Stanford: 1,273 projected points (Last year: 1,448.25)
1. Gymnastics 85 (3rd)
2. Football 73.5 (6th)
3. Swimming 72 (7th)
4. Fencing 66 (8th)
5. Cross country 58.5 (16th)
6. Indoor track 43.5 (30th)
7. Track & field* 43.5 (projected 30th, currently unranked)
8. Golf 40 (T-31st)
9. Wrestling 35.5 (38th)
10. Tennis 25 (T-33rd)
Baseball 0 (projected to miss postseason)
1. Water polo 90 (2nd)
2. Cross country 85 (3rd)
3. Soccer 83 (T-3rd)
4. Volleyball 73 (T-5th)
5. Swimming 70.5 (8th)
6. Gymnastics 68.25 (T-7th)
7. Basketball 64 (T-9th)
8. Tennis 73 (projected T-5th, currently in quarterfinals)
9. Golf 63.75 (projected T-12th, advanced to 24-team Final)
10. Track & field 63 (projected 13th)
11. Softball 50 (projected T-17th, currently 2-1 in Regionals)
12. Rowing 34 (10th)
13. Lacrosse 25 (9th)
14. Field hockey 25 (9th)
On the men's side, water polo, volleyball, golf and baseball all were top-10 teams at one point, yet none will make the NCAA Championships. Water polo and volleyball are victims of playoff brackets so small that No. 6 in the nation misses the postseason entirely, and baseball has underachieved for the better part of a decade. The gut punch is golf, which just today went from third to sixth in the final round of an NCAA Regional in which only the top five teams advance. There is half of the current 60-point deficit.
The remaining key for the men is for outdoor track and field to have someone, anyone, score at the NCAA Championships to get the Cardinal on the board, even if it's the 30th place finish we project. With no other men's sports scoring, Stanford will have to record a 0 if track cannot place, in which case, kiss the Cup goodbye.
While the Card have pretty much maxed out their point total on the men's side, leaving them stuck playing defense, they still have the opportunity to add to their women's haul. No. 12 seed tennis will try to upset No. 4 seed Georgia in Sunday's quarterfinals, with a chance to upset No. 1 Florida likely waiting in the semifinals. Do all of that and that's at least a 34-point net swing.
Softball can advance to Super Regionals (the sport's Sweet 16) if they steal two from Regional host Nebraska Sunday, rowing won a national title a few years ago, and golf begins NCAA Championship play Tuesday. All told then, the Cardinal do have a few outs here, but some team, if not two or three, is going to have to make a surprise run.
Florida 1,332.5 points
1. Track 100 (projected 1st)
2. Indoor track 90 (2nd)
3. Swimming 73.5 (6th)
4. Basketball 73 (T-5th)
5. Football 67.5 (10th)
6. Golf 66 (projected 11th, advanced to 30-team NCAA Championships)
7. Baseball 50 (projected T-17th, RPI No. 25)
8. Cross country 29 (32nd)
9. Tennis 25 (T-33rd)
1. Tennis 100 (projected 1st, currently in quarterfinals)
2. Gymnastics 100 (1st)
3. Softball 90 (projected 2nd, currently in Round of 32)
4. Track 75 (projected 5th)
5. Swimming 73.5 (6th)
6. Golf 69 (projected 9th, advanced to 24-team Finals)
7. Volleyball 64 (T-9th)
8. Soccer 64 (T-9th)
9. Indoor track 63 (13th)
10. Lacrosse 60 (T-5th)
11. Cross country 51 (23rd)
Women's lacrosse and men's tennis were upset in their NCAA Tournaments, and the Cardinal are going to need some more of the same if they hope to catch the Gators. Notice that while Stanford's outstanding women's sports have the chance to overperform, for Florida, the risk is to the downside. Women's tennis and men's track can only disappoint relative to their projected No. 1 finishes, and if you add in softball, you can create a scenario where the Gators have three top-five finishes but still lose 40 points relative to their incredibly strong seedings. That their teams are seeded so highly is a good problem to have, but it does open the door for Stanford if a few teams are sent home early.
One final note is on baseball, which is only one game above .500, but has played the nation's toughest schedule. Their RPI would suggest the Gators are in no danger of missing the NCAA Tournament, but should that happen, Florida would have to take another 0 on the men's side, which would be a huge boon for the Cardinal.
In sum, there are enough games left that if Stanford teams go on a run or Florida's teams fizzle, the Cardinal could eke out a 19th straight Directors' Cup by their narrowest margin yet. Still, Florida is the current favorite, and that Stanford's best-case scenario is a photo-finish victory represents a decided step backwards for a school used to having this trophy all but clinched by February.
As our previous article highlighted, it is Florida that represents Stanford's stiffest competition for the 2012-2013 Directors' Cup, not Michigan, who led through winter, or UCLA. Thus, we tracked Stanford and Florida head-to-head for this analysis. Still, adding this school year's fall and winter totals to last year's spring sums suggests that the Bruins and Wolverines are close enough that should Stanford stumble badly enough, second place isn't a sure thing either, let alone first.
As the spring playoffs continue, we'll keep tracking the race for first (and, if need be, second), and analyze what happened to so shift the Directors' Cup landscape. Plus, we'll look at the Capital One Cup standings and Stanford's last remaining chances to keep a 36-year NCAA Championship streak alive. Stay tuned!
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