West’s Best Bets – The Championship

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This is it, ladies and gentlemen. The West’s Best Bets has reached the finals and it has comedown to two great schools. The culmination of four months and 16 cities and their fine institutions of higher learning has come down to this moment.

Will it be the laid-back beach village of Westwood, California or the desert oasis of Tempe, Arizona that brings home the title of the “Best College City in the West?” We examine not only academics, but also look at athletics, bar scene, weather and most importantly, the lovely ladies that attend the school.

The city of Tempe is a suburb of Phoenix situated on the southeast corner and is bordered by Scottsdale, Mesa and Chandler on the north, east and south sides respectively. The city is 40.2 square miles and is home to over 161,000 residents.

The main campus of Arizona State University is located on the north side of the city just south of the once-flowing Salt River. The 642 acre campus is home to nearly 60, 000 students and is the heart of the four-campuses thoughout the metroplex.

ASU is a school that had its fair share of notoriety as one of the top party schools in the country in the past. With a new President and culture change, can Arizona State shed its party image and become a respectable institution of higher learning or is it just a facade?

Let’s revisit the rankings and see how ASU fared.

Athletics Teams

  • roblesx-largeFootball – Bowl Record of 12-12-1 with a Rose Bowl record of 1-1, and 17 Conference Championships; seven in the Border Conference, seven in the WAC and three in the Pac-10.
  • Baseball – 35 Tournament appearances and 22 College World Series appearances with five National Championships. They have accumulated 21 regular season championships, including four straight in the Pac-10 from 2007-2010.
  • Softball – 23 Tournament appearances and nine College World Series appearances including the last five with two National Championships. They also have two Conference Championships.
  • Men’s Basketball – 13 tournament appearances, advancing three times to the Elite Eight. They also have eight regular season championships; four in the Border and four in the WAC.
  • 23 Total National Championships
  • Other National Championships (16) – Women’s Golf (7), Women’s Track & Field (3), Men’s Track & Field (2), Men’s Golf (2), Wrestling (1).

Arizona State University seems to be one of those bubble teams when it comes to athletics. They show flashes of brilliance in some areas but suffer from an inability to get over the hump when it comes to maintaining a solid presence in any sport. Notable ASU individual athletes are war hero and former football player, Pat Tillman, golfer Phil Mickelson and undefeated one-legged wrestling champion Anthony Robles. For their lack of consistency, I award ASU 22 out of a possible 30 points.

Women

ASU-girlsASU has the hottest women on campus that I have ever visited. Just think about every hot girl at every high school in every Podunk city across this great country of ours…and they all want to go to Arizona State. Wearing bikini tops and daisy dukes to class isn’t out of the ordinary, it is the status quo. With so many drop dead gorgeous women at this school, even normal, everyday beauties that would blow the minds at many other campuses get overlooked at ASU. Thank God for ASU and the bevy of beauties that grace the campus – 25 out of 25 possible points.

Local Bars & Pubs

Bordering Phoenix to the south east, the city of Tempe caters to the college crowd with several great college hangouts along Mill Avenue, but there is also a wide range of bars, pubs and breweries within a stone’s throw from campus. If you are adventurous, there are literally a thousand other bars, pubs and hangouts a quick freeway ride away. The beautiful people get dressed up and hit Scottsdale, the hipsters head to downtown Phoenix, the music fans stay in Tempe or go to Chandler while the pro sports fans hit up the northwest wide where the Arizona Cardinals and Phoenix Coyotes call home. One thing is for sure, you are never going to get bored here – 19 out of 20 possible points.

 Weather            

asu flagTempe and the rest of “the valley of the sun” is a true asphalt jungle in the middle of the desert. Many say that it is a shame having so much urban sprawl in the beauty of the desert and it only adds to the scorching summers. While I see the logic, Tempe is a beautiful city and the heat allows for flip-flops and t-shirts to be worn nearly year–round. With summertime highs hovering around the 110 mark, you don’t want to spend too much time outdoors. The winters are gorgeous with temps rarely, if ever getting below 40 degrees.  – 11 out of 15 possible points.

Academics

Although acceptance to any of the public universities is ensured to residents in the Top 25 percent of their class; Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University is highly selective and is ranked first in the nation among peer institutions and 5th in Overall Excellence among all universities. The Honor College enrolls over 3,500 students including 613 National Merit Scholars. The Schools of Journalism, Business and Nursing are also ranked in the top in the country – 7 out of 10 possible points.

