Golf Will Decide WAC Commissioner's Cup

Boise State won its first WAC Commissioner's Cup last year in a tight race with Nevada that wasn't decided until the final weekend of the final sport contested (baseball). How does the race look this year?

Boise State held off Nevada to win its first Western Athletic Conference Commissioner's Cup in a dogfight that was not decided until the final weekend of competition in the spring.  An analysis of this year's Commissioner's Cup using projected point totals shows a tight race once again.  In fact, the sport of golf will determine who wins the Cup this year.

 

By virtue of their strong indoor track showing last weekend, Boise State has moved into the lead in the Commissioner's Cup standings.  The Bronco men won the league title, while the women finished third in competition at Jackson's Track in Nampa.  For the year, Boise State now has 39.25 points to 37.5 for second-place Utah State.  Nevada is right in the thick of the race once again with 36.75 points.  The Wolf Pack is followed in the Cup standings by Idaho (34.75), Hawai'i (33.25), San Jose State (33.00), Fresno State (23.25), New Mexico State (21.00) and Louisiana Tech with 17.50.    

 

The Broncos did not have a particularly strong fall, with the obvious exception of the Fiesta Bowl-winning football team and the men's cross country team that placed second in the WAC Championships.  Boise State finished fifth in women's soccer, sixth in women's cross country and tied for sixth in volleyball.

 

 That put Boise State in fifth place in the Commissioner's Cup standings, ahead of only Hawai'i, New Mexico State, Fresno State and Louisiana Tech.  The Broncos were already 8 ½ points behind Cup leader San Jose State when football was decided and even though Boise State won the WAC title, the Spartans finished in a tie for third.  Therefore, the track and field teams really saved the day for the Broncos' hopes of repeating as Commissioner's Cup Champions.

 

Points are awarded in 19 league sports with points in each sport allocated based on the number of league teams that participate in that sport.  The Boise State men's track and field team, for example, was awarded just five points even though they won the league championship, because there are only five WAC teams that participate (one is affiliate member Cal State-Northridge.) 

 

The 2005-2006 WAC Commissioner's Cup was not decided until the final week of the season, when Boise State held off Nevada to win their first ever Commissioner's Cup.  The Broncos captured four men's conference championships, more than any other school in the nation except for Notre Dame and UCLA, and had a sizeable lead (16.75 points over Nevada) going into baseball and softball.  The agonizing thing for Boise State was that they do not field teams in either sport…yet.  All they could do was wait and see how many points Nevada would accumulate in those two sports.  To make matters worse, Nevada was one of the league favorites in both sports and if they won them both, the Wolf Pack would claim the title by 1.25 points over Boise State.

 

Using current standings, rankings and results, you can see that this year's race will be close with four schools having a chance to win—Boise State, Fresno State, Nevada and Utah State.  Of those, however, only Boise State and Nevada will be left to battle at the top once again, as the data below shows.  This makes individual sport competition between the Broncos and Wolf Pack all the more important. 

 

In basketball, allocated points will be split between the regular season and the conference tournament.  Thus, upsets will play a huge role in the Cup standings.  With one week remaining, the current men's standings show Nevada with a 13-1 league record for nine points.  New Mexico State (10-4) would get eight, followed by Fresno State, Utah State and Boise State (8-6, each getting six points), Louisiana Tech (7-8—four points), Hawai'i (6-8—three points), San Jose State (3-12—two points) and Idaho (1-13—one point).

 

The women's standings and projected points go as follows:

 

Louisiana Tech (11-4—nine points)

Boise State (10-4—eight points)

Fresno State and Nevada (9-5—6.5 points each)

Hawai'i (8-6—five points)

Utah State (7-7—four points)

New Mexico State (5-9—three points)

San Jose State (3-12—two points

Idaho (2-12—one point)

 

Again, the results of the conference tournaments will be averaged with the above results to get the allocated points for both men's and women's basketball.  Using the regular season standings and point allocations above, you get the following projected Cup standings after basketball:

 

  1. Boise State--53.25
  2. Nevada—52.25
  3. Utah State—47.5
  4. Hawai'i—41.25
  5. San Jose State—37.00
  6. Idaho—36.75
  7. Fresno State—35.75
  8. New Mexico State—32.00
  9. Louisiana Tech—30.50

 



Only three official
WAC teams compete in gymnastics:  Utah State, San Jose State and Boise State.  Three affiliate members (Sacramento State, Southern Utah and Cal State-Fullerton) join those three that compete in the league championships for a total of six points.  The top-ranked league team is Utah State, followed by Southern Utah, San Jose, Sacramento State, Boise State and Cal State-Fullerton.  Utah State would get six points for a championship, San Jose State four points and Boise State two points, barring a shakeup in the league results.

Going into spring, the results would be:

  1. Boise State—55.25
  2. Utah State—53.50
  3. Nevada—52.25
  4. Hawai'i—41.25
  5. San Jose State—41.00
  6. Idaho—36.75
  7. Fresno State—35.75
  8. New Mexico State—32.00
  9. Louisiana Tech—30.50



Boise State and Fresno State have the #1 and #2 teams in both men's and women's tennis, so that is essentially even.  And
Boise State's strength in outdoor track is negated by the fact that the Broncos do not have a baseball or a softball team.  Hawai'i is currently in first place in softball, followed by New Mexico State, Fresno State, Louisiana Tech, Utah State, San Jose State and Nevada.  San Jose State is tops in baseball, followed by Louisiana Tech, Hawai'i, New Mexico State, Nevada and Fresno State.  Factoring in the results of those six sports (based on last year's results and this year's records) Boise State extends their lead:

 

  1. Boise State--82.25
  2. Nevada—71.75 
  3. Utah State—71.00
  4. Fresno State—64.75
  5. Hawai'i—62.25
  6. New Mexico State—55.00
  7. San Jose State—54.50
  8. Idaho—51.25
  9. Louisiana Tech—50.50

 

 

These projections show every WAC sport except golf.  There are nine points awarded for men's golf and seven for women's.  Utah State does not field a women's team, so the Aggies would have a projected maximum of 80.  Fresno State could only get to 80.75 projected points by winning both league titles in golf.

 

 So, the race for the WAC Commissioner's Cup will once again come down to Boise State and Nevada.  If the point totals hold for basketball, outdoor track, tennis, softball and baseball, it will be a two-school race.  If Nevada wins the WAC tournament in both softball and baseball, the Pack could gain 4.5 points on the above, giving them a projected maximum of 76.25.  That leaves the Broncos six points ahead before considering golf.

 

Last year, the Wolf Pack men went into the WAC Tournament as the favorite, but ended up finishing sixth.  If Nevada were to capture titles in both men's and women's, they would collect 16 points for a total of 92.25.  Therefore, to win a second consecutive WAC Commissioner's Cup, the Bronco men's and women's golf teams must score a combined 11 points.  In 2006, the Boise State women finished last, while the men finished in a tie for fourth. 

 

You can see that given the projections and maximum points possible for Nevada, those finishes in golf would not be enough to guarantee the Cup for Boise State.  Put another way, watch the golf results closely.  If Nevada does not outscore Boise State by at least six points in men's and women's golf (or an average of three places for each gender), the Broncos will clinch the Cup.

 

We will keep you updated on BroncoCountry's Olympic Sports Message Board and here on the front page as results unfold.  

 


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