Broncos' Cup Hopes Depend On Basketball

Boise State finds itself in a familiar place--in first place in the WAC Commissioner's Cup Standings. However, to generate a lead large enough before the spring sports, the Broncos must find a way to outperform Fresno State and Nevada in basketball.

The winter months are crucial to Boise State 's Commissioner's Cup hopes.  

The Western Athletic Conference awards the Cup annually to the school with the best overall sports department.  The Cup Standings are calculated by awarding points in each of the 19 sports that the WAC sponsors.  The points system takes into account the number of schools participating in each sport and allocates points on a reverse system in which the league champion gets points equal to the number of schools participating.  

Boise State has won the award just one year (2006-2007).  

The Broncos have the lead after the fall with 31.50 points to 29.25 for Utah State , 28 for Fresno State , 27.25 for New Mexico State and 27 for Nevada .  Lest they rest on their laurels however, there are two things that need to be pointed out.  First, Boise State nearly always has the lead after the fall thanks to its strong football program.  This year, the Bronco soccer team also won a WAC title and the men's cross country team finished third.  

The factor that always makes this race tough is that Nevada and especially Fresno State has incredible spring sports and surge up the Cup Standings in the last few months of the school year.  Last year, for example, Boise State had more than a 20-point lead on Fresno State and an eight-point lead on Nevada and finished third.  Fresno State won the Cup with 85.50 points to 84.75 for Nevada and 80.50 for Boise State in one of the most exciting Cup races ever.   

Fresno State scored an amazing 48.75 points in the eight spring sports, easily outpacing Nevada with 35 and Boise State with 23.   

The good news is that, with the spring sports bar set so low last year, any improvement would be a big boost to Boise State 's chances.  The Broncos were last in both men's and women's outdoor track, next to last in both men's and women's golf and only picked up 2.75 points in softball.  

Nevertheless, if you go by the standings last year, Boise State needs to accumulate a 13-point advantage over Nevada and a 26-point lead on Fresno State to survive the annual onslaught.  Given that the lead after the fall sports is just 4.5 over Nevada and 3.5 over Fresno , the Broncos have some work to do this winter.  

Boise State is a favorite in swimming in the school's fourth year of competition.  Idaho , Boise State and Utah State will battle for the men's indoor track championship, while Louisiana Tech is the clear favorite in women's indoor track.  Projecting those sports out, Boise State and Idaho are slated to collect 15 Commissioner's Cup points each to 12 for New Mexico State .  Nevada is expected to get eight points while Fresno is projected to score 1.   

Thus, with only basketball and gymnastics to go after that, Boise State is expected to hold the Cup lead with 46.50 points.  New Mexico State will move up to second with 39.25 points and Idaho will be third with 37.75 points, edging out Utah State with 37.25 points.  Nevada should have near 35 points and Fresno State 29.  

New Mexico State is enjoying one of its best years ever.  The Aggies are projected to have 39.25 points prior to the last three winter sports championships—that is an 11.50-point improvement over a year ago.  Idaho (+5.5) and Boise State (+4) are the other schools that have made big strides this year.   

After these next three sports are decided, Boise State 's lead over Nevada is projected to be 11.50 and its lead over Fresno State should be around 17.50.  

If you've followed along closely, that isn't enough.  Boise State needs to gain at least two more points on Nevada in basketball and gymnastics and nine over Fresno State in those sports.  Since neither participates in gymnastics and the reigning Lady Bronco gymnastics team is favored to repeat, Boise State can score six valuable points there.   

However, the Boise State basketball teams have been in the dumps until the last week.  The men's Bronco team was in last place; they since have won two games.  The women's team was next-to-last but has shot up to fourth after winning three of their last four.  Meanwhile, Fresno State leads the women's basketball standings and Nevada is #2.  The Wolf Pack men are currently fourth while the Bulldog men are sixth.   

Even with a gymnastics title, Boise State will be short of what it needs to enjoy a comfortable lead.   

Clearly then, Boise State 's Cup hopes could depend on the success of the men's and women's basketball teams.  They will have to do better than their counterparts at Fresno State and Nevada to give the Broncos a good chance to wrest the cup away from the Bulldogs.  Wins in the two postseason tournaments are a must.  

So as the winter melts away, the Commissioner's Cup race heats up and the pressure is squarely on the Bronco roundball teams.



Current Commissioner's Cup Standings:


  1. Boise State 31.50
  2. Utah State 29.25
  3. Fresno State 28.00
  4. New Mexico State 27.25
  5. Nevada 27.00
  6. Idaho 22.75
  7. Hawai'i 19.00
  8. San Jose State 14.25
  9. Louisiana Tech 9.00


2008-09 Cup Standings after fall sports:

      1.  Utah State 31.25

      2.  Boise State 28.50

      3.  Fresno State 22.75

      4.  Nevada 22.50

      4.  Hawai'i 22.50

      6.  Idaho 21.25

      7.  San Jose State 18.50

      8.  New Mexico State 17.75

      8.  Louisiana Tech 14.00


Difference from a year ago:

  1. New Mexico State + 11.50
  2. Idaho + 5.50
  3. Boise State + 4.00
  4. Fresno State + 1.25
  5. Nevada + .50
  6. Utah State – 2.00
  7. San Jose State – 5.25
  8. Louisiana Tech – 6.00
  9. Hawai'i – 6.50


2009-10 Cup Projections after Swimming and Indoor Track:

      1.  Boise State 46.50

      2.  New Mexico State 39.25

      3.  Idaho 37.75

      4.  Utah State 37.25

      5.  Nevada 35.00

      6.  Fresno State 29.00

      7.  Hawai'i 25.00

      8.  Louisiana Tech 19.25

      9.  San Jose State 17.00


2009-10 Cup Projections after winter sports:

      1.  Boise State 60.00

      2.  Utah State 54.25

      3.  New Mexico State 51.25

      4.  Nevada 49.00

      5.  Idaho 42.75

      6.  Fresno State 42.00

      7.  Louisiana Tech 35.25

      8.  Hawai'i 29.50

      9.  San Jose State 26.00

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