history when both sports were clicking simultaneously. But despite multiple basketball hiccups, the closest Mizzou has come has been under Alden's watch. And the Pinkel-Haith combination shows up on two of the first three lines, strangely enough.

Worst Combined Seasons Since 1979 (according to SRS)

Todd Warshaw-Getty Images

Year Football Basketball Combined SRS Average Win Pct.
1995-96 3-8 18-15 (NIT) 1.29 .409
1985-86 1-10 21-14 (Round of 64) 4.32 .346
1986-87 3-8 24-10 (Round of 64) 5.39 .490
2005-06 7-5 (Indy Bowl) 12-16 5.67 .506
1994-95 3-8-1 20-9 (Tyus Edney) 5.82 .491
1989-90 2-9 26-6 (Round of 64) 6.88 .498
1996-97 5-6 16-17 7.84 .470
2000-01 3-8 20-13 (Round of 32) 8.13 .440
2004-05 5-6 16-17 (NIT) 8.57 .470
1984-85 3-7-1 18-14 (NIT) 8.60 .441

My freshman year was 1997-98, so Mizzou fans just a bit older than me had it the worst. The 1994-95, 1995-96, and 1996-97 years all make the list. Meanwhile, beware years that end in 5. [checks calendar] Crap.

(Mizzou's combined SRS in 2014-15, by the way? 13.21. Slightly closer to the "worst" list because of basketball but basically right in the middle because of football.)

Best Combined Seasons from Faurot to 1978 (according to average win percentage)

Perhaps the worst combined period for football and basketball came in the years directly preceding Don Faurot's arrival as Missouri's head coach and, eventually, athletic director. In 1933, Football went 1-8 while basketball went 10-8 (combined: .334). In 1934, Football went 0-8-1 while basketball went 7-11 (.223). So we'll start this deeper dive into Mizzou history there. The two teams were awesome in the years following World War I and horrific a decade later, and we'll pick up this list in 1935.

The Savitar

Year Football Basketball Average Win Pct.
1939-40 8-2 (Orange Bowl) 13-6 .742
1960-61 11-0 (Orange Bowl) 11-13 .729
1969-70 9-2 (Orange Bowl) 15-11 .698
1975-76 6-5 26-5 (Elite Eight) .692
1938-39 6-3 12-6 .667
1974-75 7-4 18-9 .652
1968-69 8-3 (Gator Bowl) 14-11 .644
1972-73 6-6 (Fiesta Bowl) 21-6 .639
1976-77 6-5 21-8 .635
1963-64 7-3 13-11 .621

George Edwards' Mizzou basketball program found a brief spark at the same time that Paul Christman was pitchin' the ball around and nearly winning the Heisman in 1939. But for most of the next two decades, either basketball stunk or basketball and football stunk. And Norm Stewart brought about the renaissance. Six of the top nine seasons here happened after Stewart took the basketball job in 1967.

Worst Combined Seasons from Faurot to 1978 (according to average win percentage)

The Savitar

Year Football Basketball Average Win Pct.
1966-67 6-3-1 3-22 .385
1955-56 1-9 15-7 .391
1951-52 2-8 14-10 .392
1958-59 5-4-1 6-19 .395
1977-78 4-7 14-16 .416
1944-45 3-5-2 8-10 .422
1937-38 3-6-1 9-9 .425
1971-72 1-10 21-6 .435
1956-57 4-5-1 10-13 .443
1965-66 8-2-1 (Sugar Bowl) 3-21 .449

The 1950s had their moments, like when Norm Stewart (the athlete) and company were going 31-12 in 1954-55. But football went just 5-14-1 in those two years, and overall, neither program was having a lot of fun. That began to change when Faurot hired Dan Devine in 1958.