Boise State Closing In On Commissioner's Cup

The outlook for Boise State winning its second WAC Commissioner's Cup is getting brighter by the day. With a huge blow to Fresno State (Boise State's closest challenger) in the men's golf tournament, the Broncos are on the verge of taking the trophy awarded annually to the league's top overall sports program.

The collapse of the Fresno State men's golf team in this week's Western Athletic Conference championships has given Boise State a commanding position in the race for the WAC Commissioner's Cup.  The Cup awards the conference school with the best overall sports program.  

Up until this week, Boise State was projected to win the Cup by four points over Fresno State. Fresno was given the highest ranking of WAC teams in GolfWeek's latest NCAA men's golf standings and was thus projected to win the WAC. Instead, the Bulldogs finished sixth, losing five Commissioner's Cup points. New Mexico State was able to win their third straight title.

The disappointing finish by Fresno State enlarges Boise State's projected margin as shown below and knocks Fresno State into a projected third-place finish in the Cup.

A Cup win by Boise State certainly would make it one of the most attractive candidates for conference expansion, with the Big 10, Big 12 and Pac-10 conferences likely adding new members.  It shows that Boise State 's success is widespread and that it could hold its own in the major conferences.  

The Commissioner's Cup is calculated by giving points in reverse order according to the finish by each conference team in 19 league-sponsored sports.  Boise State won WAC titles in football,women's soccer, swimming and women's tennis. Boise State's football team enjoyed the first 14-0 season in its history, capped by a 17-10 win over #3 TCU in the Fiesta Bowl. The 14-0 mark by the Broncos was the best since Ohio State in 2002.

Titles in soccer, swimming and women's tennis were the first WAC championships won by Boise State in those sports and showed that the success achieved by the Bronco football team over the past decade is spreading.

In addition, Boise State finished third in men's tennis, third in men's cross country, second in indoor men's track and won the regular season in women's gymnastics. Add to this the fact that both Boise State's men's and women's basketball teams have recently won WAC championships and it is obvious that Boise State has a very attractive and consistent athletic record.

Boise State also won the WAC Commissioner's Cup in the 2005-06 season, finished second in 2006-07 and 2007-08 and finished a narrow third last year.

Boise State's four conference titles are still short of a school record.

Last season, Boise State won two regular season titles (football and men's tennis) and won two tournament titles (gymnastics and men's indoor track). They also won the Pac-10 title in wrestling for a total of five.

In 2006-07, the Broncos won football, both indoor and outdoor men's track, the men's tennis title and the women's basketball title for a total of five.

In 2005-06, Boise State won football, gymnastics, both indoor and outdoor men's track and men's tennis for a total of five also.

In 2007-2008, Boise State won the WAC Tournament in men's basketball, gymnastics and the outdoor title in men's track as well as the Pac-10 wrestling championship for a total of four.

With the conclusion of the WAC men's golf title won by New Mexico State today, here are the current standings:  

1.   Boise State 76.25
New Mexico State 71.75
Nevada 69.25
Fresno State 65.25
Utah State 63.00
Idaho 60.00
Hawai'i 52.00
San Jose State 43.75
Louisiana Tech 37.75


Up until this week, Boise State was projected to win the Cup by four points over Fresno State .  With the huge blow to their closest competitor, these are the new projections:  

        1.  Boise State 90.25
New Mexico State 83.75
Fresno State 82.25
Nevada 77.25
Utah State 75.00
Idaho 69.00
Hawai'i 67.00
Louisiana Tech 56.75
San Jose State 48.75


Four sports remain to be decided:  men's and women's outdoor track, softball and baseball.  Points are awarded in track exclusively in the WAC Championships, which are to take place one week from today in Ruston , Louisiana .  In softball and baseball, the points are split with half awarded based on regular season performance and half on the postseason tournament. 


Projections are based on actual standings in baseball and softball and on the top performances achieved this year in track, incorporating the conference's point system into the projections.  The softball tournament will be next weekend in Las Cruces , New Mexico while the baseball tournament is May 26-30 in Mesa , Arizona .  

