Our Endeavor—to compile a list of jock-school superlatives—has taken us from the bowels of Texas A&M's Kyle Field to the rim of California's Memorial Stadium. From a ski trail in Middlebury, Vt., to a wood-chip path in Eugene, Ore. We have employed the scientific method (hypothesize, test, observe, fudge data) in an attempt to answer questions that scholars have debated for generations. Questions such as, What's the best surfing school? Research was both exhaustive and exhausting. In short, we never worked this hard in college.
BEST SCHOOL FOR BOWLING
The Shockers have the nation's only full-time paid bowling coach, Gordon Vadakin, whose men's and women's teams have won a combined 11 national titles since 1975. Vadakin tenders $32,000 in scholarships annually and teaches an 11-session, one-credit bowling class (sample topic: presentation of bowling ball dynamics). Go ahead, tap a kegler.
THE BEST GOLF COURSES
Air Force, Arizona State, Duke, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Stanford, Wisconsin, Yale.
A collegian with a golf itch and a car might be happiest, however, attending Coastal Carolina, which has no course on its Conway, S.C., campus but is located less than an hour's drive from more than 100 open-to-the-public layouts.
MOST EXCLUSIVE GOLF COURSE
The school doesn't own Shadow Creek, but unless the man who does, Steve Wynn, invites you to play the course, as he has Michael Jordan and George Bush, your only chance to set foot on it is as a member of the Rebels men's team, which practices there.
BEST SCHOOL FOR INTENSE JOCKS
Cadets must participate in a team athletic activity. (Choices include parachuting.) The sports facilities are first-class—better than those at the other service academies—and the cafeteria, where cadets go to refuel, is one of the world's largest. If you love sports, detest the hassle of picking out a wardrobe and have no plans for your first seven years after college, aim high. Now drop and gimme 20!
BEST RECREATION CENTER
Opened in 1995, the school's $40 million Ramsey Student Activities Center boasts, among other things, three pools, five gyms (one of which holds four full basketball courts), 10 racquetball and two squash courts, and—for when final exams have you scaling the walls—a 44-foot vertical climbing surface.
BEST SCHOOL FOR MOUNTAIN BIKING
This NCAA Division II institution is located in Durango, Colo., the Shangri-la of off-road cycling, as evidenced by the five bike shops in the picturesque town of 14,700. "Within five miles of campus there are more than 20 very good bike trails," says Keith Darner, who has coached the Sky-hawks to three national titles in the three years that a championship has been staged. Three of the sport's stars—Ned Overend, Juli Furtado and Missy Giove—live in Durango and are amiable enough if you can catch up to them. No need to worry where to store your bike: Dorm rooms come equipped with bike hangers.
BEST SCHOOL FOR ROCK CLIMBING
A town named Boulder should be home to the premier school for rock-climbing enthusiasts. The student rec center offers classes in rock and ice climbing, and the Flatirons and Boulder Canyon are minutes away by car or bike. The roof of Colorado's engineering building, another favorite summit, is even closer.
BEST SCHOOL FOR RUNNING
Pre's Trail, dedicated to Ducks distance star Steve Prefontaine, who was killed in a car crash in 1975, offers five miles of running along the scenic Willamette River. The course is lit overhead and layered with wood chips underfoot. Or you can do an interval workout at Hayward Field, the cathedral of collegiate tracks. Keep an eye out for more accomplished joggers such as Olympians Vicki Huber, Maria Mutola and Mary Slaney.
BEST SCHOOL FOR SKIING
Eight-session courses at Alta or Wolf Mountain are a bargain at $140, including lift ticket. Expert-level resorts such as Brighton and Ogden Valley—the latter a venue for the 2002 Olympics—are within an hour's drive of the Salt Lake City campus.