Athletes/fans of every decent size D1 school think this. There are a million excuses for why “we’re still building up now, but in a few years we’ll be at the top of the conference and make nationals every year”. Well, no you won’t. It’s just a fact that some schools have to be mid-pack. Some have to be at the bottom. It’s really hard to move from one category to another. Look at a power 5 conference like the Big Ten. On the men’s side, a bunch of teams shuffle around from 4-8th place at the conference meet, year after year. All of these teams think they can become consistent top teams, but they can’t and won’t. Math doesn’t allow it.
You're not wrong but that's not exactly what I'm asking. What programs have the potential to be great based on the school's ability to attract and develop talent? Not every power 5 team is an academic or running destination.
Duke is a good one. Only argument against it would be Durham and cost. UNC should be a top 10 program. National brand, great high school running scene to recruit from + in-state tuition, good academics, well-funded.