Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Current WAC Commissioner's Cup Projections

I will always try to provide the most complete and up-to-date analysis of the WAC Commissioner's Cup race.  I know people from all over are interested and follow it so these projections can help you gauge how the race is shaping up.  The race has tightened up considerably since my last update.  The reason is that Boise State has fallen towards the bottom in two sports, women's track and men's golf, and the men's tennis team is down to 4th while the men's track team is projected to finish third.  Whereas Boise State had the Cup to themselves in a breeze, now it's up in the air.

The Commissioner's Cup is given annually to the WAC school that has the best overall sports department for that school year.  The standings are determined by a point system that gives inverted points to the schools based on their performance in 20 sports that the conference sponsors and how many WAC schools participate in each sport.  For example, there are nine teams in football, thus the champion gets nine points, the runner-up eight points, the third-place team gets seven points, etc.  If there is a tie, the two tied teams split the points for two positions, i.e. a tie for first would split the points awarded for #1 and #2 (9 + 8 = 17 divided by 2 = 8.5 each).  

 Men's Tennis:

1.  Fresno State 3.5
2.  Idaho 2.75
2.  New Mexico State 2.75
4.  Boise State 2
5.  Utah State 1.25
5.  Hawai'i 1.25
7.  Nevada 1 (awarded the full points for last place since they aren't in tournament)

Women's Tennis:
1.  Fresno State 4.5
2.  Boise State 3.75
2.  Nevada 3.75
4.  Idaho 3
5.  New Mexico State 2.5
6.  Hawai'i 2
7.  San Jose State 1.5
8.  Louisiana Tech 1
9.  Utah State .5

Currently, Boise State has built a good lead (74.25 to 61.75) over Utah State.  Fresno State (54.00),  has moved into third.  New Mexico State is fourth with 53.50, followed by Idaho (49.25), Nevada (46.50), Hawai'i (41.00), San Jose State (38.00) and Louisiana Tech (34.00).  As pointed out however, after tennis, the only substantial points that Boise State will get will be in softball. 

The championships in men's and women's tennis that will be April 27-May 1 in Boise are next in line.
In coming up with the projections, I use the best available data in each sport.  For softball and baseball, the league standings are used.  For golf, I use Golfweek's weekly ratings and for tennis I use College Tennis Online's weekly rankings.  As the teams play more, the standings and weekly rankings will be more reliable.  For track, I will initially use the WAC Indoor Track Championship data but will switch to projected point totals for the Outdoor Championship based on top times once there is enough data available.  

Here are the projections for each sport:

Men's Tennis:  (April 27-May 1)
1.  Fresno State (7)
2.  New Mexico State (6)
3.  Idaho (5)
4.  Boise State (4)
5.  Hawai'i (3)
6.  Utah State (2)
7.  Nevada (1)

Women's Tennis:  (April 27-May 1)
1.  Boise State (9 points)
2.  Fresno State (8)
3.  Nevada (7)
4.  Hawai'i (6)
5.  Idaho (5)
6.  New Mexico State (4)
7.  Utah State (3)
8.  Louisiana Tech (2)
9.  San Jose State (1)

Men's Golf:  (May 2-4)
1.  New Mexico State (9 points)
2.  Idaho (8)
3.  Fresno State (7)
4.  San Jose State (6)
5.  Nevada (5)
6.  Louisiana Tech (4)
7.  Hawai'i (3)
8.  Boise State (2)

9.  Utah State (1)

Softball:  (May 11-14)
1.  Fresno State (8 points)
2.  New Mexico State (7)
3.  Boise State (6)
4.  Hawai'i (5)
5.  Louisiana Tech (4)
6.  San Jose State (3)
7.  Nevada (2)
8.  Utah State (1)

Men's Track (May 10-13)
1.  Utah State (5 points)
2.  Fresno State (4)
3.  Boise State (3)
4.  Louisiana Tech (2)
5.  Idaho (1)

Women's Track (May 10-13)
1.  Louisiana Tech (8 points)
2.  Nevada (7)
3.  Utah State (6)
4.  New Mexico State (5)
5.  Fresno State (4)
6.  Idaho (3)
7.  Hawai'i (2)
8.  Boise State (1)

Baseball:  (May 25-29)
1.  Fresno State (7 points)
2.  New Mexico State (6 points)
3.  San Jose State (5)
4.  Louisiana Tech (4)
5.  Hawai'i (3)
6.  San Jose State (2)
7.  Nevada (1)

I will continue to do these projections on a semi-weekly basis.  As the teams get close to the championships in their respective sports, the data will get more accurate as being able to project the championship results.  As of right now, here are the projections for the final Commissioner's Cup point totals:

1.  Boise State 93.50  
     Boise State is expected to pick up most of its points in men's and women's tennis and in softball.  The Broncos are projected to score 25 points this spring--they will need to do well to hold off Fresno State.  If those teams do not come through, Boise State will likely lose the Cup.  On the other hand, since the women's golf team did better than expected, if the men's golf team can finish better than expected, Boise State's chances are dramatically improved.

