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PROVO — Raise a glass, everybody, and toast the students at Brigham Young University.

BYU, this milk's for you.

For a record ninth year in a row, BYU is ranked No. 1 on the Princeton Review's "Stone Cold Sober" list.

The university is also No. 1 on the publication's "Got Milk?" list for low rates of beer drinking. That, it turns out, is doubly appropriate. The favorite drink on campus, by far, is white milk — the campus community consumed 338,000 gallons of the substance on campus in 2005.

The second most popular drink at BYU?

Milk.

Folks chugged 75,000 gallons of chocolate milk at BYU last year.

Beer, obviously, isn't available. It's banned by the Honor Code of the university owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But root beer came in fifth, behind Dasani-brand water and Powerade.

BYU students also are considered the nation's most religious and are on top of the "Don't Inhale" list for low marijuana use. In fact, BYU is ranked first more times — five — and appears on more lists — 14 — than any other school in the latest edition of the Princeton Review's "Best 361 Colleges" book.

But the "Stone Cold Sober" list is easily BYU's favorite. Proof of that came in 2003, when LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley referred gratefully to the university's top ranking during the inauguration of BYU President Cecil Samuelson.

The Princeton Review is often criticized for its list of the top party schools — this year the University of Texas at Austin is No. 1 — because of the company's methodology. The chancellor of last year's top party school, the University of Wisconsin, called it "junk science."

Editorial director Rob Franek believes the Princeton Review's methods are unique and powerful. The lists are generated by a nonscientific but massive sampling of American college students.

"We received back a little over 115,000 surveys this year from students at those 361 schools," Franek said. "The purpose of all of our ranking lists and the narratives in the book is to make college-bound students and their parents savvy and well-prepared to select a college that's the right fit."

The top party school changes every year, often as the school cracks down on binge drinking and parties because of negative publicity tied to the Princeton Review ranking.

Meanwhile, BYU maintains a proud death-grip on the No. 1 spot for sobriety.

"Nobody else has been ranked No. 1 on one list nine years in a row," Franek said.

Franek said the Princeton Review won't retire the category the way sports teams retire the jerseys of their greatest players. So, how about a Hall of Fame?

"A Princeton Review Hall of Fame?" he said, laughing. "A 10th year at No. 1 for BYU would be a great reason to start one."

The only mystery left now is why BYU's dominance, now longer than the dynastic run of the Boston Celtics — eight straight NBA championships — didn't start earlier.

In 1997, BYU, which had been second on the "Stone Cold Sober" list the year before, was left out of the top 10. The headline in the Deseret Morning News the next day announced the shocking news: "What an affront!"

The winner that year was the California Institute of Technology. Caltech has been among runners-up to BYU ever since.

Franek didn't join the Princeton Review until the following year and doesn't have an answer for the 1997 omission. The best speculation is there was a disconnect in the paper surveys done at the time. Now, 93 percent of the surveys are completed online.

"The Best 361 Colleges" goes on sale today. It includes a two-page profile on each school. The list will be available to the public Tuesday at www.PrincetonReview.com.

BYU students also ranked No. 1 for "Future Rotarians and Daughters of the American Revolution," No. 2 for "Scotch and Soda, Hold the Scotch" (low use of hard liquor), No. 3 for low acceptance of the gay community and for right-leaning politics and No. 4 for best college library.

It also was mentioned for best quality of life, good relations with its host city, participation in intramural sports, happiest students and good administration.

University of Utah students complained about their lack of access to professors (eighth-worst in the country) and ranked No. 9 for most religious. U. students also were 18th for low acceptance of the gay community.

Westminster College is profiled in the book but didn't make any lists. Utah State University and Southern Utah University were not profiled.



E-mail: twalch@desnews.com