They are not ordained...but they typically have a few things in common, like in business.
EARLY ADOPTERS: In the sports sense, they were very successful early and often...those traditions attracted others..and have made those places as destinations....continued success at the highest level over decades. I would put UCLA, Indiana, UNC, Duke, MSU, Kansas in this level..probably forgetting a few more.
CHALLENGERS: I's rare when someone can come in and compete at the highest of high levels from outside the early adopter class...sorry, come in and compete and STAY THERE
Here are some examples..some came in and went toe to toe for a long while, and faded..some have not faded...
UConn, Georgetown, Wisconsin, Cincy, Purdue, Louisville, Seton Hall, Arizona, Memphis, St Johns, Syracuse....
For a decade, 1979-1988, Iowa had an average B1G finish of 3.5....in a 10 team league...one of the best 10 year stretches in school history....they also had a good but shorter runs in the 50's, and shorter still in the Late 60's...there are several more programs like this...but they cannot sustain it...the hope is to move from this last group into the challenger group....which is not easy at all...but to go from this group to be on part year in year out with the elite of the elite, who are also not immune to blips, is nigh on impossible.
So I choose not to toss pennies into the wishing well and waste time, and spend time thinking about what can be done to go from the here and gone, to more consistently here, and cross fingers to get into the challengers...but I am not betting on it.
I will reply this way.
It would be foolish to say it is easy to be Duke or Alabama. Success isn't easy, even for the bluebloods.
But I look at Wisky in both sports. In the last 25 years they have built something.
How? Where's the history?
I say they did it on the sheer determination of guys like Barry Alvarez.
Literally one man's will over-coming the odds.
Maybe you're right and Iowa will always be lil ole iowa. But you tell your kids they can grow up to be President some day, even if you think otherwise. I admit, not every parent works that way. Some of them say, "Cletus, you need to shoot for that job at the post office, and if you're ever lucky enough to get it, for goodness sake hold on to it. Cuz that's as high as you're goin son."
I just come from a world where your reach should exceed your grasp, or what's heaven for?