Saturday, May 7, 2011

Up-To-the-Minute WAC Commissioner's Cup Standings (May 7)

New Mexico State has won the regular season in WAC softball.  Congrats to the Aggies on an incredible season!  Thus, we can now update our WAC Commissioner's Cup Standings.  Next week, the softball and men's and women's track championships will decide the post-season champions in those three sports and all that will remain after that is baseball.  In other words, we will know by at least next Sunday if Boise State has clinched the Cup or if Fresno State still has a chance.  Because Boise State was not able to win a game in Las Cruces, New Mexico State's and Fresno State's projected points are adjusted upward.  It does not affect Boise State's projected points--they are still projected to finish third.

The maximum points that Fresno State can score is 95.75.  That is right now the number that will clinch the Cup.)  The maximum that New Mexico State can score is 90.50.  If New Mexico State beats Fresno in either softball or baseball, it will drive down Fresno's maximum.  Thus, Boise State's magic number is now down to 9.25 points.

Here are the current standings following the conclusion of the regular season in softball:

1.  Boise State 86.50
2.  New Mexico State 73.50 
3.  Fresno State 72.25
4.  Utah State 66.25
5.  Idaho 56.50
6.  Nevada 54.25
7.  San Jose State 50.00
8.  Hawai'i 48.75
9.  Louisiana Tech  43.50 

Note:  Since San Jose State and Nevada finished 7th and 8th in softball, respectively, and will not play in the tournament, they are awarded the full points for their positions, 2 and 1 respectively.

Here are the Projections for the remaining sports:

Softball:  (May 11-14)
1.  Fresno State (7.25 points)--Fresno State has already been awarded 3.25 points in the regular season.
1.  Boise State (6.25 points)--Boise State was awarded 3.25 points in the regular season.
1.  New Mexico State (7.00)--New Mexico State was awarded 4 points in the regular season.
4.  Hawai'i (5)--Hawai'i was awarded 2.5 points in the regular season.
5.  Utah State (4)--Utah State was awarded 2 points in the regular season.
6.  San Jose State (2)--San Jose State has been awarded the full 2 points.
7.  Louisiana Tech (3)--Tech has been awarded 1.5 points in the regular season.
8.  Nevada (1)--Nevada has been awarded the full point.

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.  Nevada (8)

2.  Louisiana Tech (7 points)
3.  Utah State (6)

4.  Fresno State (5)
5.  New Mexico State (4)
6.  Idaho (3)
7.  Hawai'i (2)
8.  Boise State (1)

Baseball:  (May 25-29)
1.  Fresno State (6.5 points)
2.  Hawai'i (6.5 points)
3.  San Jose State (5)

4.  New Mexico State (4.0)
5.  Nevada (3)
6.  Louisiana Tech (2.5)

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  
     With tennis expected to provide the majority of the spring points for Boise State, the Broncos are nearing the finish line but about out of gas.  Softball is the only sport that will provide significant points.  Boise State is expected to pick up 7 more points the rest of the spring but they have some upside built in.  

2.  Fresno State 91.75
     The Bulldogs traditionally are the strongest team in the spring sports and this year should be no exception. Fresno State was forecast to score 45 points this spring and they are right on target.  Even after golf, there is another 19.5 points in reserve.  They are still projected to win the baseball and softball tournaments.  If they do well in women's track, the Cup is too close to call.  

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

3.  New Mexico State 84.50
     The Aggies out dual Boise State for having the second best spring sports program to Fresno State, scoring 11 more points in the four remaining sports.  The Aggies' best hope is to finish strong in their strengths and hope that their women's track team can finish high.  Still, the odds of NM State winning are not good.   

4.  Utah State 79.25
     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 13 more points this spring.  They could possibly finish third if everything goes right.  Meanwhile, they are 3.25 points away from clinching at least fourth.

5.  Nevada 65.25
     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.  They have passed Idaho, but that could be as high as they get this year.  Nevada is projected to score 11 more points in the spring.

6.  Idaho 60.50
     The Vandals have been in the middle of the pack for the last several years.  Idaho should get about 4 more points this spring.  They will fight for positions 6-8.

7. Hawai'i 59.75
    Hawai'i has solid teams in both softball and baseball.  UH should score in the neighborhood of 11 more points this spring.  That's a good total, but they are too far down to climb all the way to the top.

8.  Louisiana Tech 56.50
     Louisiana Tech has climbed out of the cellar in the Cup race and will score around 13 more points this spring.  They probably won't get higher than #7, but they have a shot at that.

9.  San Jose State 55.00
     The Spartans should also do well in baseball.  San Jose State is projected to score 5 more points this spring.

Lady Broncos Earn Bye in WAC Softball Tournament

Boise State will have a first-round bye and will take on the winner of the Fresno State-Louisiana Tech game in the WAC Softball Tournament in Fresno, California.  The Broncos will play that game Thursday--time to be announced.

