Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia
We will take a look at the teams ranked 1st-5th in college fishing’s only all-encompassing National Rankings system.
1) University of Montevallo
The University of Montevallo is currently ranked number one in the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia. Montevallo achieved collegiate bass fishing history in 2023 by becoming the first team ever to win the title three times (2021, 2022, 2023).
Through the mid-way point in the 2023-24 season, Montevallo has earned a season total of 13,560 points. That points total has them just over 500 points ahead of second-ranked Carson-Newman University.
Montevallo has earned points at a total of eight events to count towards the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia. The worst points-qualifying finish they had across those eight events was 25th. In total, they’ve won four tournaments and had at least one team in the Top 5 at three other events.
“Once everyone got into tournament mode…it’s been the typical Montevallo way, guys catching them in every tournament…day in and day out,” said Tyler Cory, Montevallo angler. “Everyone is really fired up to be back on top, and we just hope that we can ride this wave all the way through.”
2) Carson-Newman University
The second-ranked team in the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia is Carson-Newman University. With a season total of 12,980 points, Carson-Newman trails Montevallo by just over 500 points, and is clear of third-ranked University of North Alabama by just over 700 points.
In 2023, Carson-Newman achieved its highest-ever end-of-season ranking for the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia. The team from Tennessee finished the 2022-23 campaign ranked third. Entering this year, they were selected as the fourth-ranked team in the ACA Pre-Season Poll.
Carson-Newman started off the fall swing on the Bass Pro Shops Collegiate Bass Fishing Series with a strong showing. The team’s two biggest fish at the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Bash presented by Berkley finished in fourth and a tie for sixth. Those two Top 10 big bass earned Carson-Newman a total of 3,420 points. That is the highest points total earned by any one school at the first ACA event of the season.
At the AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open on Lake Dardanelle, Carson-Newman earned a total of 3,390 points. Hayden Gaddis & Ben Cully finished in sixth, and Storm Cline & Gavin Clevenger took seventh.
3) University of North Alabama
The University of North Alabama is a two-time winner of the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia (2014, 2015). After a few down years in recent history, per their program’s standards, UNA is experiencing a strong resurgence this season. The team from Florence, AL is currently ranked third with 12,285 points.
“We’re all pretty jacked up about it, but we’ve got a lot of work to do,” said Carter Nutt, UNA angler. “That’s really our goal for the rest of the season, to have two in the Top 10 at every event.”
While they didn’t place two teams in the Top 10 at every major event throughout the fall in 2023, UNA had very strong showings. Here is a look at UNA’s top two finishing teams at each major, double points event through the first half of the season:
Bassmaster College Series National Championship: 12th, 26th
Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Bash presented by Berkley: 5th, 12th
AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open: 21st, 22nd
MLF College Series at Lake Hartwell: 7th, 42nd
UNA anglers earned over 3,000 points at each of the two ACA major double points events this past fall.
4) Auburn University
Auburn University entered the 2023-24 season ranked number one in the ACA Pre-Season Poll for the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia. Six months into the current season, the team from Auburn, AL finds itself in fourth place with 11,725 points. Just over 1,800 points behind top-ranked Montevallo, Auburn is within striking distance of finishing the year ranked number one for the first time in school history.
Auburn came into the 2023-24 campaign following back-to-back second-place finishes (2022, 2023). Auburn anglers have earned points at a total of eight events this season.
Hayden Marbut and Tucker Smith propelled Auburn to an early hot start by winning the Bassmaster College Series National Championship back in August. Auburn’s next highest-finishing team at that event placed 51st. Those two top finishes earned the team a total of 3,285 points.
Auburn anglers earned 3,030 points at the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Bash presented by Berkley, and 2,750 points at the AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open. These marks are both just a hair behind those from each of the three teams ranked ahead of them to this point.
Auburn is one of three teams ranked in the Top 5 looking to claim its first-ever title for the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia.
5) McKendree University
Rounding out the Top 5 in this rankings reveal is McKendree University. The two-time title winner (2020, 2021) has earned a season total of 11,470 points and is ranked fifth in the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia.
Through the years, McKendree University has established itself as one of the powerhouse teams in collegiate bass fishing. The team from Illinois was selected fifth in the ACA Pre-Season Poll before the start of the 2023-24 season.
Since 2018, McKendree University has not finished a season ranked outside of the Top 5 in the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia.
McKendree is currently joined by UNA and Montevallo as one of three teams to ever finish the season ranked number one on multiple occasions. This season, McKendree could join Montevallo in the record books as the only team to ever win the Bass Pro Shops School of the Year presented by Abu Garcia three times.
Through the first half of the 2023-24 season, McKendree University has earned over 2,000 points at every major, double points event. They currently sit just over 2,000 points behind top-ranked Montevallo and a little more than 150 points ahead of sixth-ranked Murray State University. McKendree University will need to get off to a strong start to the spring season to continue to have a shot at achieving collegiate bass fishing history this year.
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