Here are the current softball standings:  

1.      Hawai'i 18-1

2.      Fresno State 13-4

3.      Boise State 11-7

4.      Louisiana Tech 10-8

5.      San Jose State 7-11

6.      New Mexico State 5-13

7.      Utah State 5-14

8.      Nevada 3-14  


Here are the current baseball standings:  

  1. New Mexico State 13-2-1
  2. Fresno State 7-5
  3. Nevada 5-6-1
  4. San Jose State 5-7
  5. Sacramento State 5-7
  6. Hawai'i 6-10
  7. Louisiana Tech 6-10



Here are the projections for men's track:  

  1. Utah State 207 points
  2. Boise State 137
  3. Louisiana Tech 113
  4. Idaho 104
  5. Fresno State 96


Here are projections for women's track:  

1.      Louisiana Tech 173 points

2.      Idaho 140

3.      Utah State 115

4.      Boise State 98

5.      Hawai'i 89

6.      Fresno State 88

7.      Nevada 70

8.      New Mexico State 62


The maximum points available, then, are five points for men's track, eight for women's track, eight for softball and seven for baseball.  

Here are the scenarios in which the three remaining challengers (everyone else is eliminated) can take the Cup from Boise State :  

1.  New Mexico State wins the women's track title--highly unlikely.  They get eight points for a total of 89.75.   

Boise State would then need eight points combined from its men's and women's teams.  If the Bronco men finished last, that would be the scenario NM State would need to win the Cup.  Boise State 's women would have to finish second, not probable.  As I see it, the women could finish as high as third with a superior effort or as low as seventh with a horrible week. 

More likely-- The New Mexico State women, who are projected last, could possibly finish as high as fourth, which would give them five points.  I don't see the
Boise State men finishing worse than fourth for two points.  Boise State 's women would then have to finish sixth.  Bottom line-- Boise State would need to equal NM State in track to win the Cup.  Since NM State doesn't have a men's team and their women's team could finish fourth at best, the most they could get in track would be 5 points.  Boise State would need 5 points from both of their teams to win the Cup.  Not a certainty but it should happen.  The combination of this would be second in men's and last in women's, third in men's and next to last in women's, next to last in men's and 7th in women's or last in men's and 6th in women's. 

Fresno State would be four points behind Boise State counting everything except track.  The Fresno women were ahead of Boise State until Destiny Gammage and Racquel Jones started coming on strong.  If Fresno won WAC titles in both men and women (highly unlikely), they could pull this off.  They would get 13 points, meaning Boise State would need 9 to tie.  That is exactly what Boise State is projected to get.  Performance below those expectations would give Fresno the Cup.

Likely--I see the race between those two women's track teams a toss-up.  I don't think either will finish more than two places ahead of the other.  Let's say
Fresno does it, finishes two places ahead.  That means they need to pick up two points on Boise State .  If both the Bulldog softball and baseball teams won WAC titles, that would be an additional point.  Then, they would simply need to beat Boise State 's men in track to tie for the Cup.  That is possible still.  But remember that means bucking the odds and beating the nationally-ranked Hawai'i softball team and the top seed NM State in baseball, beating Boise State's women's track team by two places and beating the Boise State men in track.  I don't think they can do all of that.

Nevada can get 85.75 if they win WAC titles in both softball and baseball.  Highly unlikely to win either. 

Likely-- They could get a couple of points if they pull some surprises in the softball and baseball tournaments but that would leave them eight points shy.  This means they would have to outscore
Boise State by 8 in track to win the Cup.  They don't have a men's track team so this is not possible.  But to show the scenario, if Boise State finished in last place in both men's and women's as they did last year, Boise State gets two points.  Even a Nevada women's track title (8 points) would only gain six points on the Broncos when they need 8.

Thus, barring a miracle,
Nevada is eliminated.  Boise State would get a minimum of 4 1/2 points in softball.  That is 1 1/2 points less than what I have them down for.  Nevada still needs a gain of 2 1/2 in softball and baseball.  I have them down for 6 so they need 8 1/2.  They have to have a minimum of both softball and baseball teams reaching the championship game, winning the WAC in women's track and having Boise State finish last in men's and women's track to win the Cup.  

We should know by next weekend if anyone can beat Boise State .  The softball and track points will be awarded, leaving only baseball.  Although nothing is a given in sports, the odds are with the Broncos in winning their second Commissioner's Cup in five years. 

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