Here is the schedule of games that we know so far (times to be announced):

Game One:  #4 Hawai'i plays #5 Utah State
Game Two:  #3 Fresno State plays #6 Louisiana Tech 

Game Three:  #1 New Mexico State vs. winner of Game One
Game Four:  #2 Boise State vs. winner of Game Two
Game Five:  loser of Game Two vs. Loser of Game Three (loser eliminated)
Game Six:  Loser of Game Four vs. Loser of Game One (loser eliminated)

Game Seven:  Winner of Game Three vs. Winner of Game Four
Game Eight:  Winner of Game Five vs. Winner of Game Six (loser eliminated)
Game Nine:  Loser of Game Seven vs. Winner of Game Eight (loser eliminated)

Game 10:  Winner of Game Seven vs. Winner of Game Nine
Game 11: (if necessary)--If Loser of Game 10 is first loss of tournament, the two teams play again for the championship

Final WAC Softball Standings

With Boise State going down in three straight, here are the final Standings for WAC Softball:

1.  New Mexico State 17-4
2.  Boise State 15-6 (The teams will split points for Commissioner's Cup; Boise State will be seeded second in the upcoming tournament because they defeated Fresno State 3 games to none.)
2.  Fresno State 15-6
4.  Hawai'i 14-7
5.  Utah State 8-13
6.  Louisiana Tech 6-15
7.  San Jose State 5-16
8.  Nevada 4-17

Fresno State Loses to Nevada 8-4, Wins Second Game 5-0

Fresno State is playing for second right now.  If Boise State loses, those two teams will tie for second place and New Mexico State will win the regular season.  If Boise State wins, the Broncos and Aggies will tie for the regular season title and Fresno will finish third. 

New Mexico State Completes 3-Game Sweep of Broncos

Not enough bats this weekend.  It is apparent that the Aggies are going to score a lot of runs against Boise State.  The Broncos hit well, but not enough; they were simply overmatched by the aggressive play of the Aggies.  New Mexico State won the nightcap 7-6.  Boise State will finish in a tie with Fresno State for second place.

Here is how it unfolded:

Boise State leads 4-3, but since they haven't scored five runs in each inning, their prospects look bleak.  I'm kidding (I think.).

After getting embarrassed 16-3, Boise State is trying to get one game out of the three-game series.  They went into New Mexico leading the WAC, but the Broncos need to win to leave Las Cruces tied for the conference lead.  Meanwhile, Fresno State has lost to Nevada 8-4 in the opener of a doubleheader.  The best the Dawg women can finish is second.  If Boise State can win, Fresno State will finish third.

Devon Bridges went deep for a two-run blast and Christina Capobianco followed with a solo homer in a four-run Bronco third.  Boise State leads 4-3 after three innings.  (But they'd better come out with bats a-blazing in the fourth or they will soon trail by 6.)

Update:  They didn't, Allie Crump's sacrifice fly was the only RBI of the inning.  It's only 5-3 with the run-scoring machine of the New Mexico State Aggies coming to the plate in the fourth.

New Mexico State only got one, so Boise State should consider themselves lucky.  They're playing with fire though by not scoring.  It's 5-4 in the bottom of the fifth.

And, I was right.  Here we go again--two runs for the Aggies with only one out and runners on first and third.  They already have the lead 6-5.  Add in a wild pitch and it's 7-5 with two runners in scoring position.  Lots of those this series, which tells me that the Aggie crowd is getting to the Bronco hurlers.

Boise State got one run back, but that was all. 

Boise State Throws in the Towel Against New Mexico State

Boise State has essentially given up in game two against New Mexico State.  After tying the game at 3, New Mexico State exploded for 7 runs in the third, leading to the departure of starter Allie Crump.  Reliever Lela Work too has been bounced from the game and the rout is on.  Boise State has lost 16-3.

Boise State struck first to grab its first lead of the series against New Mexico State in Las Cruces.

Christina Capobianco ignited the rally with a single.  Vanessa Alvarez walked, Kelly Sweeney reached on an error by the Aggie shortstop and Tazz Weatherly was hit by a pitch to force in Capobianco.  Another error allowed Alvarez to score and that is where we stand--Boise State 2, New Mexico State coming to bat in the second.

The Aggies continue to be aggressive, getting runners at second and third with No-body out.  New Mexico State went on to score three in the inning.  Boise State tied it up again 3-3 only to see the home team score seven runs in the bottom of the third.  A three-run homer has made it 10-3.

New Mexico State is definitely for real.  They can't field worth a darn (8 errors in less than two games) but they sure can hit.  Since the Bronco pitchers cannot hold them, it's incumbent upon the Boise State hitters to get double-digit runs in every game against them.

Current Projections For WAC Women's Track Championships

There are some slight changes here; I'll do one more after Utah State's meet this week.  I will also build these into the current WAC Commissioner's Cup Projections.

1.  Nevada 138
2.  Louisiana Tech 131
3.  Utah State 122
4.  Fresno State 105
5.  New Mexico State 103
6.  Idaho 92
7.  Hawai'i 68
8.  Boise State 64 

Who Wants To Be the Next Star Tackle at Boise State?

With the great tradition established by tackles Daryn Colledge, Ryan Clady and now Nate Potter, it is obvious that a starting tackle for Boise State is going to get noticed by the pros.

Colledge set a record for consecutive starts at Boise State, was drafted in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers, and now has a consecutive games streak there as well.  Colledge won the 2007 Special Achievement Award at the Lee Remmel Awards in Wisconsin and his blocking of Pittsburgh's Troy Polamalu was a major reason that the Packers were able to come away with the trophy in the most recent Super Bowl.  

Clady was placed on several All-America lists at Boise State, was a first-round choice by the Denver Broncos in the 2008 NFL Draft and became an All-Pro in only his second season. 

Potter is now following in the footsteps of those two great offensive linemen by being named to the preseason All-America team.

So it should come as no surprise that given that track record, the nation's top tackles are vying for a place in the 2012 Boise State recruiting Class.  Zach Banner, Max Tuerk, Travis Averill, Gavin Andrews and Arthur Flores have all attracted the attention of Bronco head man Chris Peterson and his staff. 

It will be interesting to see which of the above will earn the right to get a ticket to the NFL.