2.  Fresno State 91.00
     The Bulldogs traditionally are the strongest team in the spring sports and this year should be no exception. Fresno State is expected to score 45 points in the spring alone.  Fresno is projected to win men's tennis, softball and baseball and are a strong contender for women's tennis and they are also expected to do extremely well in men's track and men's golf.  If one or more of those teams do not come through, Fresno could relinquish the challenger's role to New Mexico State.  All those teams have to do well and Fresno State has to hope that the key Boise State sports falter for the Bulldogs to take the Cup.  So far, that has happened.

Fresno State will once again provide the closest challenge to Boise State 

3.  New Mexico State 85.25
     The Aggies outdual Boise State for having the second best spring sports program to Fresno State, scoring 37 points.  The Aggies' best hope is to finish strong in their strengths and hope that their men's and women's tennis teams and women's track team can finish high while Boise State slips up somewhere.  Since they already have, NM State now has a chance.

4.  Utah State 77.75
     USU does fairly well in the spring but they aren't able to field a team in baseball, men's golf or women's golf.  Until they are able to fund those programs, Utah State will never have a serious chance of winning an overall competition.  Utah State is projected to score just 18 points this spring.  They could possibly finish third if everything goes right.

5.  Nevada 64.75
     Nevada has been a challenger nearly every year in the Commissioner's Cup.  However, poor fall programs hurt their chances severely.  They finished near the bottom in women's cross country, soccer and volleyball.  The only reason they are this high is because of their football, basketball and swimming programs.  Nevada is projected to score 23 more points in the spring.

6.  Idaho 64.50
     The Vandals have been in the middle of the pack for the last several years.  Idaho will get most of their points in men's and women's golf and men's tennis.  Idaho should get about 22 more points this spring.  They will fight for positions 5-8.

8. Hawai'i 59.75
    Hawai'i is expected to do the best in men's and women's tennis and softball.  UH should score in the neighborhood of 22 more points this spring.  That's a good total, but they are too far down to climb all the way to the top.

7.  Louisiana Tech 57.00
     Louisiana Tech has climbed out of the cellar in the Cup race and will score around 24 points this spring.  They probably won't get higher than #7, but they have a shot at that.

9.  San Jose State 51.50
     The Spartans are the favorite in women's golf and they should also do well in baseball.  San Jose State is projected to score 15 more points this spring.
There are four WAC schools that are able to field men's indoor track, so the winner gets four points, #2 gets 3 points and so on.  Some sports, such as gymnastics, have auxiliary members (schools that are not officially in the WAC but participate in the conference in that sport).  In those cases, the auxiliary teams do not get points for the Commissioner's Cup but their places count in the point configuration.  If there are five schools that compete in a sport and Sacramento State, for example, is third, the league champion still gets five points, second gets four points, and the next WAC school, the fourth-place team, gets two points.  Men's and women's tennis, baseball and softball all split awarded points with half going to the regular season and half to the postseason championships.

Projected Points for WAC Women's Track

Here are the current projections for points at the upcoming WAC women's track championships.  They are based on the performances thus far in the WAC.

1.  Louisiana Tech 150
2.  Nevada 140
3.  Utah State 116
4.  New Mexico State 100
5.  Fresno State 99
6.  Idaho 96
7.  Hawai'i 67
8.  Boise State 53

Projected Points for WAC Men's Track

I usually don't like doing these early because of early-season injuries, etc.  so with just a few weeks left before the WAC Championships, here are the projected points for each team.  I should mention that Boise State's do-everything man, senior Kurt Felix, has not competed thus far in any of Boise State's meets.

1.  Utah State 189
2.  Boise State 143
2.  Fresno State 143
4.  Louisiana Tech 95
5.  Idaho 78

Make Plans to See #24 Fresno State and Boise State

Boise State's softball team accomplished a great feat over the weekend in sweeping Hawai'i.  From the frying pan into the fire.

The task gets much tougher this weekend as the Broncos have to face #24 Fresno State for three games.  Boise State is trying to secure one of the top three spots in the upcoming WAC Tournament.  The first game is scheduled for Friday at 3 with a doubleheader Saturday (games at 1 and 3).  And the weather really needs to cooperate because Boise State needs to get these games in to have a shot at the WAC title!

Boise State Softball Receives First Votes in Program History

It hasn't taken Boise State softball coach Erin Thorpe long to build a program.  In its third year, Boise State has received national votes for the Top 25.

The Broncos (29-15) have three votes in this week's poll to tie for 31st.  Boise State hosts #24 Fresno State this weekend at Mountain Cove Field for three games that will go a long way in deciding the regular season champion in the WAC.