FINAL GRADE 84%

 

The University of California, Los Angeles or more commonly known, UCLA is located in Westwood neighborhood west of Los Angeles. The area is bordered by the extremely affluent towns of Brentwood, Bel-Air, Holmby Hills and Beverly Hills.

The sprawling campus covers 419 acres and is home to nearly 40,000 students. It was originally called the University of California Southern Branch before he name University of California at Los Angeles became the official name in 1927. Finally, they removed the “at” in 1958 for its current name.

The campus is absolutely gorgeous and is a short six-mile trip to Santa Monica and the iconic pier and beach park. It is no wonder that UCLA is the most applied-to university as well as being the most selective public university in the nation. Over 72,000 freshman applications were received for the fall of 2012 with only 17.8% were accepted. Time to revisit the rankings:

 

Athletics Teams

  • john-woodenFootball – Bowl Record of 15-16-1 with a Rose Bowl record of 5-7, one National Championship (shared) and 17 Conference Championships.
  • Men’s Basketball – 44 tournament appearances, 18 Final Fours with 13 National Title Game appearances and 11 National Championships including a streak of seven straight. They also have 40 regular season Championships and three Tournament Championships.
  • Baseball – 18 Tournament appearances and four College World Series appearances.  They have won eight regular season Conference Championships including the past two.
  • Softball – 11 National Championships and seven time runners-up.
  • 108 Total National Championships
  • Other men’s teams National Championships (60) – Volleyball (19), Tennis (16), Track & Field (8) Water Polo (8), Soccer (4), Gymnastics (2), Golf (2), Swimming & Diving (1).
  • Other women’s teams National Championships (26) – Water Polo (7), Gymnastics (6), Track & Field (5), Volleyball (4), Golf (3), Tennis (1).

The University of California, Los Angeles has a tradition of winning. The basketball streak of seven straight National Championships is a record that will never be broken, not to mention the litany of other records including an 88-game regular season winning streak, a 38 game NCAA Tournament winning streak and four perfect, undefeated seasons. Add to that their football team notched eight consecutive Bowl game victories; including three Rose Bowls and the sheer dominance of their Men’s Volleyball and Softball teams, I award UCLA 28 out of a possible 30 points.

Women

UCLABustyCheerleaderWith such close proximity to the beach, Hollywood and Rodeo Drive, it’s no surprise that the women at UCLA are hot. I was thoroughly impressed with the current student body as well as three of my childhood crushes in Winnie Cooper, Jessie Spano, Princess Vespa from Spaceballs and Blossom, well, maybe not Blosssom. I spend most every day with a UCLA alum – the Food Network’s Giada de Laurentiis. Another notable UCLA hottie is Bridget Marquardt from the Girls Next Door and you know what they say “If she’s good enough for Hef, that’s good enough for me.”   – 22 out of 25 possible points.

Local Bars & Pubs

It seems like there is always a party going on with all levels of beautiful people and celebrities galore within a couple miles of campus. So, if you are looking to see and be seen, LA-LA Land is right up there with the best scenes in the country. However, if you are looking for your neighborhood sports bar or college bar head to nearby Barney’s Beanery or O’Hara’s (the old Maloney’s), you will not be disappointed – 17 out of 20 possible points.

Weather      

Beautiful beach weather with a wide range of temperature changes are the norm in the city of Westwood and nearby Los Angeles.  Sunny and warm weather keep the co-eds in shorts and sundresses for most of the year and the beach at night is a crisp and cool alternative –13 out of 15 possible points.

 Academics

UCLA-CheerleadersAs previously stated, UCLA is the most selective of all public universities in the nation and for good reason. Ranked as the #25 University in the country by U.S. News & World Report, #9 on the list of top research universities and #14 by the London Times for International Universities, UCLA is definitely a top tier school. Their roll call of alumni, students & faculty includes 12 Nobel Laureates, 12 Rhodes Scholars, 12 MacArthur Fellows and 3 Pulitzer Prize Winners – 8 out of 10 possible points.

FINAL GRADE 88%

UCLA has it all, a beautiful campus with legendary bars, close proximity to the beach and all that Hollywood has to offer. The women are beautiful and the academic standards are a lot higher than many private schools throughout the country. The history of great athletic teams and the most National Championships by any school make UCLA the victor. I am by no means saying that Arizona State is not a great place to go to school, it was good enough for yours truly and enjoyed it thoroughly, if only it had been on the beach.

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