Crowning the MWC King

Douglas Ross sets out in search of an answer to the much debated question, "Who is the king of the Mountain West Conference?" The results of his research could be both surprising and dismaying to supporters of some MWC schools.

Every year it is the same. Arguments fly back and forth as fans invest considerable amounts of time in their efforts to convince the other side that their colors, their alma mater, their team rule the conference they are in. All college teams have had their ups and downs (some more than others) and over the years the view of who dominates has become hazy.

Fans of teams that have been on a roll lately may make the claim that it is what you have done lately that counts, while others reflect wistfully back towards the days when their school ruled the conference kingdom. Both parties may feel justified in staking the claim.

One thing is for sure, and that is that kingdoms were never built over night, and regardless of how powerful the initial regents were, there was always the risk of usurpation.

I was struck by how zealous some MWC fans would argue their points of view concerning their team's right to the throne, yet in spite of all the clamoring for the crown, no one had really put forth an argument that I could truly buy into. The problem resided in two things. First of all, the personal experience of the individual in question. Were they older, younger, middle-aged, newly introduced to football as a personal pastime? The difference in experience created great diversity in claims. Secondly, time frame was almost always an issue. Sure BYU won the national championship in 1984, but Utah has had two stellar seasons concluding in a BCS bowl. What about Don Coryell's amazing stint during the sixties for San Diego State. Each argument placed forth has been so dependant on the parsing of time, it made any effort to garner any truth based solely upon these arguments impossible.

With that in mind, I decided to do a bloodline tracing for those teams who will be fighting for a conference MWC championship this fall. I have concluded that the only true way of determining the KING of the MWC, is by comparing the entire histories of all teams from start to finish. No parsing of time, no selective inclusion of good years and elimination of bad ones. A complete look is needed.

Since I enjoy the financial markets, I felt that it would be easier to measure each team's strengths and weaknesses as I would if I were charting a stock in my portfolio. With a formula where a win and a loss affect the historical "share value" equally in opposite directions, and where a tie affects said value positively although less than a win, I had the makings of a simple system to settle this once and for all.

Here is an example of how my system works:

Each win is worth $3, and each loss is worth -$3. A tie (for you older fans that remember when ties were possible) is worth $1.

So if Team A goes 8-3-1, than their composite share value for that season is (8*3)+ (3*-3)+ (1*1)= $16

Each season is added to the previous season's value. In this way it becomes clear just how each team has performed since they began to play football. The results were slightly surprising. I already had an inkling as to who the leader would be, but after basing my results on more complete historical data, there were some shifts in who threatens the throne and which teams have a long way to go before they can provide their fans with swagger.

So without further ado, here is a link the first annual King of the MWC Historical Chart.

http://www.letterate.net/TBS/KOTWMC2004.jpg


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